Category: Acton Commentary

Today Dr. Donald Condit looks at a new federal proposal called the Patients’ Choice Act, which promises more freedom in choosing health care insurance. “The PCA will enhance patient and family ability to afford health care insurance and incentivize healthier lifestyles,” Condit writes. “In addition, it would surpass other options in fulfilling our social responsibility to the poor and vulnerable.”

Read the commentary on the Acton Website and comment on it here.

The Detroit News says the General Motors bankruptcy filing “is a hammer blow for a state that was already on its knees.” In an editorial, the paper calls for an “emergency response” from government and an entirely new orientation to attracting businesses and jobs to the state:

Longer term, Michigan’s entire focus must be on creating a business climate that makes the state attractive for job creators in a wide range of industries. It can’t afford to focus on any one segment in hopes of finding the next Big Three. Its future will depend on making itself irresistible to investors across the spectrum.

This echoes Sam Gregg’s Detroit News commentary “Entrepreneurs Require More Room to Thrive” published on May 12:

Michigan must create an entrepreneur-friendly economy by lowering the cost of doing business for all firms, not just the favored few darlings of the moment. The state’s policymakers have spent decades trying to pick the winners (automation, biotech, green energy) that would rescue the state from its dependency on automotive manufacturing. But policy makers and elected officials do not “create jobs” or industrial sectors — businesses and entrepreneurs do.

Also in today’s News, Oskari Juurikkala writes about the push for greater regulation in financial markets:

Is lighter regulation the solution to economic crises? It depends. Some over-the-counter financial derivatives are practically unregulated, so there is nowhere to cut regulation. It might be more appropriate to cover such clear gaps in existing rules in a principled manner so as not to lead people to the temptation of recklessness.

But a few clear-and-fast rules are often better than numerous rules that are hard to understand — especially if they are poorly enforced, which seems to be the case in financial market regulation.

When designing rules for a game, one must take into account the moral character of the players. But there needs to be adequate variation: General laws designed for crooks will not produce any saints.

Those who promoted the War on Poverty and other grand plans to end poverty, writes Hunter Baker, “had no inkling that these good-hearted strategies would lead to enduring cycles of poverty and family disintegration that threatened to consume entire generations. Wishing for good outcomes resulted in disaster.”

Read this commentary at the Acton website.

“When designing rules for a game, one must take into account the moral character of the players,” Oskari Juurikkala reminds us in today’s Acton Commentary. “But there needs to be adequate variation: general laws designed for crooks will not produce any saints.”

Read the commentary at the Acton Website.

Economists and policy experts are forever coming up with new solutions for the seemingly intractable problem of African poverty. But Anthony Bradley points out that any reform program “must require certain moral values to truly flourish; in virtue’s absence the same system can serve to create new moral dilemmas.”

Read the commentary at the Acton website and share your response in the comment thread below.

Once again, sociologists and journalists are predicting the demise of Christianity as a major influence in the public life of America. Hunter Baker pokes holes in that theory, and observes that these persistent predictions are coming from “those anxious for it to occur.”

Read the commentary at the Acton Website and comment on it here.

Economists and business schools have, in recent decades, rightfully praised entrepreneurs for their ability to create wealth and transform entire industries. But there’s more to it than that, says Sam Gregg in his commentary. “If taxes are high, property-rights unprotected, and corruption the norm, then the environment embodies major deterrents to wealth-generating entrepreneurship,” he writes. “Why would people risk being entrepreneurial when they can’t assume their ideas won’t be stolen or their profits arbitrarily confiscated?”

Read the commentary at the Acton Website and comment on it here.

In today’s Detroit News, Acton Research Director Samuel Gregg talks about the sort of “moral, legal and political environment” that must exist if entrepreneurs are to flourish. He applies these precepts to the very serious economic problems in Michigan, where Acton is located:

… in the midst of this enthusiasm about entrepreneurship, we risk forgetting that entrepreneurship’s capacity to create wealth is heavily determined by the environments in which we live. In many business schools, it’s possible to study entrepreneurship without any reference being made to the role played by factors such as rule of law, property rights and low taxes in stimulating wealth-creating entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurs gravitate to places where conditions for starting a business are optimal and the infrastructure — financial, legal, and technical — supports new businesses. Here, Michigan has a double-barreled problem: the out-migration of Michigan job seekers — much of it compelled by the steep decline of the auto sector in recent years — and the college graduate “brain drain” from state universities. How many of these people saying goodbye to Michigan are taking their entrepreneurial dreams, and maybe the next Big Thing in the economy, with them?

Read “Entrepreneurs Require More Room to Survive.” An extended version of this essay is slated to run in tomorrow’s Acton News & Commentary. Sign up online for this free email newsletter here.

A new study from the Kauffman Foundation shows how Americans are increasingly turning to entrepreneurship to pull themselves out of an economic crisis. “When individuals are truly free to exercise their talents and trade the production of their labor, without oppression from tyrants or the entanglements of unnecessary government ‘oversight,’ the net effect is mutually beneficial for society as a whole,” writes Anthony Bradley in this week’s Acton Commentary.

Read the commentary at the Acton website and share your response in the comment thread below.

What’s behind the extremely high unemployment rates in black communities? Anthony Bradley traces the root of the problem to declining educational achievement. “Sadly, because of America’s exploding government program menu, the virtue of ‘getting an education’ has all but been eliminated in low-income black neighborhoods,” he writes.

Read the commentary at the Acton Institute website and share your thoughts below.