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Showing posts from January, 2007

Drug Laws Increase Possession Among Minors

The goal of government is to do as the people wish it to. However, like everyone else, the government creates consequences whenever it decides to enact laws. Some of these consequences are very much intentional: laws against murder, for example, are intended to stop people from killing others. Other consequences, however, are completely unintended, and can cause havoc with people’s lives as well as various societal and economic institutions. One law in India that paid a bounty for rat pelts, intended to reduce the number of rats, has ended up encouraging rat farming. These problems are categorized under the law of unintended consequences: despite the best efforts of any organization or government, certain consequences of their actions will be unintended and will end up having adverse affects on people. This is especially true in the case of laws preventing individuals from engaging in voluntary behavior that may harm them.The most obvious case of laws intended to protect people going …

Don't Get Hopes Up for Democratic Congress

Ever since the new Democratic Congress came into power only last week, expectations have been high. They have been sworn in on the heels of extremely low approval ratings for the House and Senate. Their job now includes making sure that House Representatives and Senators are behaving ethically with lobbyists and others who attempt to exert influence over the American democracy. They have to clean up the taint of sex scandals in the Congressional Page program. Not only that, but they have to do all of this as well as deal with the Iraq War, pass an agenda that makes them stand out, all the while having a President that seems unwilling to cooperate with a legislative branch filled with the other party. It doesn’t look likely that the new Congress will get anything done in its first 100 hours. In fact, it doesn’t look likely that the new Congress will get anything done. The likelihood that any of their legislation will survive the well entrenched bureaucracy of the House of Representativ…

Anger Over Accepting Pesos is Ridiculous

The debate over immigration has shown up in the business world, this time in the form of death threats and angry letters to the owner of a pizza chain in the South and Southwest. The Pizza Patron chain of stores began accepting Mexican pesos as official payment along with United States dollars. All of the change is given in dollars. This is a very common practice in towns that are close to the national borders of the US, like certain stores near the Canadian border who normally accept both American and Canadian dollars.The difference here is that many of the pizza joints are far from the border, in places like Dallas, more than 400 miles away, and Denver, more than 700 miles. There’s therefore controversy over whether this kind of action would be catering to illegal immigrants from Mexico. This claim, however, is absurd. The stores already have 60% of its customer base as Hispanic, so the likelihood of some of their customers having pesos is very high. This doesn’t mean, however, that…

Saddam’s Hanging Distracts from Real Problems in Iraq

On December 30, 2006 at 6:00 AM local time, Saddam Hussein, former dictator of Iraq, was executed by hanging. Iraqis around the world celebrated the death of a ruler who had been convicted of genocide. Despite what reservations particular people might have had about the death penalty, all were glad that Saddam was brought to justice. Too bad none of that matters, as the situation in Iraq continues to deteriorate, with a living Saddam or not.False promises have been made before in Iraq. Such empty hope began at the moment when President Bush landed on the USS Abraham Lincoln and declared “Mission Accomplished.” From there, the series of supposed milestones have been unable to stop the country of Iraq from going deeper and deeper into what has become a civil war. All of the various highlights of the war have been accompanied by an increase in violence, an increase in sectarian divisions, and setbacks in the country’s development.The first of such landmarks was the transfe…