Assorted Links (1/8/2011)

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

Will Repeal of Obamacare Increase the Deficit?

“Rescinding the federal law to overhaul the health-care system, the first objective of House Republicans who ascended to power this week, would ratchet up the federal deficit by about $230 billion over the next decade … , according to congressional budget analysts.”

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.”

Underwater Homes Estimate of One in Four Springs Leaks

“Roughly one in four homeowners with a mortgage owe more than their home is worth, according to widely repeated estimates, but the real housing picture may not be so dismal.”

The Great Lone Star Migration

“In The Wall Street Journal, Michael Barone finds that more and more Americans are moving to low-tax, business-friendly states.”

The Taxman Cometh to Illinois—With a 75% Hike

“In The Wall Street Journal, Stephen Moore writes that Democrats in the Illinois legislature have convened an emergency session to raise income taxes before Republicans take control.”

Government Electric and its secret bailout

“No company is more cozy with government, in my opinion, than General Electric. GE spends more on lobbying than any other corporation. So many of its businesses thrive on — or even depend on — Big Government: defense systems, embryonic stem-cells, smart meters, greenhouse gas offsets, wind mills, electric car components, high-tech batteries, health-care products, and more.”

Congress’s Broken Windows

“In The Wall Street Journal, Wonder Land columnist Dan Henninger writes that the president must have power over the budget to make spending reform work.”

Charles Krauthammer – Constitutionalism

“Its wide appeal and depth make it a promising first step to a conservative future.”

Yule Blog 2010-2011: The Light at the End of the Yule Blog

“As a kid I always had some trouble understanding the business about the three wise men. Gold always comes in handy so I could see why you would bring gold to a baby — but what on earth were frankincense and myrrh and why would anybody give them to a child? I figured myrrh might have something to do with myrtle, like the crepe myrtles that bloom so beautifully in South Carolina. So maybe the myrrh was flowers for the mom?”

Buckle Up for Round 2

“The health care crackup is coming, no matter how much people wish the issue would just go away.”

retirement planning – MSN Money

“The bear market led throngs of investors to flee stocks for the relative ‘safety’ of bonds. But with the economy changing, those investments now threaten our retirement savings.”

Michigan and Rich Rodriguez: Inside the Tragicomedy

“If the tenure of Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez, who was fired Wednesday, looked chaotic to outsiders, it appeared positively crazy from the inside. Writer John U. Bacon offers his thoughts.”

Hey, Folks: Here’s a Digital Requiem for a Dearly Departed Salutation

“Across the Internet the use of dear is going the way of sealing wax. Email has come to be viewed as informal even when used as formal communication, leaving some etiquette experts appalled at the ways professional strangers address one another.”

Harsanyi: The Constitution is dead. Long live the Constitution

Hat tip to Russ Roberts… “Every patriotic fiber of my body tells me that reading the Constitution aloud at the commencement of congressional sessions is a good idea. Heck, a pop quiz might even be in order.”

Yule Blog 2010-11: Dwelling in Darkness, Seeing A Light | Via Meadia

“As the Christmas season draws to a close and the return of regular blogging looms, I’m looking back over my short life as a writer on religious matters and thinking about how writing on religion is and is not like writing on other controversial topics.”

The SEC vs. Zuckerberg

“In The Wall Street Journal, Business World columnist Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. writes about Facebook’s likely IPO.”

The States Versus ObamaCare

“In The Wall Street Journal, Florida’s Attorney General Pam Bondi writes that as new state attorneys general take office in the coming days, we should expect to see an increase in the number of states challenging the health-care law in court.”

Obamacare And Price Controls

“If they survive judicial and legislative challenges, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s big ticket health insurance reforms – the individual mandate, Medicaid expansion, creation of health insurance exchanges, and prohibition of preexisting condition exclusions and basing premiums on health status – will take effect in 2014.”

Charles Limb: Your brain on improv | Video on

“TED Talks Musician and researcher Charles Limb wondered how the brain works during musical improvisation — so he put jazz musicians and rappers in an fMRI to find out. What he and his team found has deep implications for our understanding of creativity of all kinds.”

Assessing the Housing Sector

“An examination of various housing and home construction data suggests prices will be little unchanged in 2011, an economist writes.”

What does one TRILLION dollars look like?

Hat tip to Harvard’s Greg Mankiw for pointing this website out, which illustrates (using Google Sketchup software) what $10,000, $1,000,000, $100,000,000, $1,000,000,000, and $1,000,000,000,000 looks like if you stacked up a bunch of $100 bills (which is the largest denomination US currency in circulation)…