There are a number of useful resources available on the Internet that complement the study of economics. Two of my favorite sites include the Library of Economics and Liberty at George Mason University and Greg Mankiw’s Blog. The Library of Economics and Liberty represents a particularly ambitious project, offering “…a unique combination of resources for students, teachers, researchers, and aficionados of economic thought”, including articles, books, an encylopedia, a blog called EconLog, and a podcast site called Econtalk. Greg Mankiw is an economics professor at Harvard University and author of a very popular introductory economics textbook. The Library of Economics and Liberty boasts a clearly libertarian perspective, whereas Professor Mankiw is a conservative, having served as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors under President Bush (obviously the fact that I like both of these sites unambiguously reveals my personal philosophical/political biases).
EconLog and Greg Mankiw’s Blog both made the Wall Street Journal’s (July 16, 2009) list of the “Top 25 Economics Blogs”. Here’s the listing and description of the top 25 (as well as the 5 “honorable mentions).
My neighborhood is overrun with deer these days. It is not uncommon for me to come home and find extended deer families “chilling” in my front or back yard. A friend sent me this photograph of such a family enjoying the shade under her children’s trampoline. I can’t help but wonder whether trampoline manufacturers take the risk of deer antlers into consideration in the design of their products!
Here’s a list of articles that I have been reading today (organized by topic):
- Latest Data on Transfers and Income, by Donald MarronDonald Marron documents in this as well as a series of recent posts the fact that Americans are getting an increasing portion of their income from the government.
- Tax Withholding Is Bad for Democracy, by Charles MurrayAEI’s Charles Murray argues that the incidence (and relative burden) of both income taxes (e.g., the top 1% of American households pay more in federal income taxes than the bottom 95% combined) and payroll taxes (the social security portion of which is regressive) is obscured by withholding at the workplace. He argues that ending withholding and replacing it with quarterly payments of estimated taxes would be good for democracy by promoting a common understanding that we all pay a share of the costs of government.
- Will They Still Love Him Tomorrow?, by Daniel HenningerWSJ: “President Everyman is starting to look like a salesman for the superstate.”
Finance and Economics
- Rationing By Any Other Name, by Megan McArdle
While the statement “we already ration health care; we just let the market do the rationing” is certainly true, it doesn’t logically support rationing by government fiat. Ms. McArdle notes that the same (self-evident) statement can be made about virtually any other good; e.g., “We already ration food; we just let the market do the rationing”, or “We already ration gasoline; we just let the market do the rationing”, or “We already ration cigarettes; we just let the market do the rationing.” Duh!