Seeking Liberty

Liberty is the Fruit from Which All Progress Grows

No MRIs, but there were doctors

Hullabaloo, a Liberal blog, posted this little gem:  “There were no MRIs in 1780.”

Ignoring the fact that the United States had not yet forced Cornwallis’ surrender at Yorktown in 1780 (and hence, no Articles of Confederation, let alone a Constitution, had been ratified), the line of reasoning by the author is sophomoric at best and intellectually dishonest at worst.

Nowhere in the constitution does it authorize the Federal Aviation Administration or the Center For Disease Control either, so I guess they’re out too. The fact that the founders weren’t psychics or time travelers is a real problem for us, apparently.

Ian Millheiser from CAP pointed out that if you used this logic, then Medicare and Medicaid are unconstitutional as well. Pilon agrees, saying that the entire New Deal is unconstitutional. So, there you have it.

Um, no, not exactly. Read the rest of this entry »

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Filed under: Government, health care, personal health, stupidity, , , , , , , , ,

New York State proposes banning salt

The New York General Assembly is at it again. They’re looking out for the health of the people of New York, legislating behavior for the betterment of all. Felix Ortiz (D-Brooklyn) has proposed a new law that would fine restaurants $1,000 for each violation for including an additive in their meals that has been linked to heart disease and other health problems when it is consumed in excess.

That additive is salt.

“No owner or operator of a restaurant in this state shall use salt in any form in the preparation of any food for consumption by customers of such restaurant, including food prepared to be consumed on the premises of such restaurant or off of such premises,” the bill, A. 10129, states in part.

Never mind that uncounted recipies require salt. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Government, personal health, stupidity, , , , , , , , ,

The Real Cost of Agricultural Subsidies

CottonBy Matthew W. Quinn

Imagine you’re a cotton farmer in West Africa.  One day, the man who comes to buy your cotton to be exported does not show up.  You go to the marketplace and find there is nobody willing to buy your cotton.  In fact, there is cheaper cotton available from abroad.

You now cannot sell your crop, or at least you cannot sell it for very much.  You need to buy food and fertilizer, and your children need medicine and money to pay for schooling.  You’re in trouble now.

Are these the workings of the free market?  No.  The reason the foreign cotton was able to price the West African cotton out of the market is because it came from the United States and was heavily subsidized.

Cotton subsidies are one of the most notorious examples of government agricultural supports and it gives American cotton producers an unfair advantage over more efficient producers abroad. For example, in Burkina Faso, it costs one-third as much to produce cotton as it does in the United States.  According to the British aid agency Oxfam, the only clear advantage American cotton growers have over competitors in Africa is their ability to get government subsidies. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: economics, personal health, poverty, taxes, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The New Cola Wars

Cola in a glass. Linked from freephoto.comI drink a lot of soda.

I mean, a lot of soda.  In fact, the only beverages I seem to drink any more are Coke products, coffee and tea.  I drink at least one glass of water every day, but most of what I drink is some form of manufactured beverage.

According to a report in the New England Journal of Medicine, I should have to pay a great deal more for what I drink.  Last night, I bought two 2-liter bottles of Coke products.  They cost me about $3.  If we were to adopt the 1-cent-per-ounce tax on sugary beverages recommendation of the NEJM, I would have to pay another $1.38 for those 2-liters.  The argument they make is that, like cigarette taxes, the tax on sugary beverages would reduce consumption and improve America’s overall health.

From the Wall Street Journal:

The paper, by seven experts in nutrition, public health and economics, called for an excise tax of a penny per ounce on caloric soft drinks and other beverages that contain added sweeteners such as sucrose, high-fructose corn syrup or fruit-juice concentrates. Such a tax could reduce calorie consumption from sweetened beverages by at least 10% and generate revenue that governments could use to fund health programs, the authors said.

“The science base linking the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages to the risk of chronic diseases is clear,” the authors wrote. “Escalating health-care costs, and the rising burden of diseases related to poor diet, create an urgent need for solutions, thus justifying government’s right to recoup costs.”

There’s just one problem:  Caloric intake is not the sole measure of “poor diet,” nor is poor diet the sole reason for poor health.  Lack of physical activity, other habits like smoking, drinking, drug abuse, chronic dehydration, lack of minimal sun exposure (for Vitamin D) and others also have a cumulative lifetime effect on people’s health.  Simply cutting people’s intake of sugary beverages will not, on its own, solve the obesity problem in the United States. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: personal health, taxes, , , , , ,

Welcome to Duh-ville

The National Research Council and Institute of Medicine put out a report about fast food and minority neighborhoods, so of course I took all that astroturf money I’ve been earning and spent $32.40 to read it.

Fast Food

Or not.

I did, however, get to see this CNS News article about it.

“One of things that has been shown in studies all across the country is that there is a proliferation of certain types of restaurants in certain neighborhoods,” said Adewale Troutman, director of the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness in Louisville, Ky.

“If you look at areas where the socio-economic status is a bit low or predominately African American and Latino and you compare it to other communities that are more affluent, with different racial and ethnic mix,” he said, “you’ll find that there is an overwhelming propensity for the location of fast food restaurants in those communities.”

Hmm…  Let’s see.  Fast food restaurants are more common in low-income neighborhoods than affluent neighborhoods.  I wonder why that could be?

Could it be that fast food restaurants offer inexpensive food, and healthier choices generally cost a good deal more, on a per meal basis, than fast food?  Could it be that more affluent areas attract restaurants with a higher price-point, and that healthy food restaurants are generally priced higher than fast food?

Nah.  That can’t be it. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: economics, Government, personal health, Prejudice, , , , ,