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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 15, 2007 / 25 Adar, 5767

Laws that kill

By John Stossel


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Whenever someone is hurt in an accident, people say, "There ought to be a law!" Politicians rush to oblige them and then take credit for all the lives they saved.


But shouldn't they also accept blame for the lives lost because of those laws?


Lives lost? Yes. A joint study by the Brookings Institution and American Enterprise Institute found that government regulations that are supposed to save lives actually end up killing more people.


Why? Because safety laws almost always have unintended bad consequences.


For years I've ridden my bike to work without a helmet, which seemed especially dumb since "20/20"'s offices are in New York City.


This year I've started wearing a helmet. I wasn't forced to. Unlike other places, New York has no law requiring adults to wear one. But my friends talked me into it, and I was surprised — today's helmets are better; they're comfortable.


I feel much safer now, but it's not clear that I am safer.


Ian Walker, a human-behavior researcher at the University of Bath in England, put a sensor and camera on his bike and rode for miles with and without a helmet. His data showed that when he wore the helmet, 23 percent more cars came within three feet of him.


"[The drivers are] saying, 'He knows what he's doing.' When they see a cyclist who has all the gear, they think it's a sign of someone who's experienced and skillful," Walker surmises.


Biking is obviously less safe if cars are closer. Walker says there's another unintended consequence of helmet laws.


"Parts of Australia, Canada, and New Zealand have made bicycle helmets a requirement. The number of head injuries among cyclists in those countries drops off."


That's good, right?


"However, the number of cyclists is dropping off at exactly the same rate."


That's not good, assuming they don't take up other exercise.


"When people don't cycle, they're not getting exercise," Walker says. "Being sedentary is incredibly dangerous. You get heart attacks; you get strokes — proven killers that kill thousands of people. So when people make helmets a requirement, with the best intentions, it may actually kill more people."


And here's another unintended consequence: Now that I wear a helmet, I feel safer, so I ride in traffic more often. Economists call this the Peltzman effect — people adjust their behavior in ways that counteract the intended safety effect.


It's possible that I'd be safer if I junked the helmet and bought a woman's wig instead. Walker discovered that drivers gave him the most room when he wore a wig and they apparently thought he was a woman.


I tried it. It was very embarrassing, and I couldn't tell if cars came closer or not.


I'll stick with my helmet, but the point is that unintended consequences of well-intended safety rules are common.


In 1972, the FDA passed a law requiring child safety caps on many medications. It was supposed to keep kids from being poisoned by drugs like aspirin. But there is an unexpected side effect. Because safety caps are hard to get off, some people — particularly older people — leave them off, and some parents, feeling safer with the cap, leave the aspirin where kids can reach it.


A study of this "lulling effect" concluded that an additional 3,000 children have been poisoned by aspirin because of the regulation.


Finally, I may have given my daughter asthma by trying to protect her. When she was a baby, I, like most new parents, made an extra effort to keep the house clean. But now there's research suggesting that kids who are exposed to more endotoxins — mild dust, bacteria, pollen — and kids who go to daycare, have pets, and live on farms — are less likely to develop allergies and asthma.


A sterile house, safety caps, bike helmet laws, etc., are all well intended, but one never knows what the real-life consequence will be. Yet every year the federal register needs thousands of pages to list all the new freedom-killing rules that bureaucrats pass in the name of protecting us.


Politicians should be less smug when they say, "Look, I've solved it! I passed a law."

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JUST OUT FROM STOSSEL
Myths, Lies and Downright Stupidity: Get Out the Shovel --- Why Everything You Know Is Wrong  

Stossel mines his 20/20 segments for often engaging challenges to conventional wisdom, presenting a series of "myths" and then deploying an investigative journalism shovel to unearth "truth." This results in snappy debunkings of alarmism, witch-hunts, satanic ritual abuse prosecutions and marketing hokum like the irradiated-foods panic, homeopathic medicine and the notion that bottled water beats tap. Stossel's libertarian convictions make him particularly fond of exposes of government waste and regulatory fiascoes. Sales help fund JWR.



JWR contributor John Stossel is co-anchor of ABC News' "20/20." To comment, please click here.


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