This month's cover story on the federal government's kidney-treatment program is written by a former dialysis patient who had a successful kidney transplant several years ago. The idea for the story began with our Book Review Editor, Lynn Scarlett, when she saw a television panel discussion in which medical experts and policy analysts were lamenting the problems that have arisen under taxpayer funding of health care for the victims of kidney failure.
Lynn sniffed a government boondoggle at work and suspected that the panelists hadn't grasped the real problems involved. She suggested that we approach a friend of hers-a former kidney patient and a free-lance writer-to investigate. We did, he did, and the resulting story begins on page 21. He discovered a sad scene not only from the taxpayers' point of view but from kidney patients' as well.
A couple of Reason's investigative articles have been reprinted recently. The Washington Times's new national edition has reprinted John Fund and Martin Wooster's expose of the nondismantling of the Department of Education, "An Education in Empire Building," from our May issue. And Human Events has reprinted Jack Wheeler's April cover story, "Fighting the Soviet Imperialists: UNITA in Angola." Wheeler, whose second report in Reason on anti-Soviet guerrilla groups was last issue's cover story, is at work on a book about the significance of such groups, to be called Pebbles in the Sling.
A new name appeared on Reason's masthead last issue: Becky Hitchcock, our new Circulation Director. For the first time in Reason's history, we have a full-time person in charge of things like making sure your issues get delivered properly, that bills and renewal notices go out on time, that all the lists that we rent for our direct-mail promotional efforts are delivered to the mailing house in the same format and on time, etc., etc. There are thousands of details like this that go on behind the scenes, to ensure good service to current and potential subscribers, and Becky comes to the job with years of direct experience in the business. Her addition to the staff will leave Rob McGee free to devote his full attention to advertising and single-copy sales, rather than having to do the circulation job as well.
Jeffrey Smith joined the Reason Foundation in June as a summer intern. He's dividing his time between developing a computer data base for the Foundation's Local Government Center and writing and research projects for Reason magazine. At the end of the summer, Jeffrey will return to the University of Washington in Seattle, to complete his last year of undergraduate work in economics and computer science.
Privatization of government services continues to gain visibility. During May I gave a lecture at Washington's Heritage Foundation on the potential of privatization to shrink the size of the federal government. While in the nation's capital, I met Jim Coyne, special assistant to the president for private-sector initiatives, and found him to be quite interested in privatization. I also addressed a luncheon seminar of about 40 staff members from the Office of Management and Budget, laying out the potential for privatization.
At the local-government level, the Reason Foundation's Local Government Center is much in demand as a source of information on privatization. In recent weeks LGC has assisted reporters from Inc., Venture, and U.S. News & World Report with forthcoming stories on privatization. And we have received requests for assistance in identifying privatization opportunities from city officials in Houston, the chamber of commerce in Philadelphia, and a taxpayer organization in California's Placer County.
A new presentation of the case for ABM systems-both earth-based and space-based-has been written by Robert Jastrow. Dr. Jastrow has spent most of his career in the space program and was founder and director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies. I recently had the pleasure of dining with him in Chicago, and I'm quite impressed with his arguments. His recent Commentary Article on strategic defense has been reprinted as a handsome booklet, "How to Make Nuclear Weapons Obsolete." It's available for $1.00 from Orwell Press, Committee for the Free World, 211 E. 51st St., New York, NY 10022.