Assorted Links (10/26/2010)

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

No Second Thoughts

“In spite of the polls, the Democrats are quite sure somebody else is to blame.”

Study: Homeowners Rates Still Inadequate » Insurance Industry Blog

“The majority of U.S. homeowners insurance rate filings approved by regulators still do not adequately recognize the cost of capital needed to protect policyholders in the case of a large catastrophic event, according to an annual review by Aon Benfield Analytics.”

What’s Your Econ 101 Professor Worth?

“The Texas A&M University system has embarked on a new accountability program. For every department – indeed, for every professor – revenue generated and cost incurred are calculated; and profit – the difference – is reported. Each professor is presumably supposed to have a marginal revenue product above his/her compensation.”

Cash for Clunkers in a Macro Context

“Using the Mian-Sufi results, which are based on a comparison of different regions of the United States, I estimated the amount by which total personal consumption expenditures first increased as people were encouraged to trade in their clunker and purchase new cars, and then declined because many of the trade-ins were simply brought forward.”

Detecting Political Momentum Is Harder Than You Think

“Over at, Nate Silver has a post attempting to debunk the idea that there is momentum in political campaigns. But I think he’s wrong. And his post provides a fun opportunity for a simple statistics lesson on the difficulty of discovering momentum.”

Tim Geithner’s Global Central Planning

“In The Wall Street Journal, University of Chicago Professor John Cochrane criticizes the public letter by U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, who called for the IMF to manipulate exchange rates in order to rebalance the world economy.”

Can the U.S. Avoid Europe’s Mess?

“In Britain, where politics is more polite but the problems are perhaps just as dire, the government is proposing budget cuts on a scale not seen for nearly a century.”

The Challenge of Forecasting the 2010 House of Representatives Election

“Less than two weeks before the election, there remain major divisions between forecasters about the outcome of the House races, reflecting the challenge of predicting politics.”

Google Uses Loopholes to Cut Taxes by $3.1 Billion – Video

“Google Inc. cut its taxes by $3.1 billion in the last three years using a technique that moves most of its foreign profits through Ireland and the Netherlands to Bermuda. Google’s income shifting helped reduce its overseas tax rate to 2.4 percent, the lowest of the top five U.S. technology companies.”

How to Privatize the Mortgage Market –

“In The Wall Street Journal, Dwight Jaffee of the University of California, Berkeley, writes that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should be phased out and the mortgage industry privatized.”

The Rules Of the Game and Economic Recovery

Amity Shlaes, who is the author of “The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression” provides a cautionary tale concerning the strong parallels which exist between FDR’s Great Depression era policy initiatives and Obama’s Great Recession policy initiatives…

Putting a Price on Professors

“Should public universities care how much their faculty contribute to the bottom line?” I think the answer is probably yes, but not based upon the kind of myopic “analysis” that Texas A&M purports to do. The methodology seems to stack the deck in favor of adjunct faculty who teach required freshman and sophomore courses with large enrollments. If cost per student is used as the primary criterion, then why not do away with academic research entirely and just have a cadre of contract lecturers handling the “burden” of teaching undergraduates?

I doubt whether many graduate degree programs could possibly survive the Aggies’ cost-benefit analysis; what’s needed is some type of cost-benefit analysis which provides an unbiased assessment of the value added by “intangibles” such as the advancement of science and enhancement of the institution’s overall academic reputation…

Commentary: The Inequality Delusion

“Americans think the U.S. has far more income equality than it has. They want it to be even fairer. Yet they hate the policies that would make it so.”

Can Yoga Be Christian?

The Chris Christie Clones

“In The Wall Street Journal, Potomac Watch columnist Kimberley A. Strassel writes that across the country, candidates are taking up the government-reform mantra embodied by New Jersey’s new governor.”

Tea Party to the Rescue

“Peggy Noonan writes in The Wall Street Journal on how the GOP was saved from Bush and the establishment.”

NPR’s Taxpayer-Funded Intolerance

“In The Wall Street Journal, Emilio Karim Dabul writes that all Americans, particularly those of Arab or Muslim descent, should protest the firing of Juan Williams.”

Google to Post the Dead Sea Scrolls – Copyright Infringement Claims Unlikely

“Google will not be accused of copyright infringement by posting the Dead Sea Scrolls unlike the current litigation about Google’s Books Library.”

Charles Krauthammer – Obama Underappreciation Syndrome

“Democrats have anxiety-induced Obama Underappreciation Syndrome.”

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