Assorted Links (1/28/2012)

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

Christie to the 1%: Please Occupy New Jersey

“In The Wall Street Journal, James Freeman interviews New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who has controlled state spending and is now pushing tax reform in the hope of stealing businesses and residents from neighboring blue states like New York and Connecticut.”

The Most Important Non-Presidential Election of the Decade

“In The Wall Street Journal’s Cross Country column, Stephen Moore writes that Wisconsin’s Scott Walker is facing a recall after his labor and spending reforms—and if he loses, public unions will flex their muscles nationwide.”

State of the Union 2012

Here’s a 9 minute, 40 second point-by-point response by Cato Institute scholars of nearly every major section of President Obama’s State of the Union address, from foreign policy to the economy to education…

Obama’s Dumbest SOTU Demand: Imprison Kids in Schools Until They’re 18

Last night’s State of the Union address, like all these things, will thankfully soon be as forgotten as the next pledge to create a competitiveness council, a war against cellulite, or what-have-you. But before we forget, let me suggest the absolute dumbest idea (loosely speaking) Barack Obama float…

The president plays small ball

Quoting from this article by Charles Krauthammer, “What Obama offered the nation Tuesday night was a pudding without a theme: a jumble of disconnected initiatives, a gaggle of intrusive new agencies and a whole new generation of loopholes to further corrupt a tax code that screams out for reform. If the Republicans can’t beat that in November, they should try another line of work.”

President Obama’s decision to waste (at least) $60 B

“If Mr. Lizza’s reporting is correct, over the objection of his economic advisors President Obama replaced $60 B of “highly stimulative spending” with a slow-spending but “inspiring” $20 B for high-speed trains and $40 B in pork for his Senate Democratic allies.”

The President repeats the “blank check for autos” falsehood

The Bush-era loans were not a blank check, and not a “straightforward bailout.” President Obama was wrong when he said they were.

RomneyCare and ObamaCare

From an incentive compatibility viewpoint, it’s difficult to imagine a worse contract design, where you pay a nominal penalty for not buying insurance but then are allowed to purchase insurance upon learning that you are sick. This represents a radical departure from basic insurance principles; such an arrangement can’t possibly be financially sustainable due to the well-known and well-understood problem of adverse selection (see At least these ideas are well-known and well-understood outside the Beltway…

On Religious Freedom, Years of Battles Ahead

“In The Wall Street Journal’s Houses of Worship column, David Skeel writes that the Supreme Court recently called for accommodating religion—and the White House has already pushed back.”

Romney and the Burden of Double Taxation

Quoting from this article, “Our tax code layers taxation of dividends and capital gains (at a rate of 15%) on top of a top corporate tax rate of 35%… This double taxation brings the effective tax rate on investment income to as much as 44.75%…. after the combined top tax rates hit $100 of corporate income, $55.25 remains for the investor. And this figure doesn’t even include various state and local taxes, or the death tax.”

Blogging vs. peer review

Interesting assessment of blogging versus publishing in peer-reviewed journals by economist Austin Frakt, who holds faculty appointments at Boston University…

Sixteen Concerned Scientists: No Need to Panic About Global Warming

Quoting from this article, “A recent study of a wide variety of policy options by Yale economist William Nordhaus showed that nearly the highest benefit-to-cost ratio is achieved for a policy that allows 50 more years of economic growth unimpeded by greenhouse gas controls. This would be especially beneficial to the less-developed parts of the world that would like to share some of the same advantages of material well-being, health and life expectancy that the fully developed parts of the world enjoy now. Many other policy responses would have a negative return on investment. And it is likely that more CO2 and the modest warming that may come with it will be an overall benefit to the planet.”

ObamaCare and Religious Freedom

“In The Wall Street Journal, Archbishop Timothy Dolan writes that the federal mandate that religious organizations offer their employees insurance coverage for contraception and sterilization shows disrespect for Catholics and others who object to treating pregnancy as a disease.”

Economics for the Long Run

In The Wall Street Journal, John Taylor writes that individuals should be free to decide what to produce and consume, and their decisions should be made within a predictable policy framework based on the rule of law.

Romney’s Fair Share

“The Wall Street Journal argues the candidate’s tax return is an argument for tax reform.”

The GOP Deserves to Lose

“In The Wall Street Journal, Global View columnist Bret Stephens writes that if Republicans don’t want to lose, they shouldn’t run with losers.”

Getting up to Speed on the Financial Crisis: A One-Weekend-Reader’s Guide

Quoting from the article abstract, “All economists should be conversant with “what happened?” during the financial crisis of 2007-2009. We select and summarize 16 documents, including academic papers and reports from regulatory and international agencies. This reading list covers the key facts and mechanisms in the build-up of risk, the panics in short-term-debt markets, the policy reactions, and the real effects of the financial crisis.”

Predictions about the death of American hegemony may have been greatly exaggerated

The decline of decline???

Obama’s Sputtering “Sputnik Moment”: Last Year’s SOTU Promises Mostly Unfulfilled

On the eve of President Obama’s latest State of the Union address (SOTU), the Wash Post remembers all of yesterday’s promises in last year’s ridiculous ode to the need for our very own “Sputnik Moment”: Among the initiatives Obama promoted then that have yet to come to fruition a year later: elimina…

The War on Political Free Speech

Quoting from this article, “”Corporate personhood” is a legal fiction that allows natural people to sue and to be sued, to own and transfer property, and to carry on their affairs as a group. Corporations have rights because the people who own them have rights.”

Keystone cop-out

“U.S. President Barack Obama made a choice last week: He chose Venezuela over Canada.”

Obama’s Keystone Delay Flouts the Law

“In The Wall Street Journal, Americas columnist Mary Anastasia O’Grady writes that the president’s decision to stop the project for further environmental review contravenes legislation he signed in December.”

The New American Divide

According to Charles Murray, who is the W.H. Brady Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, the biggest threat to the American way of life is not income or wealth inequality; rather, it is cultural inequality. This article, which appears iin today’s Wall Street Journal, apparently provides a synopsis of a forthcoming (31 January) book entitled “Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960–2010” (cf. A recent related article by Mr. Murray is entitled “Belmont & Fishtown” (cf.—Fishtown-7250).

How to Think about Private Equity

“If the overall pattern is so positive—for investors, companies, and even employment—why is private equity so controversial?” Informative essay by Steve Kaplan, who is a finance professor at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and one of the foremost scholars on the topic of private equity…

How Many Jobs Did Romney Create at Bain?

“The companies Bain Capital funded under Romney have created tens of thousands of jobs using any measure.” Article #2 of 2 by U of C finance professor Steve Kaplan – well worth reading…

Environmentalism and the Leisure Class

In playing Keystone cop, President Obama protects his environmental flank for no good reason.

Leave a Reply