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Reason

Reason December 2018

Reason is the monthly print magazine of "free minds and free markets." It covers politics, culture, and ideas through a provocative mix of news, analysis, commentary, and reviews. Reason provides a refreshing alternative to right-wing and left-wing opinion magazines by making a principled case for liberty and individual choice in all areas of human activity.

País:
United States
Idioma:
English
Editor:
Reason Magazine
Periodicitat:
Monthly
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11 Números

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7 min.
zombie statistics

“YOU’RE ABOUT TO be untricked,” boasted the opening line of a groundbreaking 1981 Reason investigation about high-profile chemical leaks in upstate New York. In the early ’80s, Love Canal had already become synonymous with corporate willingness to destroy the environment and human health in the name of profit. But careful reporting revealed the anti-corporate narrative was wrong; the primary malefactor wasn’t the greedy businessmen at Hooker Chemical but the Niagara Falls Board of Education, which developed a plot of land despite many warnings from Hooker about the presence of dangerous chemicals. Unfortunately, Reason’s story did little to change the anti-market tenor of the environmental reforms that followed. That’s because when a narrative is powerful and useful to highly motivated activists, it can be fiendishly difficult to roll it back. Zombie statistics,…

4 min.
health care ate america

IN 1960, SIX years before the start of Medicare and Medicaid, America spent about $27 billion on health care. That figure represented just under 5 percent of an economy that was about $543 billion in total. By 2016, combined public and private spending on health care had reached more than $3.3 trillion, or nearly 18 percent of the total economy, with almost half the bill paid by government. Now, thanks to factors such as increased drug prices and an aging population, official projections have health care spending increasing indefinitely. In the five decades after the passage of America’s two largest health care entitlements, that sector has become a maw, eating everything in its path. Health spending has reshaped the nation’s job market, its household finances, and its public budgeting. Between January…

7 min.
reason once tried to predict the future. how did we do?

IT WAS MAY 1993. Barely two years earlier, a failed coup attempt had marked the last gasp of Soviet Communism. The Cold War was over. Germany was reunified. The Baltic countries were independent. In the former Yugoslavia, Sarajevo was under siege. Bill Clinton, a New Democrat who spoke the wonky language of neo classical economics, was in his first months as president. Ross Perot’s upstart candidacy had made the budget deficit a high-profile issue. A free trade treaty with Mexico and Canada was awaiting ratification. The European Union would be born in November. Later that year, I’d visit Silicon Valley and ask computer whiz Mark S. Miller how Reason should “get on the internet,” as our techie friends kept telling us to do. I had a Compu-Serve account. Should we start a…

3 min.
the sorry state of foia

WHEN THE FREEDOM of Information Act (FOIA) was passed in 1966—about five years before public trust in government started to crater as a result of the Pentagon Papers and then Watergate—it was a landmark law and an exciting, promising new tool for reporters, researchers, and concerned citizens. More than 50 years later, it is a wheezing, arthritic artifact of more optimistic times. More people than ever want to know what the government is doing in their name and with their money. The number of submitted FOIA requests has steadily increased year-over-year, a trend that has only accelerated under the daily controversies of the Trump administration, which said it received roughly 800,000 such requests in 2017, a record. At the same time, despite recent legislation to strengthen the law, it’s more difficult…

5 min.
no more vietnam syndrome

U.S. FOREIGN POLICY for decades proceeded in the shadow of the failure in Vietnam. Some 58,000 Americans were killed in that war. Stateside protests were fierce enough to persuade President Lyndon Johnson to sit out the ’68 election. Seven years later, after about 2 million civilian Vietnamese deaths, the U.S. finally gave up without having prevented a Communist takeover of the country. “Vietnam syndrome” restricted our foreign conflicts, for a time, to such swift and relatively petty adventures as 1983’s post-coup invasion of Grenada (which, though it involved fewer than 8,000 U.S. troops, did kill 19 U.S. soldiers, wound 116 more, and prompt a massive majority of the U.N. General Assembly to dub the American action a “flagrant violation of international law”) and the 1989 overthrow of troublesome Panamanian leader Manuel…

2 min.
better, faster, cheaper

THE LIVING STANDARDS of Americans have vastly improved during the past 50 years, with the quality of available consumer products steadily rising even as their prices have steeply fallen. In 1968, Americans could buy a top-of-the-line 19.3-cubic-foot refrigerator for $499.95. In 2018 dollars, that’s $3,695. Today, consumers can purchase a 21-cubic-foot Kenmore with external water and ice dispenser for $999.99 at Sears—a 73 percent price drop, in real terms. The downward trend in television prices has been even more dramatic. In 1968, an Admiral Color 23-inch TV cost $349.95, or about $2,586 today. Consumers had to walk across the room to switch between three national networks. Best Buy now sells a 24-inch smart TV for $139.99—nearly a 95 percent price reduction. It comes with a remote as well as instant access to…