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South Africa’s poverty and unemployment battle

20 December 2007
It has been over ten years since the first democratically elected government came into power and the new dispensation has a lot to be proud of. Indeed, the government should be congratulated on a number of beneficial reforms that has seen the overall level of economic growth increase over the…

Corporate tax war

19 December 2007
A cut in the corporate tax rate would give a lift to the U.S. economy when it really needs it, according to a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). According to the authors: High business taxes were found to reduce a nation's domestic capital investment, the amount of…

Canada offers no cost advantage over US drug policies

19 Dec 07   FMF Policy Bulletin
Government policies around the pricing and reimbursement of prescription drugs in Canada do not produce lower costs for Canadians compared to Americans, according to a new study by Brett Skinner, Director of Health, Pharmaceutical and Insurance Policy Research, and Mare Rovere, a policy analyst, at the Fraser Institute. According to the…

The benefits of a flatter, fairer tax system

19 Dec 07  
A few weeks ago a Republican member of the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee presented a plan to offer Americans a simplified income tax system. A few days ago, former U.S. Senator and Republican presidential aspirant Fred Thompson endorsed much of the proposal. Though not a pure flat tax, in…

Exchange controls and international trade

19 Dec 07  
Attempts to enforce exchange controls by government – to stop companies and individuals trying to circumvent a country's capital account restrictions – raise the cost to firms engaging in importing and exporting, according to a National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) Working Paper. Other findings: Countries tend to have more controls…

UK among Europe’s worst for cancer funding

19 Dec 07   FMF Policy Bulletin
The United Kingdom lags behind nearly every other European country when it comes to investment in cancer services and has some of the poorest survival rates for the disease, says the London Daily Telegraph. Consider:   Just £80 (about R1,100) per head of population is spent on cancer in England, compared to £121…

A comrade’s medical plan for the US

13 Dec 07   FMF Policy Bulletin
Under presidential candidate John Edwards' universal health care plan, physician choice will not exist. Americans will be assigned a doctor, or allowed to choose from a small group, much like those who are part of the managed care systems – the same ones that are so derided by those who…

Government subsidies and handouts are a huge cost to Canadian taxpayers

13 Dec 07  
Canadians provided business with $19 billion (about U.S. $19.2 billion) in subsidies in 2004, the equivalent of $1,295 (about U.S. $1,312) from each Canadian taxpayer, according to a new report by the Fraser Institute. In addition: The 2004 figure was almost double the $10.3 billion (about) U.S. $10.4 billion governments doled…

American brain drain

13 Dec 07  
One of the myths dogging the immigration debate is that employers are fibbing (or grossly exaggerating) when they claim that hiring foreign professionals is unavoidable because U.S.-born Ph.D.s are hard to come by. But a new report on doctorates from U.S. universities shows they're telling the truth, and then some,…

Colombian trade deal with US in the balance

13 Dec 07  
The proposed free-trade agreement between Colombia and the United States has stalled in the US Congress. The success and stability of Colombia and the Pan-American region depend on the US’s ability to recognise the importance of this agreement to the United States, to Colombia's economy, to human rights progress and…

Canadian medical wait lists extend to psychiatric treatment

13 Dec 07   FMF Policy Bulletin
Canadians seeking psychiatric treatment faced the same lengthy wait times as patients waiting for surgical treatment in 2007, according to research published by The Fraser Institute. Consider:   The total wait time for Canada as a whole for psychiatry rose to 18.5 weeks in 2007 from 17.5 weeks in 2006.   The shortest waiting times…

New age thinking

06 Dec 07  
The current practice of measuring age as years-since-birth, both in common practice and in the law, rather than alternative measures reflecting a person's stage in the lifecycle distorts important behaviour such as retirement and saving, says John B. Shoven, professor of economics at Stanford University and Director of the Stanford…

Do the Swiss and the Dutch have optimal health-care policies?

06 Dec 07   FMF Policy Bulletin
America, a nation prone to love at first sight with seductive health-care fixes, is now falling for the systems of the Netherlands and Switzerland, says Regina E. Herzlinger, professor of business administration at Harvard University Business School and a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. The Swiss and Dutch systems share…

Poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa and its causes

06 Dec 07  
It is increasingly clear that economic freedom, good governance and rule of law are key drivers in promoting economic growth and reducing poverty. In Sub-Saharan Africa, unfortunately, economic freedom and growth have trailed the rest of the world, says Christa Bieker, a policy analyst at the National Center for Policy…

Japan’s GDP growth is outpacing its oil use

06 Dec 07  
It is hard to find good investment news from Japan these days. But in this gloom, it is easy to overlook one great strength: the country's immense success in reducing oil dependence, says Robert Alan Feldman, head of economic research at Morgan Stanley Japan Ltd. Japan's oil consumption is especially dramatic…

Let them eat laptops

06 Dec 07  
Early reviews of One Laptop per Child's (OLPC) finished product – the XO, or "$100 laptop" – extol its many innovative features. None of these reviews, however, mention what the XO fails to provide, such as a source of clean drinking water, abundant and nutritious food, or medicines for curable…

Mr President, please give gift certificates to the unemployed this Christmas

29 Nov 07  
Mr President, I am asking you on behalf of the unemployed for a bold and noble act – a gift certificate from you to the unemployed that will make it easier for them to get jobs. According to the latest Labour Force Survey (Sept 2006) 25.5 per cent of SA’s…

Mexican land reform’s contribution to mass migration to the U.S.

28 Nov 07  
The roots of the recent wave of immigrants from Mexico to the United States lie partly in the failure of the Mexican Revolution to live up to its promise to return land to the country's dispossessed peasants, according to Alvaro Vargas Llosa, a senior fellow with the Independent Institute, who…

U.S. corporate tax rate far into Laffer curve zone

28 Nov 07  
The Laffer curve illustrates the idea that above a certain tax rate, cuts to the rate cause the tax base to expand sufficiently for revenues to increase. At 35 per cent, the U.S. corporate tax rate seems to be above that rate, and thus in a strong Laffer zone, says…

What can be learned from the Nordic model?

28 Nov 07  
Some policymakers in the United States and Europe argue that it is possible to enjoy economic growth and also have a large welfare state. These advocates for bigger government claim that the so-called Nordic Model offers the best of both worlds. This claim does not withstand scrutiny, says the Cato…

Health-care failings make Britain the poor relation within Europe

28 Nov 07   FMF Policy Bulletin
The United Kingdom's health-care system is a bad deal for patients compared with those in the rest of Europe, according to a new report. Although it has the highest-paid doctors and the second-highest number of nurses per head of population, the United Kingdom was described by the study as "the…