Assorted Links (12/31/2009)

Here’s a list of articles that I have been reading today (organized by topic):

Financial Crisis

“It’s safer to break up the biggest banks than have the feds guarantee them against failure.”

“Barney Frank’s decision to ‘roll the dice’ on subsidized housing is becoming an epic disaster for taxpayers.”

Foreign Policy

“No despot fears the president, and no demonstrator in Tehran expects him to ride to the rescue.”

Health Care Reform

“…insurance is not part of the solution; it’s part of the problem.”

“At this point, there is a near mathematical certainty that the scheme of health insurance market regulation contemplated by the Reid bill will reduce the risk-adjusted rate of return below the level needed to keep these firms in the individual and small-group health-insurance markets. I am not aware of a single provision in the Reid Bill that looks to ensuring a minimum rate of return. And there are countless provisions in the bill that impose new obligations to cover services while eliminating the revenue sources to deal with them. It is just this combination of regulatory programs that leads the CBO to treat private health insurance issuers as part of a federal program—as though they have been subject to de facto nationalization.”

“The push to reform the system is going in exactly the wrong direction. Instead of minimizing patient involvement in payment for treatment, Washington should be seeking to increase patients’ role.”

Public Policy

“States with the highest taxes also rank as the unhappiest.”

Assorted Links (12/30/2009)

Here’s a list of articles that I have been reading today (organized by topic):

Culture

“Why is Ayn Rand so popular today?”

Economics

Finance

“Twenty years ago this week, Japan’s Nikkei index reached its historic peak of 38,916. There are lessons from the fall for America and the world.”

Foreign Policy

“On Tuesday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad did not just reject President Obama’s latest feckless floating nuclear deadline. He spat on it, declaring that Iran “will continue resisting” until the United States has gotten rid of its 8,000 nuclear warheads.”

Health Care Reform

“Why we will see increased health insurance costs and a radical shift toward expanded government control of health insurance and medical care.

A Finance Retrospective of the 2000’s

“Since End of 1999, U.S. Stocks’ Performance Has Been the All-Time Clunker; Even 1930s Beat It”.

“Many investors realize that stocks have been among the worst investments of the past decade. But they may not realize quite how bad the decade was, because most people forget about the effects of inflation.”

“The U.S. stock market is wrapping up what is likely to be its worst decade ever. In nearly 200 years of recorded stock-market history, no calendar decade has seen such a dismal performance as the 2000s.”

Assorted Links (12/19/2009)

Here’s a list of articles that I have been reading today (organized by topic):

Art, Music, and Culture

“Architecture clearly illustrates the social, environmental, economic, and aesthetic costs of ignoring beauty. We are being torn out of ourselves by the loud gestures of people who want to seize our attention but give nothing in return.

Health Care Reform

“The healthcare overhaul is shaping up as the highest-risk legislation in modern times.

Highly Recommended

  • The decade in news photographs, from the Boston Globe’s “Big Picture” blogsite

“Call it what you will, “the noughties”, “the two-thousands” or something else, the first decade of the 21st century (2000-2009) is now over. Looking back on the past ten years through news photographs, it becomes clear that it was a dramatic, often brutal decade. Natural disasters, terrorist attacks and wars were by far the most dominant theme. Ten years ago, Bill Clinton was ending his final term in office, very few had ever heard of Osama bin Laden, the Taliban ruled Afghanistan and Saddam Hussein still ruled Iraq – all that and much more has changed in the intervening time. It’s really an impossible task to sum up ten years in a handful of photographs, but below is my best attempt at a look back at the last decade – feel free to let me know what I missed in the comments below. (50 photos total)”

Religion

“A screaming headline in the Atlantic magazine blames Christianity for the recent economic turmoil. In fact, changing economic attitudes among Christians did contribute to the problem—just not in the way the Atlantic believes.

Assorted Links (12/14/2009)

Here’s a list of articles that I have been reading today (organized by topic):

Economics

The Economy

“LIKE our doctor facing a mysterious illness, economists should remain humble and open-minded when considering how best to fix an ailing economy. A growing body of evidence suggests that traditional Keynesian nostrums might not be the best medicine.”

Health Care Reform

“How Peter Orszag and the White House sold a health-care illusion.”

Politics and Public Policy

“The public is growing wary of the cost of ObamaCare. Yet there is one budget-busting provision that hasn’t received the attention it deserves: a new long-term care entitlement.”

“Socialism having failed so spectacularly, the left was adrift until it struck upon a brilliant gambit: metamorphosis from red to green. The cultural elites went straight from the memorial service for socialism to the altar of the environment. The objective is the same: highly centralized power given to the best and the brightest, the new class of experts, managers and technocrats. This time, however, the alleged justification is not abolishing oppression and inequality but saving the planet.”

Assorted Links (12/11/2009)

Here’s a list of articles that I have been reading today (organized by topic):

Financial Crisis and Public Policy

“A bill in the House threatens to impose a massive tax on America’s most successful companies by subjecting them to bank-style regulation.”

“Based on what we now know about AIG, it’s unclear ‘too big to fail’ institutions are in fact too big to fail.”

Health Care Reform

Apparently not, and for some rather surprising reasons, according to Ms. McArdle.  Also, as is evident from this graphic from her article, the rate of change in the trendlines for and against has begun (since November) to increase at “alarming” rates…


“A business ad campaign could turn the tide even in the House.”

Politics

“The U.S. can’t have new entrepreneurs and tax them too.”

“If he’s going to bow to something, it might as well be reality.”

Assorted Links (12/9/2009)

Here’s a list of articles that I have been reading today (organized by topic):

The Economy

Health Care Reform

“Recent Research on Breast-Cancer Screening Incorporates Wide Margins of Error; Scientists Defend ‘Qualitative Assessment’”

Public Policy

“The unintended consequences of the ‘Let Wall Street Pay for the Restoration of Main Street Act.’”

Assorted Links (12/8/2009)

Here’s a list of articles that I have been reading today (organized by topic):

Economics and Public Policy

  • An Empire at Risk, by Niall Ferguson

“We won the cold war and weathered 9/11. But now economic weakness is endangering our global power.”

Finance

  • Fama Lecture: Masters of Finance

“From the American Finance Association’s “Masters in Finance” video series, Eugene F. Fama presents a brief history of the efficient market theory. The lecture was recorded at the University of Chicago in October 2008 with an introduction by John Cochrane.”

Foreign Policy

“We shall fight in the air, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields, we shall fight in the hills — for 18 months. Then we start packing for home.”

Game Theory

Health Care Reform

“The United States has the best health care in the world — but because of its inefficiencies, also the most expensive. The fundamental problem with the 2,074-page Senate health-care bill (as with its 2,014-page House counterpart) is that it wildly compounds the complexity by adding hundreds of new provisions, regulations, mandates, committees and other arbitrary bureaucratic inventions.”

Politics

“Rule by the best and the brightest.”