Assorted Links (12/22/2010)

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

How Government Failure Caused the Great Recession — The American, A Magazine of Idea

“The interaction of six government policies explains the timing, severity, and global impact of the financial crisis.”

Robert Bryce: A Wind Power Boonedoggle

“In The Wall Street Journal, Robert Bryce writes that Dallas billionaire T. Boone Pickens badly misjudged the supply and price of natural gas.”

Jenkins: Next, an Aircraft Bubble?

“In The Wall Street Journal, Business World columnist Holman Jenkins writes that overexpansion by airplane makers may lead to collapse and consolidation.”

Review & Outlook: A Nation in Motion

“The Wall Street Journal writes that the Census reveals a people who are moving to pro-market red states.”

Economists are creating new methods for tracking prices.

“At some 23,000 retailers and businesses in 90 U.S. cities, hundreds of government workers find and mark down prices on very precise products. And I’m not kidding when I say “very precise.””

Christmas and Western Civilization

“The holiday season has many traditions, some ancient, some modern. Among the most recent is a paradoxical one: complaints, yearly renewed, about the public recognition of Christmas as a religious celebration. As these observances get underway (see here and here), we might do well to ask the following question: what, if anything, has Christmas contributed to Western Civilization that could earn the respect even of the secularist and hence win his acquiescence in its ongoing public acknowledgment?”

The Net Neutrality Coup

“In The Wall Street Journal, John Fund writes that the campaign to regulate the Internet was funded by a who’s who of left-liberal foundations.”

Means-Tested Mortgage Modification: Homes Saved or Income Destroyed?

“This paper uses the theories of price discrimination and optimal taxation to investigate effects of underwater mortgages on foreclosures and the incentives to earn income, and the degree to which those effects are shaped by public policy. I find that the federal government’s means-tested mortgage modification plan creates a massive implicit tax that may be significant even from a macroeconomic perspective. An alternative of modifying mortgages to maximize lender collections would also feature means tests, but with less effort distortion and perhaps fewer foreclosures. The paper also considers the consequences of a public policy that left mortgage modification to lenders, subject to a requirement that modification would not be conditioned on borrower income.”

Futures Market Forecast of a Federal Funds Rate Increase Likely to be Appropriate

“According to the federal funds futures market, the Fed will begin raising rates sometime next year—with the federal funds rate reaching about ½ percent by December 2011. In fact, rising rates next year has been the implicit forecast of the futures market for the past year…”

The Dismal State of Long-Term State and Local Government Finance

“The disturbingly large present and prospective fiscal deficits of the federal government receive much attention, and deservedly so. Yet the financial situations of many state and local government finances are also in bad shape, and in many respects they are far more difficult to solve than are the federal fiscal problems.”

A Tough Season for Believers

“Christmas is hard for everyone. But it’s particularly hard for people who actually believe in it.”

Give The People What They Want

“In my last post I argued that Blue State Liberalism, the form of liberalism that dominated most of the twentieth century in American life, doesn’t work anymore as a political philosophy. That argument gets some powerful support from the latest Gallup polls: only 21% of Americans consider themselves liberals; 40% of Americans consider themselves ‘conservative’, and 35% call themselves ‘moderate’.  Another Gallup poll reports that 49% of Americans say that the Democrats are “too liberal”; 38% think they are just right; only 10% think Democrats aren’t liberal enough.”

On Palin’s Reading List, C.S. Lewis

“Micheal Flaherty writes in The Wall Street Journal that Chronicles of Narnia author C.S. Lewis wasn’t a children’s writer, as Sarah Palin’s critics proclaim—not by a long shot.”

The Coming Iraqi Business Boom

“In The Wall Street Journal, Bartle Bull writes that foreigners can own 100% of Iraqi companies, must pay only a 15% flat tax on profits, and may take 100% of those profits home when and how they please.”

Review & Outlook: Ducking Higher Taxes

“The Wall Street Journal on Oregon’s vanishing millionaires.”

The Joy Of Stats – OpenLearn – Open University

“Join me on a fascinating journey to discover how, from crime to health, from language learning to the way science itself is conducted, the answers, the insights and yes the beauty lie in the stats.”

All the devils are here

“Latest EconTalk is Joe Nocera talking about his book (with Bethany McClean, All the Devils are Here. I learned something very important in this podcast about motives and ideology and politics. I knew it already but sometimes, a moment happens that drives something home in a way it hadn’t been solid before.”

The FCC’s Threat to Internet Freedom

“In The Wall Street Journal, Federal Communications Commissioner Robert M. McDowell says that ‘net neutrality’ sounds nice, but the Web is working fine now. New rules will inhibit investment, deter innovation and create a billable-hours bonanza for lawyers.”

Review & Outlook: A Growth Watershed?

“The Wall Street Journal writes that On taxes, spending and ObamaCare, it was a landmark week.”

Time for Santa 2.0

“In The Wall Street Journal, Brian Campbell says that Mr. Claus is fat, uncool and technologically backward. He also has a spotty record on animal and labor rights.”

Reaganomics 2.0 in the Driver’s Seat

“On a historic night this past Thursday, a new Tea Party Republican Congress completely transformed U.S. economic policy. Elections matter, and so do their ideas. Smaller government, low taxes, and less spending were key election themes in the Republican landslide. And those themes triumphed this wee”

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