Assorted Links (8/30/2010)

Here’s a list of articles that I have been reading lately:

How Dismal is the Fiscal Future For America and Europe? Becker – The Becker-Posner Blog

Here’s Nobel Laureate Gary Becker’s views on the possibility of a (developed economies) debt crisis: “Posner lays out clearly many of the present and future solvency and default risks to the United States federal government. He bases some of the analysis on a valuable recent Morgan Stanley report with the provocative title “Ask Not Whether Governments Will Default, but How”.”

O’Grady: Kirchner’s Assault on the Press –

“In the Wall Street Journal, Americas columnist Mary Anastasia O’Grady writes about the Argentine president’s campaign to silence the country’s two most influential daily newspapers.”

Mark Helprin: The World Trade Center Mosque and the Constitution –

“In the Wall Street Journal, Mark Helprin of the Claremont Institute writes that proponents have a right to build the mosque, but no American can be forced to pour concrete or cross a picket line of grieving families.”

Robert Barro: The Folly of Subsidizing Unemployment –

“In the Wall Street Journal, the economist Robert Barro of Harvard writes that his calculations suggest the jobless rate could be as low as 6.8%, instead of 9.5%, if the Obama administration hadn’t extended jobless benefits to 99 weeks.”

Paul Rubin: Ten Fallacies About Web Privacy –

“In the Wall Street Journal, Paul Rubin of Emory University writes that we are not used to the Internet reality that something can be known and at the same time no person knows it.”

Life-Insurance Coverage Wanes for U.S. Households –

“Nearly a third have no policies, a combination of the financial pressures on middle-income families and a reticence to purchase insurance due to the high cost of some policies and the hardball tactics used by some agents.”

ABREAST OF THE MARKET: The Decline of the P/E Ratio –

“As investors fixate on the global forces whipsawing the markets, one fundamental measure of stock-market value, the price-to-earnings ratio, is quietly shrinking, both in size and importance.”

Assorted Links (8/28/2010)

Here’s a list of articles that I have been reading lately:

The Emerging Markets’ Century — The American, A Magazine of Ideas

“Whereas public debt levels in many major industrialized countries will soon exceed 100 percent of GDP, those in the major emerging market economies generally range between 40 to 50 percent of GDP.”

Catholics and the Cosmos: Thinking About Souls and Human Origins, and What Pius XII Said About Evolution

“In The Wall Street Journal’s Houses of Worship column, John Farrell writes about the 60th anniversary of Pope Pius XII’s 1950 encyclical on Christianity and the theory of evolution and asks whether advances in science call for more discussion in the church.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger: Public Pensions and Our Fiscal Future –

“In The Wall Street Journal, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger challenges the State Assembly in Sacramento to bring rising pension costs under control.”

The $31 Billion Revenue Fantasy –

“The Wall Street Journal writes that those who make $200,000 a year are 3% of all taxpayers but pay 52% of all income taxes.”

Spreading Hayek, Spurning Keynes –

“Peter J. Boettke is emerging as the intellectual standard-bearer for a revival of the Austrian school of economics.”

We Just Don’t Understand –

“Americans look at the president and see a stranger, writes Peggy Noonan.”

Fiscal policy: Is economics a right-wing conspiracy? | The Economist

“I’LL admit it, I am ambivalent about whether we need more fiscal stimulus and still think it’s too early to tell how effective the last one was. I dare to voice my concerns and I get labelled “a conservative economist”. But my worries are based on my professional training—my fields were public finance and macro—more than any political agenda.”

An Updated Guide to the EconoTwitterverse – Real Time Economics – WSJ

” An updated and expanded list of econ-related tweeps, from journalists to economists.”

Peter Berkowitz: The Death of Conservatism Was Greatly Exaggerated –

“In The Wall Street Journal, Peter Berkowitz says that liberals completely misread the election of Obama as the death knell of conservatism. Instead, the president’s progressive agenda has led to a revival of conservatism.”

Charles Krauthammer – The last refuge of a liberal

“The only hope for liberals is to play the race card.”

Obama’s Illegal Stem-Cell Policy « Public Discourse

“A year and a half ago, when President Obama signed his executive order funding embryo-destructive stem-cell research, I argued in The Weekly Standard that he was perpetuating a needless stem-cell war, that his decision was “bad ethics, bad science, and bad politics.” Add “bad law” to the list.”

Gone 20 years, Stevie Ray Vaughan stands forever tall in Austin

“The Austin music community woke up on Aug. 27, 1990 20 years ago today with a piece of its soul gone.”

Assorted Links (8/26/2010)

Here’s a list of articles that I have been reading lately:

Biden’s Prediction: Inside Information or Pure Bluster? –

Stephen Dubner provides the latest from the prediction markets on the midterm elections – 75% likelihood of a Republican House, while the Dems will most likely retain Senate control (however, with a substantially diminished majority).

Dismal Tidings for Congressional Democrats – Politics – The Atlantic

Here’s the latest handicapping effort (on the upcoming midterm election) from the Atlantic’s Megan McArdle…   

Putting Teachers to the Test: The Debate Over Value-Added – The Numbers Guy – WSJ

“Value-added measures have many problems, but some researchers and advocates say these teacher-evaluation tools based on student test scores, may be better than the alternative.” 

Labor Laws Make Finding Work More Laborious — The American, A Magazine of Ideas

“Policies designed to protect workers reduce the incentive to become better-educated.”

When Economic Policy Became Social Policy — The American, A Magazine of Ideas

“The recent Treasury Department conference is further proof we will never get out of this housing mess until we are ready to face facts.” 

Why Small Businesses Aren’t Hiring — The American, A Magazine of Ideas

“In the recoveries from the previous two recessions, small businesses led job creation. This time, however, small businesses aren’t hiring. Here’s why.”

George Melloan: The Fed Can Create Money, Not Confidence –

“In the Wall Street Journal, George Melloan writes that inflation—or stagflation—remains the more serious danger than deflation.

Grace-Marie Turner: Putting the Brakes on ObamaCare –

“Grace-Marie Turner writes in The Wall Street Journal that a Republican Congress can help tee up the eventual repeal of President Obama’s unpopular health-care reform law.”

The financial crisis seen through free-market eyes

“How long will it take this time before governments understand that overreacting to the crisis and imposing disproved Keynesian remedies will dampen and delay economic recovery? The answer depends on the ability of free-market economists and commentators to communicate their narrative of the crisis.”

Who’s ObamaCare’s Daddy? –

“The Wall Street Journal writes that now even liberals are denying paternity.”

Assorted Links (8/20/2010)

Here’s a list of articles that I have been reading lately:   

FASB’s Tort Bar Gift –

“The Wall Street Journal editorial board on the accounting group’s proposal to require companies disclose the potential costs of litigation.”

Alex Epstein: Obama Follows Nixon on Oil Spill –

“In The Wall Street Journal, Alex Epstein writes that when it comes to handling oil spills, Barack Obama most resembles Richard Nixon.”

The Avastin Mugging –

“The Wall Street Journal writes that the FDA rigs the verdict against the breast cancer drug Avastin. ”

Jeremy Siegel and Jeremy Schwartz: The Great American Bond Bubble –

“Jeremy Siegel and Jeremy Schwartz write in The Wall Street Journal that today’s bond bubble resemble the tech bubble a decade ago. If 10-year interest rates, which are now 2.8%, rise to 4% as they did last spring, bondholders will suffer a capital loss more than three times the current yield. ”

Dogs for Everyone? – Freakonomics Blog –

“New research shows that, in addition to being man’s best friend, dogs improve productivity in the office.”

The Government Mortgage Subsidy, Arnold Kling | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty

“ABC News quotes PIMCO’s Bill Gross. ‘Without government guarantees, mortgage rates would be hundreds — hundreds of basis points higher, resulting in a moribund housing market for years.’… What Gross is saying might be true if you are an unqualified borrower buying a house with little or no money down. But once upon a time we had a mortgage market in which borrowers with documented income and assets took out loans for 90 percent or less of the price of the house they were buying…”

Boaz on Media Bias, Bryan Caplan | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty

“[M]ainstream (liberal) media regularly put an ideological label on conservative and libertarian organizations and interviewees, but not on liberal and leftist groups…”

Jeffrey Miron » Blog Archive » A Government Role in the Mortgage Market?

“Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, kicking off a half-day conference on housing finance, said Tuesday that it was important for the federal government to continue guaranteeing mortgage loans.”

Assorted Links (8/17/2010)

Here’s a list of articles that I have been reading lately:   

Bam’s lousy economic record: Let’s just look at the facts, shall we?

“On the campaign trail, President Obama is talking about everything except his own economic record. He attacks his predecessor – a man for whom I worked – as his advisers promise a return to Clinton-era economics.”

Op-Ed Columnist – Islam and the Two Americas –

“Two Americas, one based on religious liberty and the other on cultural assimilation, are in tension again in the debate over a mosque near ground zero.”

Gordon Crovitz: The Railroad Precedent and the Web –

“In The Wall Street Journal, Information Age columnist Gordon Crovitz notes that in its quest to impose net neutrality on the Web, the FCC bids to become the ICC of the Internet.”

The End of American Optimism –

“In The Wall Street Journal, Mortimer Zuckerman says that with a historically weak recovery and high unemployment rate, we hear people beginning to question the long-held assumption that their children will have it better than they.”

The Fed Can’t Solve Our Economic Woes –

“In The Wall Street Journal, Gerald P. O’Driscoll says liquidity isn’t in short supply, but savings are. Tax cuts to encourage investment, not easy money to encourage consumption, is the correct policy.”

Book review: Were You Born on the Wrong Continent? –

“James K. Glassman reviews Thomas Geoghegan’s Were You Born on the Wrong Continent? How the European Model Can Help You Get a Life.”

Dick Armey and Matt Kibbe: A Tea Party Manifesto –

“In the Wall Street Journal, former House majority leader Dick Armey and Matt Kibbe of FreedomWorks write that the tea party movement is not seeking a junior partnership with the Republican Party. It is aiming for a hostile takeover.”

Review & Outlook: The Next Pension Bailout –

“The Wall Street Journal editorial board says there’s growing momentum in Congress to dump union retirement burdens on taxpayers.”

Why It’s Hard to Find U.S. Population by Religion – The Numbers Guy – WSJ

“The Census Bureau doesn’t ask about religion, unlike other countries’ censuses, opening the door to controversies about the number of Muslims and other U.S. religious groups.”

Robert Costa: Can Charlie Rangel Hold On? –

“In the Wall Street Journal, Robert Costa of National Review writes that after 40 years in power, New York Rep. Charlie Rangel faces threats from the left (Adam Clayton Powell IV) and the right (Rev. Michel Faulkner).”

Peggy Noonan: We Pay Them to Be Rude to Us –

“In the service economy, all of us want to take the chute, Peggy Noonan writes in The Wall Street Journal.”

The Perils of Hipster Christianity and Why Young Evangelicals Reject Churches That Try To Be Cool -.

“Brett McCracken writes in The Wall Street Journal’s Houses of Worship column about the perils of Hipster Christianity, and why he and other young evangelicals are being driven away by churches that try to be cool.”

Economists Want Policy Makers to Back Off –

“Economists are getting more pessimistic about the strength of the recovery, but they don’t think policy makers should do anything more to support it, according to the latest Wall Street Journal forecasting survey.”

Charles Krauthammer – Sacrilege at Ground Zero

“America is a free country where you can build whatever you want — but not anywhere.”

Duke/CFO Business Outlook Survey

I received an email invitation today from CFO (Chief Financial Officer) Magazine to register for an upcoming webcast on the “Recent Findings from the Duke/CFO Magazine Global Outlook Survey” (see below).  According to the Duke/CFO Business Outlook Survey website located at, the survey is conducted quarterly, and it “…polls CFOs of both public and private companies around the globe”.

In view of all of the discussion in the media concerning how firms are flush with cash these days, it is interesting to read the summary below, which notes that according to the most recent survey, “CFOs … are concerned about the availability of credit” (italics added for emphasis). Furthermore, I can’t help but wonder whether these cash holdings also correspond to chief financial officers having deflationary expectations; in a world with falling prices, it actually does make quite a bit of sense to horde cash.  Anyway, I am looking forward to “tuning in” to this webcast to learn more!


Assorted Links (8/12/2010)

Here’s a list of articles that I have been reading lately: 

U.S. Is Bankrupt and We Don’t Even Know It: Laurence Kotlikoff

Great read – hat tip to (my former student) Jason Gould: “Let’s get real. The U.S. is bankrupt. Neither spending more nor taxing less will help the country pay its bills.”

Timothy J. Muris: Antitrust in a High-Tech World –

“Former Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, Timothy J. Muris, writes in The Wall Street Journal Europe that innovation suffers when regulators penalize businesses for their success in the marketplace.”

Allan H. Meltzer: Europe Jumps Off the Keynesian Bus –

“In The Wall Street Journal, economist Allan Meltzer notes that the economy is looking bright in Britain and Germany after those governments announced plans to reduce spending.”

Dan Henninger: Tolerance at Ground Zero –

“In The Wall Street Journal, Wonder Land columnist Dan Henninger writes that to reciprocate for the space his mosque is getting close to Ground Zero, Iman Rauf should defend Christian minorities in the Middle East.”

Unemployed Homeowners to Get $3 Billion in Aid –

“The Obama administration plans to add $2 billion to its Hardest Hit Fund and said HUD would launch a new $1 billion program to provide bridge loans to homeowners at risk for foreclosure. ”

Holman W. Jenkins, Jr.: End of the Net Neut Fetish –

“In The Wall Street Journal, Business World columnist Holman Jenkins explains what the Google-Verizon deal really means for the wireless future…?  Historians, if any are interested, will conclude that the unraveling of the net neutrality movement began when the iPhone appeared, instigating a tsunami of demand for mobile Web access.”

U.S. Study Indicates Driver Error in Many Toyota Crashes –

I can’t help but wonder what the implications of this study are for the civil litigation which is currently going on concerning “sudden acceleration incidents”, or SAI’s involving Toyota vehicles: “A government safety examination of Toyota vehicles involved in crashes attributed to sudden acceleration so far has not yielded evidence of flaws in Toyotas while pointing instead to driver error.”

Green Protectionism — The American, A Magazine of Ideas

“European policy makers and environmental groups want to restrict imports—but not in order to save the planet.”

Fouad Ajami: The Obsolescence of Barack Obama –

“In the Wall Street Journal, Fouad Ajami writes that Barack Obama’s will not be known as a transformative presidency.”

Ezra Klein – Where does the Laffer curve bend?

Interesting assortment of opinions about the relationship between marginal tax rates, government revenue, and GDP growth from leading economists and various other “experts”…

The New-Car Mating Dance – Freakonomics Blog –

Interesting “case study” by Freakonomics author Steven Levitt concerning the impact of the Internet on the market for new cars: “Our minivan is ten years old, so we went out to buy a new one this weekend. In Freakonomics and SuperFreakonomics, we write a lot about how the Internet has changed markets in which there are information asymmetries. Buying a new car gave me the chance to see first-hand these forces at work…”