Assorted Links (1/21/2011)

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

Does health care reform reduce the deficit? No, but its tax increases do.

“I have a plan to reduce the budget deficit. The essence of the plan is the federal government writing me a check for $1 billion. The plan will be financed by $3 billion of tax increases. According to my back-of-the envelope calculations, giving me that $1 billion will reduce the budget deficit by $2 billion.”

The Neuroscience Of Music

“Why does music make us feel? On the one hand, music is a purely abstract art form, devoid of language or explicit ideas. The stories it tells are all subtlety and subtext. And yet, even though music says little, it still manages to touch us deep, to tickle some universal nerves.”

Fans of Fibonacci

“If you, like me, enjoy the Fibonacci numbers, you will enjoy this. And if you don’t know what they are, you’ll enjoy it anyway.”

Do We Need a Department of Homeland Security or a TSA?

“The new Republican House of Representatives took office amidst much fanfare about the US Constitution and respecting Constitutional limits on government. I have suggested that if they are really serious about it, they will start by abolishing the Transportation Security Administration.”

John Taylor: The Republicans’ Shadow Fed Chairman – BusinessWeek

“The Stanford University economist’s blistering policy critiques have inspired GOP leaders.”

Backdoor Big Government

“Americans sent a small-government message in November, but Obama isn’t listening.”

A Most Valuable Democrat

“Joe Lieberman has often put himself between a rock and a hard place. But at the end of the day, he’s been an indispensable senator.”

Charles Krauthammer – Everything starts with repeal

“The whole Obamacare bill was gamed; repeal is crucial.”

Paul Rubin: Obama’s Deregulation Initiative Won’t Work

“In The Wall Street Journal, Emory University economist Paul Rubin says that the permanent staffs at executive branch agencies relentlessly push for more, not fewer rules and controls.”

Review & Outlook: The Ruling Ad-Hocracy

“The Wall Street Journal on the collapse of Dodd-Frank’s promise of no more bailouts.”

Harsanyi: Obama isn’t fooling anyone – The Denver Post

“President Barack Obama penned a witty Wall Street Journal op-ed this week titled “Toward a 21st Century Regulatory System.””

Amy Chua Is a Wimp

“”Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” may denounce soft American-style parenting, but its author shelters her children from the truly arduous experiences necessary to achieve.”

Review & Outlook: Obama’s Rules Revelation

“The Wall Street Journal asks if the era of big regulation is really over.”

Review & Outlook: The Anti-Illinois

“The Wall Street Journal writes that Georgia debates a tax reform with lower rates.”

Herbert Pardes: The Coming Doctor Shortage

“In The Wall Street Journal, Dr. Herbert Pardes of New York-Presbyterian Hospital writes that we can’t insure 32 million more people and cut funding to train doctors by $60 billion.”

Dick Armey and Matt Kibbe: What Congress Should Cut

“In The Wall Street Journal, Dick Armey and Matt Kibbe of FreedomWorks identify $3 trillion in federal spending cuts over the next decade.”

Review & Outlook: The Repeal Vote

“The Wall Street Journal on an historic repudiation of an entitlement that is only 10 months old.”

Midday rail service may attract more riders, but at what cost?

“On Tuesday, Capital Metro will inaugurate all-day, weekday MetroRail service. The question is, will it be a success? And the answer will be, almost certainly, that we won’t know.”

The numbers cited in this Austin American Statesman article imply a “fare recovery ratio”, or FRR of 2.9% for light rail. FRR measures the % of the transit system’s operating costs actually paid by riders (as opposed to taxpayers). Putting Cap Metro’s 2.9% light rail FRR into perspective, the average FRR for US public transit systems is roughly 40%. Pre-light rail, Capital Metro’s FRR was 9% (see

Limiting free speech isn’t the answer 

“In the aftermath of the January 8 atrocity in Arizona, in which alleged shooter Jared Loughner killed six people and wounded 13, politicians and pundits have blamed inflammatory language or symbols used by certain political groups — read Sarah Palin and the Tea Party — for Loughner’s acts.”

How Many People Suffer From Mental Illness? – The Numbers Guy – WSJ

“Producing a reliable count vexes researchers.”

Higher Investment Best Way to Reduce Unemployment, Recent Experience Shows

“Some economists argue that the efforts now underway to reduce government spending as a share of GDP will have adverse effects on unemployment. This is not what the data show.”

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