Gongol.com Archives: October 2009
Brian Gongol

October 5, 2009

The American Way October 2009 update to the EconDirectory

Socialism Doesn't Work Chicago City Council committee approves almost $36 million in incentives for United Airlines
They're trying to get the airline to move 2,500 employees from nearby Elk Grove Township into the Sears (or now "Willis") Tower. The claim, as usual with these sorts of incentive schemes, is that the city will make back more than that much money through new economic activity. But, in the end, the offer (if approved by the full City Council and accepted by United) would be nothing more than a transfer of money from taxpayers in Chicago to the company and a net gain of nothing to the metropolitan area. Economic-development packages are a zero-sum game, and it does a society no good to participate in them. United has been in bankruptcy once this decade (in 2002), and the company managed to lose $5.3 billion in 2008 after profiting by $402 million in 2007. Is that the kind of business in which Chicago taxpayers ought to be invested to the tune of tens of millions of dollars? Crank up the Red Army Choir and the Soviet national anthem.

Health Cancer-suppressing gene found
The Cambridge researchers who found it think it suppresses breast-cancer tumors and perhaps many others; when it's broken or missing, cancer cells grow and spread. It's news like this that not only buoys short-term optimism that we can find new ways to combat cancer, but also long-term optimism that we can figure out how best to fight the number-two cause of death in the United States.

Iowa Having free speech requires defending speech we don't like
But it wouldn't be a bad idea for those who hope to make a point about free speech to do so using thoughtful persuasion. After all, the point of encouraging free speech is to benefit from the exchange of ideas. Rather than making abrasive remarks about any particular religion, some college students who recently tried to make a point at UNI might've instead caused people to think if they'd pointed out that monotheists are just atheists about all gods minus one. Their right to say offensive things about religions is certainly afforded by the First Amendment, but in practice, they didn't use it very effectively.

Water News Congress is making new rules about chemical security, and those could cost small towns a lot

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