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The Nuclear Option

New from the Business & Media Institute


The Nuclear Option
When you hear about nuclear energy these days, its usually in reference to rogue states and/or terrorists. But the president mentioned nuclear powers possibilities for weaning the United States off an oil addiction, and the media could educate the nation about those possibilities. Instead, they tend to focus on the scary unknowns which will remain scary as long as the facts are hidden.


Econ 101: What Happens When We Subsidize
Alternative energy is the subsidy du jour, following the passage of the 2005 energy bill and Bushs renewed focus in the State of the Union address. But, as Dr. Gary Wolfram says, we would do better to allow the market of innovation to work, instead of pouring taxpayers money into certain industries. We cant ignore the signals that prices send to entrepreneurs, telling them which fields of research to expand.
Ask the professor: Do you have a question about an economic issue covered in the news?


Ironic Media Position Follows Bushs Declaration of Oil Addiction
Didnt the media say the Iraq war was all about oil, and that the United States was too dependent on the Mideasts resources? Well, now that President Bush has agreed that its time to look elsewhere for energy, the media have been scoffing at his proposal. Their about-face has journalists calling attention now to the small percentage of oil America imports from the Mideast.


The Good, the Bad & the Ugly
The Good, the Bad & the Ugly tracks the best and worst media coverage of business and economics. Readers are invited to submit suggestions or news tips to staff writer Ken Shepherd.
This week:  Medicare drug program a bitter pill; Bono still hasnt found what hes looking for; Good jobs report gets the sound of silence.


Also from BMI:


Newscasts See Budget Filled with Substantial Cuts


Broadcasters Ignore or Distort Solid Jobs Report


ABC Stuck in a Moment of One-Sided Coverage


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Research, News & Commentary


Federal Budget


Commentary: Business & Media Institute adviser and National Taxpayers Union President John Berthoud calculates that if federal spending had been held to 4-percent growth since President Bush took office instead of the 49-percent jump in spending since 2001, the White House would instead be projecting a surplus of $58 billion rather than $354 billion in red ink.


Commentary: American Enterprise Institutes Veronique de Rugy sums up why massive government budgets are a problem. Every time government spends money, it is diverting resources from productive use, de Rugy writes, adding that it doesnt matter whether the money is borrowed or levied from taxes. The White House, she argues, should be focusing on reducing the size of government, not just the part financed by borrowing.


Taxes


Analysis: George Pieler of the Institute for Policy Innovation assesses a tax threat thats literally right in front of you as you read this on your computer screen: local, state, and federal politicians, as well as international bureaucrats, lining up to tax the Internet.


Entitlements


Commentary: Drawing a lesson from the failure of Delphis pension plan, Chris Schrimpf of Students for Saving Social Security argues that Social Security is a national pension disaster waiting to happen. Not only is the program badly under-funded because of demographic trends, its doomed to fail for lack of diversification. We all must buy the company stock, government bonds, which Congress then spends, and we don't allow the workers to diversify their retirement portfolio, Schrimpf writes.


Commentary: If President Bush asks you to join a commission on Medicare or Social Security, AEIs Kevin Hassett has two words: no, thanks. Calling the State of the Union plan for a Social Security reform commission a sign of weakness, Hassett details the dashed hopes of conservatives following the presidents other commissions on Social Security and tax reform.