Posts tagged with: united states

rules-and-regulationsIn the Old Testament there are 613 commandments. Apparently, God deemed those to be enough to regulate almost every aspect of the lives of his people for thousands of years. You could read all of them in less than 30 minutes.

The American federal government, however, is not so succinct. There are over 1 million restrictions in the federal regulations alone (i.e., not counting the statutory law). And thousands more are added every year.

Each year the Competitive Enterprise Institute puts out annual survey — Ten Thousand Commandments — that reveals the size, scope, and cost of federal regulations. Here are some highlights from the 2016 edition:
(more…)

cronyIt’s never easy becoming a billionaire, but the path to achieving a 10-figure level of wealth is smoother when you have the government as a business partner.

Crony capitalism is a general term for the range of activities in which particular individuals or businesses in a market economy receive government-granted privileges over their customers or competitors. Certain industries (like casinos and real estate) and some nations (Russia, the Philippines) are more prone to cronyism than others. So if you want to become get ultra-rich it helps to be an business and country (e.g., an energy company in Mexico) where the government will you gain an advantage in the market.

The Economist has put together an interesting interactive infographic showing where crony capitalist billionaires live around the world. As they explain:
(more…)

minimum-wage-15Since 1938, when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt introduced the first federal minimum wage in the U.S., a debate has raged about whether wage floors help or hurt workers. But thanks to a radical economic experiment in California, we may be only a few years away from having a definitive answer.

California Gov. Jerry Brown and state legislators have reached an agreement to raise California’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022. Under California’s plan, its minimum wage — already one of the highest in the nation at $10 an hour — would rise to $10.50 in 2017, $11 in 2018 and a dollar each year through 2022.

By 2022 we should know for sure how the change will affect California. In the meantime, here are ten things you should know about the ongoing minimum wage debate:

(more…)

isis persecutionWhat did Secretary Kerry say about Islamic State and genocide?

In a speech on Thursday, Secretary of State John Kerry said that the U.S. has determined that the actions of Islamic State (aka ISIS) against Christians and other minority groups in Iraq and Syria constitutes an act of genocide.

My purpose in appearing before you today is to assert that, in my judgment, Daesh [Islamic State] is responsible for genocide against groups in areas under its control, including Yezidis, Christians, and Shia Muslims. Daesh is genocidal by self-proclamation, by ideology, and by actions – in what it says, what it believes, and what it does. Daesh is also responsible for crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing directed at these same groups and in some cases also against Sunni Muslims, Kurds, and other minorities.

[…]

We know that Daesh’s actions are animated by an extreme and intolerant ideology that castigates Yezidis as, quote, “pagans” and “devil-worshippers,” and we know that Daesh has threatened Christians by saying that it will, quote, “conquer your Rome, break your crosses, and enslave your women.”

[…]

The fact is that Daesh kills Christians because they are Christians; Yezidis because they are Yezidis; Shia because they are Shia. This is the message it conveys to children under its control. Its entire worldview is based on eliminating those who do not subscribe to its perverse ideology. There is no question in my mind that if Daesh succeeded in establishing its so-called caliphate, it would seek to destroy what remains of ethnic and religious mosaic once thriving in the region. 

Why does Secretary Kerry refer to Islamic State as “Daesh”?

Daesh is a loose acronym of the Arabic for “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant” (al-Dawla al-Islamiya al-Iraq al-Sham).

According to France 24, the term was first used in April 2013 by Arabic and Iranian media that were hostile to the jihadist movement and wanted to send the message that the group is neither truly “Islamic” nor a “state.” Daesh became a name commonly used by the enemies of the IS group, and was later adopted by the governments of France and the UK.

Why was the announcement made today?
(more…)

generosityMost Americans believe that it is very important for them to be a generous person. Yet almost half did not give to charity in the past year, and less than a quarter gave more than $500.

That’s the latest findings in a new Science of Generosity survey. An even more disconcerting discovery is that quarter of Americans were neutral on the importance of generosity and 10 percent disagreed that generosity was not a very important quality.

As David Briggs of the Association of Religion Data Archives notes,
(more…)

7figuresA new survey by NPR and Harvard University reports the self-reported experiences of health care consumers across the country, in states that have (New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon) and have not (Florida, Kansas, Texas) expanded Medicaid, and in one (Wisconsin) that did not have to expand Medicare.

Here are seven figures you should know from the report:

1. When asked about its effects on the people of their state, more than a third (35 percent) of adults say they believe national health reform has directly helped residents, while a similar proportion (27 percent) say they believe the law has directly harmed residents. On a more personal level, most (56 percent) Americans do not believe the Affordable Healthcare Act (i.e., Obamacare) has directly impacted them. Among those who believe it had an impact, more say it has directly hurt them (25 percent), as individuals, than those who say national health reform has directly helped them (15 percent).

2. One-third (33 percent) of adults in the U.S. believe the health care they receive is excellent and just under half (46 percent) say their care is good, while just over one in six (18 percent) say it is fair or poor.

3. Nearly three-fourths (74 percent) of adults in the U.S. believe the health care they receive has stayed about the same over the past two years, while less than a quarter (23 percent) believe it has gotten better or worse.
(more…)

Blog author: mvandermaas
Wednesday, February 17, 2016
By

We’ve had a burst of media activity this week; let’s round up some of Acton’s activity on the airwaves:

Monday, February 15

Todd Huizinga, Acton’s Director of International Outreach, joined the FreedomWorks podcast to discuss his newly released book The New Totalitarian Temptation: Global Governance and the Crisis of Democracy in Europe.

Tuesday, February 16

Kishore Jayabalan, Director of Istituto Acton in Rome, is a native of Flint, Michigan, and recently spent some time in his hometown. WJR Radio in Detroit turned to him for a native’s perspective on the water crisis, and what his thoughts are on the cause of the crisis and the way forward for the city.

Wednesday, February 17

Acton Institute Director of Research Samuel Gregg joined host Rob Schilling on WINA Radio’s The Schilling Show in Charlottesville, Virginia, in order to discuss the economic proposals of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. Gregg argues that Trump, far from being a champion of free markets, actually promotes mercantilist policies that will result in more crony capitalism. According to Gregg, voters are right to be angry at the state of politics and the economy in the US, but Trump’s proposed solutions will only make the situation worse.

We’re anticipating more interviews to come this week, and we’ll share them with you here on the PowerBlog. Stay tuned.