Assorted Links (5/16/2011)

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

Why the Job Market Feels So Dismal

“In The Wall Street Journal, Stanford’s Edward P. Lazear writes that the number of hires is the same today as it was when we were shedding jobs at record rates.”

Two Texas professors on why academic research matters

This article, which appeared in Sunday’s Austin American Statesman, is an important reading for those of us who have been watching the ongoing debate in Texas questioning the value and usefulness of academic research!

Dave Ramsey’s 12% Solution

“Dave Ramsey has helped thousands get out of debt, but his investment advice is sometimes questionable.”

The Greatest Real-Estate Idea Never Sold

“With home prices in what seems like an endless fall, why is it so fiendishly difficult to protect yourself against the risk of a further drop?”

What If the U.S. Treasury Defaults?

“In The Wall Street Journal, legendary investor Stanley Druckenmiller says that ‘People aren’t going to wonder whether 20 years ago we delayed an interest payment for six days. They’re going to wonder whether we got our house in order.’”

Freakonomics » The Way We Think About Risk is Risky

“From the Soapbox Science blog on, here’s an interesting piece by risk consultant David Ropiek on the ways in which we perceive and react to risk. His basic thesis is that our interpretation of risk is almost always subjective rather than fact-based, which gets us into trouble.”

Laffer and Moore: Boeing and the Union Berlin Wall

“Between 2000 and 2008, 4.8 million Americans moved from forced union states to right-to-work states—that’s one person every minute of every day.”

President Obama, Completely Wrong on Reason for High Unemployment

“President Obama blames high unemployment rate on ‘huge layoffs of government workers’ at federal, state and local levels.” This is completely wrong.”

CARPE DIEM: Oil Industry Profit Margin Ranks #114 out 215

“The table below shows industry rankings for net profit margin (profits / sales) of the top 114 industries out of 215 total industries during the most recent quarter, from Yahoo!Finance.”

Henninger: Killing bin Laden

“Barack Obama just got his post-doctoral degree in fighting the war on terror.”

The Millionaire Retirees Next Door

“Typical retired couples will collect $1 million or more in Social Security and Medicare. This is more than they paid in, and the cost will fall on today’s workers.”

Grade Massaging 

Here’s some interesting end-of semester commentary on the widespread academic practice of “grade massaging”…

How to Turn 100 Trillion Dollars Into Five and Feel Good About It

“A 100-trillion-dollar bill, it turns out, is worth about $5. That’s the going rate for Zimbabwe’s highest denomination note, the biggest ever produced for legal tender.”

Protecting Your Personal Information » Insurance Industry Blog

“Last week it was a hacker attack at Sony that left the personal data of 100 million customers exposed, today it’s an accidental leak at Facebook that may have given third parties, in particular advertisers, access to user profiles.”

From Chomsky to bin Laden

“In The Wall Street Journal’s Global View column, Bret Stephens writes that the professor dons the militant’s cap—and it fits.”

Internet Data Caps Cometh

Holman Jenkins provides one of the better explanations that I have seen concerning the unsound economics of net neutrality and business models based upon this principle. A generation ago, Milton Friedman published a book by the title “There’s No Such Thing as a Free Lunch”; the principle of “TINSTAAFL” is important because it reminds us that it isn’t possible in the real world to get “something for nothing”.

Mississippi River flooding

Here’s an amazing photo essay from the Boston Globe’s “The Big Picture” concerning the Great Flood of 2011…

Dirty Little Secrets

“What exactly is an “A”?” At the end of every semester, I (as well as many, if not most of my colleagues) find myself wrestling with many of the same questions asked by the author of this posting.

How the $8,000 Tax Credit Cost Home Buyers $15,000

Interesting article on the “unintended” consequences of the now expired $8,000 first-time home buyers federal tax credit…

J.A. Gould World: Rob Arnott on GDP

A tip of the hat to my former student, Jason Gould, for pointing to Rob Arnot’s essay explaining how debt-driven “improvement” in GDP is not only unsustainable in the long run; it also does not necessarily imply “improvement” in social welfare or prosperity.

PIMCO raises bet against U.S. government debt

“NEW YORK (Reuters) – PIMCO’s Bill Gross, the manager of the world’s largest bond fund, raised his bet against U.S. government-related debt in April to 4 percent from 3 percent…”

Yes, the Earth Will Have Ample Resources for 10 Billion People

“World population grew by almost 300% during the twentieth century; over the same time period, world per capita incomes grew by about 400%. This association of sizable increases in world population with large increases in per capita incomes should continue to the end of this century.”


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