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Archive for January 6th, 2010

I debate my statist buddy Christian Weller on Larry Kudlow’s show.

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A new survey from International Living says that France has the highest quality of life, followed by Australia and Switzerland. The United States, meanwhile, is in seventh place, behind nations such as Germany, New Zealand, and Luxembourg:

To produce this annual Index we consider nine categories: Cost of Living, Culture and Leisure, Economy, Environment, Freedom, Health, Infrastructure, Safety and Risk, and Climate. This involves a lot of number crunching from “official” sources, including government websites, the World Health Organization, and The Economist, to name but a few. We also take into account what our editors from all over the world have to say about our findings.

1. FRANCE
2. AUSTRALIA
3. SWITZERLAND
4. GERMANY
5. NEW ZEALAND
6. LUXEMBOURG
7. UNITED STATES
8. BELGIUM
9. CANADA
10. ITALY

While I enjoy hammering French socialists, this does not mean I┬ádisagree with the list. International Living’s Index basically measures good places to live for people who already have money. France is a very nice country to visit, and would be a very nice place for a rich person to live depending on one’s preferences for food, weather, and culture. Personally, I’d go for someplace warm and sunny, such as the Cayman Islands (which only ranks 54th out of 194 options). There are plenty of interesting details in the comprehensive table, including Liechtenstein being the only place to get a perfect score in the economy category. Somalia was the worst overall country. The biggest surprise, at least to me, is that Singapore was ranked 70th. Seems rather low since a number of rich people are choosing to become Singapore residents.

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John Stossel’s show tomorrow on Fox Business News will discuss how modern events are eerily similar to what happened in Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. Writing about the show in his column, Stossel asks which political figure from today would be akin to the evil Wesley Mouch in the book. That’s a challenging question. During the Clinton years, Ira Magaziner or Robert Reich would have been obvious choices. But who is the statist Rasputin of the modern era? You can vote at this link. Geithner, Frank, and Obama currently lead the voting:

Even though Rand published “Atlas” in 1957, her descriptions of intrusive and bloated government read like today’s news. The “Preservation of Livelihood Law” and “Equalization of Opportunity Law” could be Nancy Pelosi’s or Harry Reid’s work. The novel’s chief villain is Wesley Mouch, a bureaucrat who cripples the economy with endless regulations. This sounds familiar. Reason magazine reports that “as he looks around Washington these days,” Rep. Paul Ryan “can’t help but think he’s seeing a lot of Wesley Mouch”. Me, too. I also saw a lot of him under George W. Bush. So I’m conducting this unscientific poll: Who is our Wesley Mouch? Hank Paulson? Tim Geithner? Barney Frank? You can vote here. Personally, I think Chris Dodd’s ridiculous financial proposals ought to win him the honor. But he isn’t among the choices on Fox’s list. As I write this, Geithner, President Obama and Barney Frank lead the voting. …Rand brings out ferocious hatred in some people. …Had today’s bureaucrats been in charge decades ago, they would have banned things like aspirin, cars and airplanes. Sadly, they are in charge now. That makes the “Atlas” message important today. Although Rand idolizes businessman in the abstract, “Atlas Shrugged” makes clear that she (like Adam Smith) understood that they are not natural friends of free markets. They are often first in line for privileges bestowed by the state. That’s called “crony capitalism,” and that’s what Orren Boyle practices in “Atlas.”

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