Assorted Links (11/24/2010)

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

The Other Taxes: Who Pays Them?

“Much of the income of lower-income Americans is needed to pay sales, property and payroll taxes, although they may pay little income tax, an economist writes.”

Doing the Math on a Groupon Deal

“Is Groupon the worst marketing ever? Or is it the best marketing ever? Here’s how to tell.”

How to Improve the Financial-Reform Law by Oliver Hart, Luigi Zingales, City Journal 23 November 201

“A brief proposal to protect the system–without stifling innovation.”

The Desolate Wilderness –

“The Wall Street Journal relates the chronicles of the first Thanksgiving, according to Plymouth colony governor William Bradford.”

And the Fair Land –

“For all our social discord we yet remain the longest enduring society of free men governing themselves without benefit of kings or dictators.”

Market Failure Cannot Be Resolved Without Regulation – Regulating Wall Street

“I am all for free markets and not mucking them up with government intervention. But the economic theory of regulation tells us that if there is a market failure, it cannot be resolved privately. The public sector must get involved.”

The Element of Surprise in Middle-School Football

“No, this trick won’t work in the NFL, but Driscoll Middle School in Corpus Christi, Tex., pulled it off brilliantly.”

Deficit Reduction Plan Is Realistic – Economic View

“The Bowles-Simpson proposal to cut the deficit by eliminating tax expenditures looks far better than the status quo.”

Quick puzzle: how long to get to heaven? – Mind Your Decisions

Here’s a quiz on queuing theory for my more numerate friends (you know who you are :-)): “A person dies and arrives at the gates to heaven. There are three identical doors: one of them leads to heaven, another leads to a 1-day stay in limbo, and then back to the gate, and the other leads to a 2-day stay in limbo, and then back to the gate.  Every time the person is back at the gate, the three doors are reshuffled. How long, on the average, will it take the person to reach heaven?”

Stop, Thief!

“Taxes have a cost — and not just for the people paying them, an economist writes.”

The Conflicting Charter-School Numbers – The Numbers Guy

“Are charter schools underperforming or outperforming conventional public schools? Studies with various methods produce very different results.”

The Long Recall: An Aggregator of the Civil War

American Interest is hosting a very interesting website called “The Long Recall”, which is a “…daily aggregator of Civil War news as readers would have encountered it 150 years ago”. During this Thanksgiving week, it’s worthwhile to “…take the time to look back on the state of our country 150 years ago and give thanks for the dedication, heroism and clarity of thought that somehow brought us through that storm.”

Wharton’s interview question leak raises ethical issues

“Several MBA admissions consultants recently gained access to Wharton’s updated interview questions, a stark reminder that the business schools admissions process is not a level playing field.”

RealClearMarkets – Criminalizing the Act Of Doing Business

“Successfully demonizing business, making it ripe for manipulation and plunder, takes a well planned effort sustained across multiple fronts.”

The Return of China

“After 500 years of Western predominance, Niall Ferguson argues, the world is tilting back to the East.”

State Tests Limits of Spending Cuts

“As states nationwide confront budget shortfalls, the tenure of Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour offers a lesson about how governing has a way of clouding the clearest of intentions.”

Higher Taxes Won’t Reduce the Deficit

“In The Wall Street Journal, Stephen Moore and Richard Vedder point out that historically, when Congress gets more revenue, the politicians spend it.”

The ‘Build America’ Debt Bomb

“In The Wall Street Journal, Steve Malanga says the lame duck Congress should not extend the federal Build America Bonds, which have allowed states to continue to borrow imprudently.”  Mr. Malanga explains the very opaque fashion in which the federal government effectively subsidizes and “enables” financially profligate states like California to continue to be financially profligate. His observation that “Illinois was at greater risk of default than Iraq” (based upon current pricing of credit default swaps) certainly qualifies as this week’s sign of the economic apocalypse!