Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The "starve the beast" theory revised: the effects only kick in after a new President is elected. One can hope. Anyhow, I don't think "starve" is the right word. Aren't we really talking about the difference between obesity and morbid obesity?

Friday, June 20, 2008

James Q. Wilson has been guest-blogging at volokh.com. A big theme has been that the benefits of American prisons outweigh the costs, even at current rates of imprisonment. Among other things, I was glad to read to the following.
It is true that the proportion of inmates described as drug offenders has gone up dramatically, but as Jonathan Caulkins and Mark Kleiman point in their essay in Understanding America, very few are in prison because of drug possession. Many are either major dealers or plead down to a drug possession charge in order to avoid being convicted of a more serious offense. There are more than one million arrests every year for drug possession, but very of them result in prison or jail time. Cannabis possession, when it is punished at all, is typically with a fine or probation.
Nevertheless, while average benefits may exceed average costs, the inequality might run the other way at the margin. I'm especially inclined to believe this is the case for the drug war.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

A bit of bad news for space enthusiasts: Martian water may be too salty for life.

On the other hand, there's now a better anti-radiation drug.

Perhaps you shouldn't talk on your cell phone just before going to bed. It might keep you awake.
A credit crunch allegory even kids can understand.
Arnold Kling likes Congressman Paul Ryan's reform proposal for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. I agree. In one sense, the proposal is too late. The Democrats control congress now, and Bush is a lame duck. In another sense, it's too early. Surely Congress will put off making a choice between tax increases and cuts in promised benefits for as long as possible. I doubt we'll see entitlement reform in the next five years, even if a fiscally expansive Obama presidency accelerates the fiscal crunch.