David R. Henderson  

The March Issue of Reason Magazine

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Rarely do I take the time any more to read through the whole of a magazine. But I've been traveling in Asia and I found time to read most of the March issue of Reason. It's superb. Here are just some of the good articles:

. Peter Suderman's excellent piece on Mitt Romney, titled "Consultant in Chief." Some highlights:

In October of that year, Romney told the Republican Jewish Coalition: "I think we'll be successful nationwide. My plan, by the way, allows every citizen in America to get health insurance." Asked by CNN's John King at the time whether RomneyCare was a good model for the nation, he responded with a big grin, "Well, I think so."

These days, he thinks not. In an October 2011 debate on CNN, Romney insisted, despite evidence to the contrary, that "in the last campaign I was asked, 'Is this something you would have the whole nation do?' And I said no."


At this point, anyone hoping to pin Romney down on the relationship between RomneyCare and ObamaCare might as well try to nail an egg to the wall. In a lengthy November interview with Fox News host Bret Baier, a visibly uncomfortable Romney reiterated his recent claim that the law was good for Massachusetts but not for the nation. He told Baier that his "entire view" on the subject was laid out "clearly" in his book.

Reading No Apology is indeed clarifying, but probably not in the way that Romney intends. The first printing of the hardback summarized RomneyCare's achievements and national implications with the line, "We can accomplish the same thing for everyone in the country." When the book came out in paperback, that line was gone.


The distinction between Romney's support for properly managed stimulus and his criticism of the Obama plan as passed is murky enough to give even his advisers pause. Asked over the phone whether it would be fair to say that Romney supports stimulus spending as long as it's the right kind of stimulus spending, Romney's policy advisor starts to answer, then pauses for several seconds before responding hesitantly that he has the impression that's true but will need to check further.

. Peter Schweizer, "Warren Buffett: Baptist and Bootlegger." This one nicely lays out how Warren Buffett is up to his eyeballs in crony capitalism.

. Robert W. Poole, Jr. "Fixing America's Freeways." Poole does two main things, both of which he always does well: (1) Makes the case for tollways, with a large dose of private investment, as a solution for congestion, and (2) something that is rarer, gives the reader an empirically-backed case for thinking that some of the pro-market reforms will actually happen.

This latter, by the way, is something that has been one of Poole's strengths for over 40 years. In fact, it was a piece by him in Reason in the late 1960s or early 1970s that encouraged me to be not just a professional libertarian but a professional empirically-based economist.

Disclosure: Although I haven't written for it much lately, I'm still a contributing editor to Reason.



COMMENTS (5 to date)
Ted Craig writes:

On Presidents' Day, I watched the excellent Presidents series marathon on the History Channel. In the whole of U.S. history, the most libertarian presidents were Grover Cleveland and Gerald Ford. History remembers neither with affection.

mark writes:

it is a great magazine, thanks for the reminder. City Journal is also terrific.

Mark Little writes:

I subscribed to Reason for decades, but in recent years let my subscription laps. Maybe I should renew.

Ritwik writes:

The Buffet article is ridiculous. It's a bunch of illogical pot-shots about everything from Buffet's home to the nomenclature of 'value investing', followed by 'look he invested in Goldman Sachs'.

Buffet is the equity lender of last resort. That is it.

Ken B writes:

Ritwik,
Other than 'discomfitting to my world view' I cannot grok what you mean by 'ridiculous'. Are any of the facts wrong? Did Buffett not in fact make huge sums from the policies he pushed for? Is the article in any substantive way incorrect?

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