Acton Institute Powerblog Archives

Technology and Regulation

Explainer: The Obamacare Subsidies Ruling (Halbig v. Burwell)

What just happened with Obamacare? In a two-to-one decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit dealt a serious blow to Obamacare by ruling the government may not provide subsidies to encourage people to buy health insurance on the new marketplaces run by the federal government. Continue Reading...

Why Bootleggers and Baptists Align on Regulation

“Politics makes strange bedfellows,” said Charles Dudley Warner. And nowhere is that more true than in the political alliances that form around regulation. In a 1983 paper, regulatory economist Bruce Yandle coined the catch-phrase “Bootleggers and Baptists” for the observation that regulations are often supported by peculiar alliances who have very different end-goals in mind. Continue Reading...

How Bitcoin Could Help the World’s Poor

Bitcoin is dead, long live Bitcoin. A few weeks ago the IRS killed off any chance that Bitcoin could become a mainstream currency. That’s probably for the best since it clears the way for it to become something much more important: the world’s first completely open financial network. Continue Reading...

Is American Innovation Fading?

In a fascinating essay in Mosaic, Charles Murray examines the spirit of innovation in America. He asks, As against pivotal moments in the story of human accomplishment, does today’s America, for instance, look more like Britain blooming at the end of the 18th century or like France fading at the end of the 19th century? Continue Reading...

How IKEA and Innovation Help Refugees in Iraq

When looking for solutions to humanity’s problems, conservatives and libertarians tend to prefer turning first to free markets rather than government. The reason for such a preference is often misunderstood, and can be difficult to explain since it appears paradoxical: free markets are often better at serving human needs than governments because free markets make it easier to fail. Continue Reading...

What is Innovation?

“Most CEOs now spray the word ‘innovation’ as if it were an air freshener,” says Dennis Berman in the Wall Street Journal, “A little spritz can’t hurt.” A prime example, notes Berman, is what Kellogg’s CEO John Bryant described as one of their company’s most important “innovations”: a peanut butter Pop-Tart. Continue Reading...

What the Oregon Medicaid Study Tells Us About Big Government

If a large Oregon study is any indication, says Jonathan Witt in this week’s Acton Commentary, the Affordable Care Act may drive up frivolous emergency room visits and do little to improve people’s physical or economic health: In essence, the healthcare industry becomes the enabler in a lucrative game in which patients put off needed lifestyle reform, opting instead for prescription pills, surgeries and conversations about “genetic predispositions.” None of this gets at the root problem, and indeed exacerbates the root problem. Continue Reading...

Explainer: What is Net Neutrality?

In a ruling that has significant implications for the future of the Internet, an appeals court has ruled that the FCC cannot impose so-called “net neutrality rules.” What exactly is net neutrality? Continue Reading...

The Digital Divide And The Uselessness Of Race

According to a report released this week by the Pew Research Center, the so-called “digital divide” between whites and blacks is slowly being closed by smart phones. Here are the key findings of the report: (1) African Americans trail whites by seven percentage points when it comes to overall internet use (87% of whites and 80% of blacks are internet users). Continue Reading...