Re: On Barack Obama's Failures (Glenn Loury & Brink Lindsey)
Enjoyed this one quite a bit. Agreed the bits against Thaler and Sunstein were unfair: we have to structure choices somehow. People just get paranoid when these choices are *consciously* framed rather than "natural" or non-reflective framing... except when it comes to the world of advertising. When private corporations engage in massive social engineering campaigns, it's somehow OK and not at all disrespectful to the individual because they're merely making emotional appeals to get your dollars, whereas government technocrats are supposedly attempting to maximize your welfare. Now go whiten your teeth, put on this smell to attract the right sex, eat & drink crap, wear Nikes because you need to exercise on account of eating too much crap, and get to the gym in this fashionable automobile.
It's insane that we will never have a rational gas tax. Economists left, right, and center agree it's good policy, but who wants their name associated with paying an extra buck on the gallon at the pumps. Obama might as well re-name DMVs after himself, so instead we get muddled legislation on global warming.
As for health-care... it's a primary good and it should be "free"ly available to all... that is, if we're actually interested in individual autonomy, meritocracy, and all those good values associated with effective liberty rather than the formal liberty promised by Lindsey's colleagues at Cato. On the policy front it's something Obama and Democrats will screw up (they've been trying hard for years).
Social liberalism is dead. Or at least there's a leadership vacuum. Even if craven Democratic politicians cannot come out in favor of gay marriage or pot legalization, the numbers are changing. The process is still too slow. This is a huge opportunity for the jack asses, as they could say 30 years from now that they came out in favor of equal rights for gays and lesbians, and they didn't mind if you wanted to smoke a bowl while watching the Simpsons. I like the view from this soapbox, but I'm done ranting.