Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Dave's filter

Gloomy demographics dept.: aging China

This story is more credible than Sy Hersh's.

Trogdor strikes again! (Hat tip: Dean Esmay)

Iraqi elections analysis: Daniel Drezner - also check out the analysis by James Joyner that Drezner links to; Patrick Ruffini has made a map.

The last two topics at the Becker-Posner blog have been Social Security reform and Medicare reform. Some excerpts are below, but this stuff is worth reading in full (1 2 3 4 5 6).
(Posner) The explanation usually offered for the fact that a substantial fraction of the population has no health insurance is that these are unfortunate people who cannot afford health insurance. A better explanation is free riding. ...temptations to free ride provide an argument for compulsory health insurance rather than, as often argued, for socialized medicine.
(Becker) If we simply raised social security taxes now-say by two percentage points- consolidated federal deficits would appear much smaller, and the federal government would be under less constraint to reduce spending.
(Posner) Some of these excellent comments put me in mind of the following crude but suggestive way of stating the difference between liberals and conservatives: liberals think that the average person is good but dumb, conservatives that he or she is "bad" (in the sense of self-interested) but smart. Liberals trust the intellectual elite (because they are good) to guide the masses (because they cannot guide themselves); conservatives distrust the elite (because the elite are bad and therefore dangerous) and think the masses can guide themselves.

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