Assorted Links (12/22/2011)

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

The Ron Paul Portfolio

“Ron Paul’s investment strategy isn’t merely different. It’s shockingly different …(Investment manager) Mr. Bernstein says he has never seen such an extreme bet on economic catastrophe. “This portfolio is a half-step away from a cellar-full of canned goods and nine-millimeter rounds,” he says.”

Artist Resale Royalties: Do They Help or Hurt?

“Not only does it not help them, it probably hurts them.”

In Private Enterprise We Trust

NYU law professor Richard Epstein provides a free market critique of Al Gore’s and David Blood’s “A Manifesto for Sustainable Capitalism” (cf.…

Opinion: Football Team Wins, Grades Plummet

“Glen Waddell on a new study that examines the correlation between college students’ grades and their football team’s wins.”  Here’s the paper citation: “Are Big-Time Sports a Threat to Student Achievement?” (by Jason Lindo, Isaac Swensen, and Glen Waddell), NBER Working Paper 17677. PDF available @ Here’s the paper abstract: “We consider the relationship between collegiate-football success and non-athlete student performance. We find that the team’s success significantly reduces male grades relative to female grades. This phenomenon is only present in fall quarters, which coincides with the football season. Using survey data, we find that males are more likely than females to increase alcohol consumption, decrease studying, and increase partying in response to the success of the team. Yet, females also report that their behavior is affected by athletic success, suggesting that their performance is likely impaired but that this effect is masked by the practice of grade curving.”

What Fannie and Freddie Knew

“The Wall Street Journal argues that the SEC shows how the toxic twins turbocharged the housing bubble.”

The Republicans’ Holiday Gift To President Obama

“The link (direct relationship) between longer benefits and a higher unemployment rate has long been well known to economists thanks to international experience and economic research.”

Where the Christians Are

“Conrad Hackett on the size and distribution of the world’s Christian population.” According to the study cited in this video, the total number of Christians worldwide is 2 billion. Total global population is estimated at roughly 7 billion people (cf.

The Payroll Tax-Cut Consensus: Another Keynesian Sand Castle

“It is disheartening that so few conservative economists and politicians explain in a logical and direct way why Keynesian economics has failed over the past few years.”

The Financial Crisis on Trial

“In The Wall Street Journal, Peter Wallison writes that the SEC has fingered Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, not Wall Street greed.”

Want Growth? Try Stable Tax Policy

“In The Wall Street Journal, John Taylor writes that the payroll tax cut is one of 84 tax provisions expiring this year, 10 times as many as expired in 1999.”

Occupy AARP! or, Our Mothers and Fathers Are Beyond Our Command!

This is completely unsustainable; the longer we kick the entitlement reform can down the road, the worse things get: “In 1970, spending on Social Security and Medicare was one-fifth percent of the budget (blue portion). This portion has since grown to nearly 37 percent of the budget in 2010. By 2030, half of the entire budget will be consumed by payments for senior citizens.”