Assorted Links (12/11/2011)

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

Number of the Week: Finance’s Share of Economy Continues to Grow

“8.4%: The financial sectors share of gross domestic product.”

Obama Blames the Rich

“We should endeavor to create the conditions for economic growth, transform education fundamentally, and champion the bourgeois virtues at every opportunity. But President Obama only wants shiny new wrapping paper for his same old proposals — taxes on the rich, infrastructure spending, and regulation. This familiar litany is now supposed to be the answer to complex, decades-long trends. It’s good to know he takes himself so seriously; no one else should.”

How to Save an Unproductive Day in 25 Minutes

“Not only do unproductive days detract from the success of your projects, your team and your organization; they can endanger your own well-being. Here’s how to nip a problem day in the bud.”

Barbarians on the Thames by Theodore Dalrymple

“A postmortem of the British riots…”

A Hayseed Economist Responds To The Times’ Bill Keller

The New York Times calls out market-oriented academic economists for having the audacity to question the mainstream media on the major policy issues of the day; e.g., the “need” for stimulus spending. One of my fellow co-signatories who recently endorsed a Republican plan (see which favors spending cuts, tax cuts and deregulation over so-called “stimulus” responds…

Paying Politicians for Fiscal Discipline

“In The Wall Street Journal, Insead finance professor Theo Vermaelen outlines a modest proposal to compensate legislators with the bonds their country issues.” this is a very clever “incentive compatible” compensation scheme for european politicians!

Basel’s Sovereign-Debt Bubble

“The Wall Street Journal writes that regulations help create systemic risk.” this is an excellent explanation concerning how bank regulation has unintentionally concentrated sovereign debt risks in the european banking system…

The Spirit of Enterprise

“Why are nations like Germany and the U.S. rich? It’s not primarily because they possess natural resources — many nations have those. It’s primarily because of habits, values and social capital. It’s because many people in these countries …believe in a simple moral formula: effort should lead to reward as often as possible.”

Our ‘Financial Repression’ Trap

“In The Wall Street Journal, Kevin Warsh writes that in capitals world-wide, policy makers are deliberately obscuring market prices and preventing informed judgments.”

Tax Rates, Inequality and the 1%

“In The Wall Street Journal, Alan Reynolds writes that those who obsess over income shares should welcome stock market crashes and deep recessions because such calamities invariably reduce ‘inequality.’… Once 2008-2009 are brought into the picture, the share of after-tax income of the top 1% …fell to 11.3% in 2009 from the 17.3% that the CBO reported for 2007.”

Wave Goodbye To Next-Day Mail

“The death of the USPS, tragic though it would be for employees, is not the worst that could happen, though, given e-alternatives. Americans will be able to communicate with each other with or without the first class mail. But anything organized by Benjamin Franklin deserves our respect.”

The Decadent Left

“Better a protest movement that casts itself (however quixotically) as the defender of “the 99 percent” than one that just represents Democratic interest groups.”

The higher ed bubble is bursting, so what comes next?

“Government decides to try to increase the middle class by subsidizing things that middle class people have: If middle class people go to college and own homes, then surely if more people go to college and own homes, we’ll have more middle class people. But homeownership and college aren’t causes of middle-class status, they’re markers for possessing the kinds of traits — self-discipline, the ability to defer gratification, etc… Subsidizing the markers doesn’t produce the traits; if anything, it undermines them. One might as well try to promote basketball skills by distributing expensive sneakers.”