Assorted Links (11/10/2010)

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

A rock-paper-scissors game in poker – Mind Your Decisions

“In Texas Holdem, the best starting hand is pocket aces. This hand is favored against any other starting hand, and it’s almost always a simple decision to play this hand pre-flop and play it aggressively.”

Letting the Estate Tax Die

“The federal estate tax is extreme in the size of its exemptions and its marginal tax rates and could be replaced by a tiny increase in payroll or income taxes, an economist writes.”

RealClearMarkets – The World Revolts Against Bernanke’s QEII

“The great Bernanke QE2 debate continues to heat up. In the run-up to the G-20 meetings, China, Russia, Germany, and others are all coming out against the Federal Reserve’s quantitative-easing agenda. They don’t want hot-money excess dollars to flow into their higher-yielding currencies.”

The “Gridlock” Bogeyman by Thomas Sowell

“Whenever the party that controls the White House does not also control Capitol Hill, political pundits worry that there will be “gridlock” in Washington, so that the government cannot solve the nation’s problems. Almost never is that fear based on what actually happens when there is divided government, compared to what happens when one party has a monopoly of both legislative and executive branches.””

“What Happens When a State Goes Bankrupt?

“Richard Epstein writes on NRO: David Guaspari asks: It seems clear that the political classes of New York and California will continue to misgovern their states into ruin, confident that the states are too big to fail and will be bailed out by the rest of the country. Leaving aside prudential questi”

Government Employees: Still Overpaid

“Several studies from left-leaning research groups claim that state and local government employees are underpaid. All of the studies are seriously flawed.”

Confessions of a Price Controller

“The government price controls in America’s healthcare system always push prices up. Here’s why.”

A Con Job on Jobs

“I was no fan of President Bush’s economic policies. But President Obama’s take on Bush-era job creation compared to his own is wide of the mark.”

Did Physics Kill God?

“Stephen Hawking declared that our understanding of physics proves God did not create the universe. Is he right?”

Is Economics a Science?

“It would be, if it weren’t for the people.”

Book Review: Decision Points

“Daniel Henninger reviews George W. Bush’s Decision Points.”

Stephens: Obama’s Best Speech

“In The Wall Street Journal’s Global View column, Bret Stephens writes that in India, the president defended free markets, free trade and free societies.”

Alan Reynolds: Ben Bernanke’s Impossible Dream

“In The Wall Street Journal, Alan Reynolds of the Cato Institute writes that the Fed’s reckless notion that it can simultaneously raise inflation and lower interest rates presumes bond buyers are fools. They aren’t.

Review & Outlook: A Better G-20 Agenda –

“The Wall Street Journal writes about the real source of global ‘imbalances’ and how freer trade can help.”

Kim Strassel: Bush Agonistes? Not Quite

“In The Wall Street Journal, Potomac Watch columnist Kim Strassel interviews President George W. Bush as his memoir, Decision Points, hits the stands. The former president makes the case for his ‘freedom agenda’ and defends his record on the economy and spending.”

California Is the Lindsay Lohan of States and Sacramento Shouldn’t Expect a Bailout.

“In The Wall Street Journal, lapsed Californian Allysia Finley writes that Sacramento is headed for trouble again, and it shouldn’t expect a bailout. ”

Unemployment and the Minimum Wage

“Public policies are to governments as habits are to individuals: patterns of conduct that are adopted deliberately but often retained merely out of inertia. While it is in some sense irrational to continue a behavior simply because it has become customary, it would be inconvenient, even impossible, ”

Kevin W. Warsh: The New Malaise and How to End It

“Kevin W. Marsh, a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, writes in The Wall Street Journal that given what ails the economy, additional monetary policy measures are poor substitutes for more powerful pro-growth policies.

End, Don’t Extend, Bush Tax Cuts to Start New: Kevin Hassett

“To predictable cheers for bipartisanship, President Barack Obama said he will work with Republicans to extend at least a portion of George W. Bush ‘s tax cuts before they expire at the end of this year.”

Financial Advisors: New Rules Protect Consumers

“With more than 100 professional designations for financial-services providers, it can be hard to figure out who you can trust with your with your money. New government regulations may change that.”

Republicans Throw the Gauntlet on Health Care Reform –

“After a seismic win in the midterm elections, Republicans are flexing their muscles and talking about repealing the President’s health care reform law. Everyone knows a veto would prevent repeal, but the bill could be dismantled, piece by piece.”

Book Review: Reading Obama

“Peter Berkowitz reviews James T. Kloppenberg’s Reading Obama: Dreams, Hope, and the American Political Tradition.”

The Intelligent Investor: Melchior Palyi, the Man Who Called the Financial Crisis—70 Years Early

“Jason Zweig on economist Melchior Palyi, who predicted key causes of the 2008-2009 financial crisis with precision that makes a modern reader’s hair stand on end.”

A Historian’s Perspective on Obama

“Morton Keller writes on NRO: What can be said, at this midterm point, of the Obama administration’s place in the larger context of American political history? The first thing to note is how much of it is familiar. Like his predecessors, Obama is subject to the constraints of Congress, the parties, a”

John Steele Gordon: A Short History of Midterm Elections

“In The Wall Street Journal, John Steele Gordon writes that if the past is indeed prologue, then Republicans shouldn’t get too cocky about their midterm wins.”

The U.S. Postwar Miracle | Mercatus

“We often hear that big cuts in government spending over a short time are a bad idea. The case against big cuts, typically made by Keynesian economists, is twofold. First, large cuts in government spending, with no offsetting tax cuts, would lead to a large drop in aggregate demand for goods and serv”

If You Can Bet on the Rain, Watch out for Rainmakers

“A few days ago, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange began selling futures contracts on rain. As this Marketplace report points out, the Merc – best known for selling agricultural commodities and futures.”

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