Archive for April 2nd, 2010

USA Today reports on a study showing that payments to donors would significantly increase the supply of kidneys available for transplant. Such a system potentially could save thousands of lives per year, so it is perplexing that statists are so viscerally opposed. The only interpretation I can come up with – which I admit is very uncharitable – is that they are willing to let people die because they are myopically fixated on equity. No system is acceptable, in their minds, unless it results in equal death rates by income class and equal kidney donations by income class. Or am I missing a more benign explanation?

Paying people for living kidney donations would increase the supply of the organs and would not result in a disproportionate number of poor donors, a study by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center concludes. The study, published this month in the Annals of Internal Medicine, asked 342 participants whether they would donate a kidney with varying payments of $0, $10,000 and $100,000. The study called for a real-world test of a regulated payment system. …Though it is illegal to buy or sell any organ in the USA, payments are accepted for those who become surrogate mothers, donate eggs or participate in clinical research, Halpern says. …Last year, 6,475 people died while on the waiting list for an organ transplant, and 4,476 were waiting for a kidney transplant, according to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, part of the Health and Human Services Administration. “There’s no real reason why that model has to be continued,” Halpern says of the current system. “There’s nothing intrinsically unique about organ donation that requires it to be a truly altruistic act.”

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This Institute for Justice video shows what happens when bad laws are enacted (often using the excuse of fighting crime) that give government unchecked power.

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Thank You

I first set up this blog because one of the public relations people at Cato said it was “the thing to do,” whatever that means. I was a bit dubious. I didn’t need a platform to pontificate, because that was part of my job already. But  I’m a go-along-to-get-along person (in limited cases), so I figured there was no significant downside to giving it a try. This blog chews up about one hour each day, however, so I frequently wonder whether it is the best use of my time. Would I better advance the cause of liberty, for instance, by doing another video instead? Writing an oped? Doing meetings on Capitol Hill?

The only objective test is whether I attracted enough readers, and I decided to make this a one-year experiment and then decide whether to keep going. As you can see from the chart below, it did not seem like the blog was catching on for the first several months. But in the past few months, the numbers have jumped significantly. By blogosphere standards, we’re still an infant, but if I extrapolate recent trends, we’ll have the entire world reading in just a few years. Since I don’t work for the Congressional Budget Office or Joint Committee on Taxation, I won’t actually make that kind of ridiculous assumption, but I will say thank you to all of you – especially those of you who are sharing this blog with friends and colleagues. Let’s see how the second year works out.

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