Assorted Links (5/3/2011)

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

Is the ebook killing off its traditional paper based alternative?

“Is the ebook killing off its traditional paper based alternative?… The Publishers Association have released new figures which explain how much damage ebooks are doing to their paper based alternatives.”

Ten Thousand Commandments: How Much Regulation Is Enough?

“President Barack Obama’s recent federal budget proposal for fiscal year 2012 sought $3.729 trillion in discretionary, entitlement and interest spending.”

The Higher Education Bubble

Hat tip to Mark Perry (see – a time series graph comparing the College Tuition Consumer Price Index (CPI) vs. US Home Prices vs. the overall CPI 1978-2010 – this really puts the so-called higher education bubble into perspective!

The Business School Tuition Bubble – Harvard Business Review

This article describes the dynamics of an academic “race to the bottom” in which “…the low end of the student distribution gets fatter as less qualified students are admitted… professors of required courses struggle to get everyone through by adjusting the material downward, everyone learns less, and over time the knowledge value of the MBA is significantly diminished.”

The Evidence Is In—School Vouchers Work

In The Wall Street Journal, Jason L. Riley writes that President Obama’s opposition to school vouchers has to do with Democratic politics, not the available evidence on whether they improve outcomes for disadvantaged kids.

Notable & Quotable

“Daniel Henninger on watching the twin towers fall to the ground.

Osama Bin Laden, Weak Horse

“Expelled from Afghanistan, rejected in Iraq, he died as a new Arab order that has nothing to do with jihad is struggling to be born.”

School Choice Will Increase Urban Diversity

“In The Wall Street Journal, John Norquist, the former Democratic mayor of Milwaukee, says that school choice will lead to many middle-class parents raising their families in big cities.”

25 Best Things to do in Austin, Texas

“The 25 best things to do in Austin, Texas! There’s plenty of things to do in Austin, Texas, but these are the 25 best!”

Osama bin Laden killed

“Osama bin Laden is dead. He was 54. The leader of the Al Qaeda terrorist network had eluded capture for a decade since the attacks on September 11, 2001. U.S. forces and CIA operatives killed him in a firefight in his hideout compound in the city of Abbotabad, Pakistan. He was buried at sea.”

OK, Let’s Decline

“A recent report in the New Yorker magazine suggested that the Obama’s administration’s weird sort of/sort of not foreign policy is now gleefully self-described as “leading from behind”.”

California Prison Academy—Better Than a Harvard Degree

“In The Wall Street Journal, Allysia Finley writes that if you want to earn big bucks and retire young, you’re better off becoming a prison guard in California than going to the Ivy League.”

Obama’s lax dollar is to blame for oil’s spike, not bankers

“If President Obama is to be believed, “speculators” are responsible for the rise in oil prices that threatens the global recovery. However, for the real drivers of the oil price, the President needs to look closer to home.”

The Unbroken Window » Blog Archive » Workers of the World Seemed to Have United!

In commemoration of May day, a fascinating essay by Milton Friedman (with updates by J.P. Arendt ( and Michael Rizzo ( showing how “every single piece of (the Socialist Party) 1928 Presidential Political Platform has been enacted…” in the United States.

How Much Did Royal Wedding of Kate and William Cost Britain?

“Estimates in the media range as high as $50 billion, but the real impact is likely to be far lower, economists say.”

Ten Hayekian Insights for Trying Economic Times

“The economist Friedrich Hayek attempted in his writings to spotlight the interlocking set of ideas—constructivist rationalism, scientism, socialism, “the engineering mentality”—that was leading the West down what he famously called the road to serfdom and to propose in its place a return to a revitalized form of classical liberalism.”

The Budget Battle: WWHD? (What Would Hayek Do?) AK? (And Keynes?)

“The Budget Battle: WWHD? (What Would Hayek Do?) AK? (And Keynes?)”

A Tale Of Two Recessions And Two Presidents

“Growth: It’s been nearly two full years since the recession officially ended, and the economy is still struggling to get off the ground.”

Why the 2025 Budget Matters Today

University of Chicago finance professor John Cochrane writes that “Governments with no plausible plan to meet their obligations risk a run by investors. It’s happened abroad, and it can happen here.”  This article provides an important framework for understanding the interplay between global financial markets and political economy!

Time to Choose –

“America needs to act fast to get spending and debt under control, Pete du Pont argues.”

Review & Outlook: The Keynesian Growth Discount –

“The Wall Street Journal says the results of our three-year economic experiment are in.”

Make Him a Saint –

“How the Polish pope worked a political miracle.”

The Lady Tasting Tea: How Statistics Revolutionized Science in the Twentieth Century

Hat tip to my Baylor colleague, Allen Seward, for pointing this remarkable book out to me!

The Gas Price Freakout

“Ready-made energy incoherence as a gallon climbs towards $4.”

Obama’s Awful ’70s Show on Gas Prices Echoes Jimmy Carter

“Gas prices are heading toward $5, single-family home sales are at a low—and with President Obama ignoring his base like Jimmy Carter did, he could end up being another one-term president, Eric Alterman writes.”

I recall that during the 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama warned that a John McCain presidency would be a 3rd Bush term. In response, Sen. McCain replied that an Obama presidency would be a 2nd Carter term. I also remember thinking at the time that McCain’s Carter analogy was in all likelihood completely lost on nearly all voters below the age of 35…

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