Assorted Links (6/2/2011)

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

Faith and the markets

Some interesting (and clever) analogies between faith and finance from The Economist…

In Praise of Debt Limit ‘Chicken’

Stanford University economist John Taylor notes that yesterday’s debt limit statement (calling for tying any increase in the debt limit to spending reform) is all about solving the so-called “time inconsistency” problem (cf. The “trick” is to ensure that policies implemented today can be credibly expected to result later in a more stable and financially sustainable fiscal environment.

Why You Still Shouldn’t Worry About Cellphones And Cancer

“The news that an arm of the World Health Organization said cellphones might cause cancer seems to have caused a World Wide Web freakout. But what kind of risks are we talking about? The reality is calming.”

Afghanistan, May 2011

Amazing photo essay from the Boston Globe’s “Big Picture” website…

The Death of the American Dream I

“The news from the housing market this week is bad.  Really bad.  House prices today are lower in most of the country than they were in the dismal month of April 2009; we are now in the second dip of the double dip housing downturn.”

Obama’s Cloud Economy

“In The Wall Street Journal’s Wonder Land column, Daniel Henninger writes that the economy is flying without instruments because of the White House’s policy choices.”

Future Oil Supplies Can Lower Prices Today

“In The Wall Street Journal, Lucian Pugliaresi of the Energy Policy Research Foundation writes that, as the 1970s oil shocks taught us, prices are heavily influenced by expectations.

The U.S. Postal Service Nears Collapse

“Delivery of first-class mail is falling at a staggering rate. Facing insolvency, can the USPS reinvent itself like European services have—or will it implode?”

66% Worry Government Will Run Out of Money

Quoting from this article: “”Sixty-two percent (62%) of Adults think most politicians want the government to have more power and money than it does today, while 18% think politicians want less power and money… By comparison, just 18% feel that most Americans want the government to have more power and money than it does today. A strong majority (64%) feel Americans want the government to have less power and money.”

A Look at Case-Shiller, by Metro Area (May Update)

“S&P/Case-Shiller home-price data indicated a clear double-dip for housing, as a tax-credit-induced bump last year was erased and national prices fell back to mid-2002 levels.”

Boehner Cites Support of Economists in Debt Limit Fight

For what it’s worth, I (along with 149 of my closest economist friends) signed the statement referenced in this article. I worry that runaway spending and indebtedness may continue relatively unabated even if this gets legislatively implemented. David Malpass’s ideas (about linking debt/spending to GDP; see may provide a more credible long-run strategy for preventing financial Armageddon…

The U.N. Can’t Deliver a Palestinian State

“Fouad Ajami writes in The Wall Street Journal that the 1947 U.N. General Assembly vote that created Israel was the culmination of decades of hard work on the ground.”

House Prices Have Now Fallen Farther Than They Did In The Great Depression

“This report is the most widely-followed home price index, equally quoted in bank boardrooms, Treasury Department back rooms, and Congressional Committees.”

11 Things You Should Know About The U.S. Postal Service Before It Goes Bankrupt

“Facing a projected $6.4 billion loss this year, the Postal Service is expected to hit its own debt ceiling by the end of this fiscal year on Sept. 30.”

Sociology and Other ‘Meathead’ Majors

“In The Wall Street Journal, Harvard’s Harvey Mansfield writes that Archie Bunker was right to be skeptical of his son-in-law’s opinions.”

It’s Not About You

“America needs to adjust its message to college graduates.”

Leave a Reply