Archive for the ‘public policy’ Category

Taxing Cellphones

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

According to The Wall Street Journal, The IRS is considering taxing cellphones provided by employers. Currently cellphones and the cellular service that employees receive from employers is considered a fringe benefit and taxed fully by the I.R.S. Most people and corporations don’t enforce it.

Any change in the tax law even if it is only taxing cell phones as being personal use 25% of the time. Increased enforcement would be the equivalent of a tax hike. When the tax law was established on cell phones in 1989, cell phones were a luxury. Cellphones have now become a necessity and to tax them as a corporate luxury would be ridiculous.

Do the taxpayers get something in exchange for this tax hike? Probably not.

Sanjay Gupta Likes Teevee

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

Sanjay Gupta announced recently that he is not interested in the position of Surgeon General for which he was being considered.

It is perfectly understandable why Sanjay Gupta would not want the position: the Surgeon General makes little difference. It is hard to think of any Surgeon General in recently history that is memorable; the only Surgeon General I can think of is Jocelyn Elders who was fired after a bunch of false outrage after she suggested that masturbation should be discussed in sex ed.

Sanjay Gupta is likely to have a lot more impact and reach a larger audience as a commentator on CNN. It would not make sense to give up a large audience for an inconsequential Washington Office. Most of the control of health care public policy remains in control of the Secretary of HHS.

Whining About Pelosi

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

Yesterday, the House of Representatives voted down the $700 billion bailout of the financial industry. The bailout happened because constituents were overwhelmingly calling their congressmen complaining about the legislation in addition many members were opposed ideologically to the idea of the bailout.

Right before the speech Nancy Pelosi made a silly partisan speech blaming small government ideology and the Bush administration for the current financial mess. The vote failed and Republicans like Eric Cantor blamed Pelosi’s speech. Stop your whining! You would think people would take a $700 billion expenditure more seriously.

Update 1:

Health Care: It’s Going to Get Worse Until It Gets Better

Saturday, January 20th, 2007

Arnold Kling writes at Cato Unbound that health care coverage in America is going to get worse before it gets better. Quote:

As that essay emphasizes, no serious health care policy approach (including the status quo) works well politically, because no approach is painless. The economic analysis says that we have to absorb pain in terms of limiting access to health care, limiting consumer insulation from health care costs, committing extravagant resources to health care, or some combination of all three. However, those trade-offs are evaded in political debates. Instead, there is strong demand in the political marketplace for gimmicks that purport to provide painless solutions.

This analysis is probably true. The American public does not generally accept large scale policy change until things have gone horribly wrong.