Assorted Links (12/15/2010)

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

How Economics Saved Christmas

“Reflect on good economics and property rights.”

The Dangerous Allure of Behavioral Economics: The Relationship between Physical and Financial Products

“Few academic publications have had as much direct public influence on the law as the 2008 article by my NYU colleague Oren Bar-Gill and then Harvard Law Professor Elizabeth Warren. In “Making Credit Safer,” they seek to combine two strands of academic thought in support of one great cause—more regulation of financial markets.”

ObamaCare is Now on the Ropes

“The decision of Judge Henry Hudson in Virginia v. Sebelius is no bird of passage that will easily be pushed aside as the case winds its way up to its inevitable disposition in the United States Supreme Court. The United States gave the case its best shot, and it is not likely that it will come up with a new set of arguments that will strengthen its hand in subsequent litigation.”

Don’t Tweak ObamaCare; Repeal It

“U.S. District Court Judge Henry Hudson of Virginia has ruled on the individual mandate forcing individuals to purchase insurance products from a private (insurance) company. The mandate to purchase insurance “exceeds the constitutional boundaries of congressional power” by violating the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution, he stated.”

Judicial Hellholes 2010/2011

“The ninth annual report names civil courts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; California’s Los Angeles and Humboldt counties; West Virginia; South Florida; Cook County, Illinois; and Clark County, Nevada as some of the worst in the nation.”

‘Temporary’ Tax Code Puts U.S. in a Lasting Bind

“The U.S. tax code is being slowly turned into a temporary patchwork of provisions that need to be dealt with every year or two, depriving individuals and businesses of the predictability needed to make long-range plans.” Quoting from – “The permanent income hypothesis… states that the choices made by consumers regarding their consumption patterns are determined not by current income but by their… longer-term income… expectations. The key conclusion of this theory is that transitory, short-term changes in income have little effect on consumer spending behavior.”

Why Investors Need China in Their Portfolios

“In The Wall Street Journal, Princeton University Economics Professor Burton G. Malkiel writes that China represents more than 10% of the world’s GDP, adjusted for purchasing power, but few investors have anywhere near a 10% China allocation.”

Charles Krauthammer – Swindle of the year

“Democrats are clueless if they don’t view Obama’s tax cut deal as a win.”

NY Times Warning: Blue State Armageddon On The Way

“The global financial crisis could be heading to a blue state near you: that is the latest grim news from the New York Times: “Mounting Debts by States Stoke Fears of Crisis.” Normally a cheerleader for the free spending (in bluespeak, compassionate) policies of the public sector union dominated, high tax, high cost states like California, Illinois and New York, the Times now warns that fiscal ruin could be at hand.”

The Crisis of the American Intellectual

“America has everything it needs for success in the twenty-first century with one exception: a critical mass of thinkers, analysts and policy entrepreneurs who can help unleash the creative potential of the American people and build the new government and policy structures that will facilitate a new wave of private-sector led growth.”

Government Unions vs. Taxpayers

“In The Wall Street Journal, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty says that the moral case for unions—protecting working families from exploitation—does not apply to public employment.”

Early Studies of Wi-Fi’s Effects on Tree Health Aren’t Definitive

“Reports of the death of trees because of wireless networks have been greatly exaggerated.”

Against Overlordship

“In his lead essay, Daniel B. Klein introduces us to the idea of overlordship – the premise, implicit in modern social democracy, that the state is the ultimate owner of all property rights in society. Under this theory, the state provisionally delegates any rights that individuals may have.”

What’s Wrong with Keynes

“This is a very long post. It’s the latest version of my thoughts on Keynesian stimulus, the idea that spending creates prosperity or supports our economy or rescues it from the doldrums.”

Doctors Ration Health Care in Pursuit of High Reimbursements

“Doctors are already rationing health care and are likely to further discriminate based on whether a patient has private insurance, Medicare or Medicaid.”

Socialism and Solidarity

“When the financial crisis began spreading chaos throughout the economies of North America and Europe in the last quarter of 2008, sales of Karl Marx’s Das Capital reportedly soared throughout Western Europe. It’s unlikely this reflected a revival of genuine interest in Communist alternatives to market economies, less than twenty years after totalitarian socialism’s collapse in Eastern Europe.”

The Bush Tax Cuts Never Went Far Enough

“Thomas F. Cooley and Lee E. Ohanian write in the The Wall Street Journal that a permanent reduction in capital taxes would increase productivity and wages. Postwar Britain shows how higher capital tax rates reduce investment and damage economic growth.”

WikiLeaks and the Cloud Wars

“In The Wall Street Journal, Business World columnist Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. writes that the Chinese hacking on Google and the ongoing WikiLeaks episode might make companies think twice before trusting the cloud.”

The Grapes of Wrath Democrats

“Daniel Henninger writes in The Wall Street Journal that for Obama and the Democrats, the new economic royalists are anyone with a taxable income over $200,000.”

The Obama Stimulus Impact? Zero

“In The Wall Street Journal, John F. Cogan and John B. Taylor write that liberals are still arguing that the federal spending stimulus wasn’t large enough. How many multiples of nothing—its result according to new evidence—would they like?”

The Economic Incompetence Of The Political Class –

“If politicians don’t get serious about fiscal profligacy, markets will.”

Folding the Fed

“If you are building a fence and you try using a hammer rather than a shovel to dig the postholes, progress will be slow if not nonexistent. The Federal Reserve is supposed to maintain the value of the currency and keep the banking system sound and stable – which it has not done (more on that below).”

Social Science Palooza

“Humans are strange, complicated creatures. Just look at some of the recent reports on behavioral research.”

China Joins the Axis of Evil

“In The Wall Street Journal, Global View columnist Bret Stephens writes that Pyongyang’s nuclear program would have been impossible without Beijing.”

Tax Extension Deal A Promising Sign for Future Reform | e21 – Economic Policies for the 21st Century

“As the 111th Congress draws to a close, there are a number of pressing questions that remain unresolved. Without legislative action, the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts will expire, the AMT will raise taxes on as many as 28 million households, the tax provisions of the ARRA fiscal stimulus law will expire, including the increase in the EITC and the Child Tax Credit and the Making Work Pay tax credit targeted at low to moderate income households, as will the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program.”

Finding a Post-Crash Economic Model

“In the wake of a financial crisis that economic models failed to capture, economists are beginning to question the intellectual foundations on which the models are built. Researchers, some of whom spent years on the academic margins, are offering up a barrage of ideas.”

On the Tax Burden

“E.J. Dionne laments the failure of what he describes as a “proposal [that] could have shifted the tax burden away from middle-income taxpayers toward the wealthy.” The reality is that E.J. Dionne’s shift in the tax burden regularly occurs due the progressive nature of marginal tax rates. According to, the top 0.1% of taxpayers by income pay 17.4% of federal income taxes (FIT), the top 1% (income of $328,049 or more) pay 36.9% of FIT, the top 5% (income of $1…37,056 or more) pay 57.1% of FIT, and the bottom 50% (income of $30,122 or less) pay 3.3% of FIT…

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