Assorted Links (5/15/2012)

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

Jonathan Haidt Answers Your Questions About Morality, Politics, and Religion

Quoting from this Freakonomics interview with University of Virginia psychology professor Jon Haidt, “Once I lost my feelings of repulsion and anger toward conservatism I discovered a whole world of ideas I had never encountered.”

Is Free Enterprise Really Based on Greed?

“In his book “The Road to Freedom”, Arthur Brooks demonstrates how earned success, true fairness and helping those in need are the foundation of the moral case for free enterprise.”  I am looking forward to the upcoming luncheon in Austin (scheduled for May 31) featuring Dr. Art Brooks, who is president of the American Enterprise Institute. If y’all are interested in attending, the registration for this event is located at…

Jerry Brown vs. Chris Christie

“In The Wall Street Journal, Main Street columnist William McGurn writes that more states are realizing that the road to fiscal hell is paved with progressive intentions.”  It’s important to say no because saying yes will very quickly take us down the same fiscal and economic road that the EU is currently traveling!…

Saying No to State Bailouts

“In The Wall Street Journal, Congressman Kevin Brady and Senator Jim DeMint write that Congress must make plain that American taxpayers will not protect states from the consequences of their economic policies.”

Europe’s Brain-Dead Right

“In The Wall Street Journal, Global View columnist Bret Stepehns writes that nobody should be surprised if voters also give Angela Merkel and David Cameron the boot at the next ballot.”

Losing Money Isn’t a Crime

“In The Wall Street Journal, Yale Law Professor Jonathan Macey writes that J.P. Morgan lost $2 billion and will learn from the experience—which regulators rarely do.”

Obama’s ‘Vampire’ Capitalists

“The Wall Street Journal says write the President a check and escape eternal damnation.”

Lifetime airline passes: Fly anywhere, any time, for life

“IN THE early 1980s, American Airlines, strapped for cash, decided to start selling passes for unlimited first-class travel for life. At the time, the passes cost $250,000 (around $600,000 in today’s dollars), with a companion ticket available for an extra $150,000 and discounts for older people. The Los Angeles Times explains what happened next…”

The Leverage Cycle: Cause and Cure for the Current Crisis

Yale economist John Geanakoplos discusses his “leverage cycle theory” in the context of the global financial crisis of 2008-????; hat tip to Greg Mankiw (…

The Tyranny of Clichés

“In “Politics and the English Language,” George Orwell says that a writer can avoid the heavy lifting of making an original or insightful argument by simply turning his pen on autopilot and fueling it with “ready made” clichés.” Interesting essay from NRO’s Jonah Goldberg on the “meaning” of “social justice”…

Read to your kids (and teach them about money)

“The latest EconTalk episode is David Owen talking about how to teach your kids about money. It’s based on his book, The First National Bank of Dad.”

‘Taxmaggedon’ Is a Real Threat

“In The Wall Street Journal, former Treasury Secretary John Snow writes that next year’s scheduled increases on dividends and capital gains will retard investment and derail the recovery.” Look’s like we may be “toast”…

The Dimon Principle

Quoting from this WSJ article, “It’s worth noting that once upon a time a $2 billion banking loss was a problem for the bank, not politicians. But in the Dodd-Frank world, the biggest banks have become more or less regulated utilities. One tragedy of J.P. Morgan’s trading loss is that it will become an excuse to give regulators even more power, when what taxpayers really want is a system that ends too-big-to-fail banks, not a plan to revive them.”

Winning the News Cycle, Losing the Race

“The Obama White House has worked to change the subject to social issues. But in a pocketbook election, it helps to focus on pocketbook anxieties.”

College Graduates Face a Long Job Hunt

“Most graduating college students will leave school this spring without a job offer despite an uptick in hiring by on-campus recruiters.”

Disabled Americans Shrink Size of U.S. Labor Force

Apparently Americans are claiming Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI, in record numbers. This helps to explain (at least in part) the shrinking labor force participation rate. See the Washington Post article “Jobs report shows effects of the incredible shrinking U.S. labor force” at; this article notes, among other things, that “If the same percentage of adults were in the workforce today as when Barack Obama took office, the unemployment rate would be 11.1 percent (rather than the current 8.2% rate, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics).”

Facebook Co-Founder Saverin Gives Up U.S. Citizenship Before IPO

Interesting Bloomberg article about how the co-founder of Facebook, Eduardo Saverin, has renounced his American citizenship, a decision apparently motivated (at least in part) by US income tax considerations. The article notes that “Besides helping cut tax bills stemming from the Facebook, the move may also help him avoid capital gains taxes on future investments since Singapore doesn’t have a capital gains tax.”…

The FDR Lesson Obama Should Follow

“In The Wall Street Journal, Arthur Herman writes that Roosevelt reluctantly unleashed industry to win World War II, thereby laying the groundwork for America’s economic recovery.”

Stimulus Spending Keeps Failing

“In The Wall Street Journal, Harvard economist Robert J. Barro asks: If austerity is so terrible, how come Germany and Sweden have done so well?”

The Great Human-Rights Reversal

“In The Wall Street Journal, Wonder Land columnist Daniel Henninger writes that the Democratic left has conceded human rights to the conservatives.”

Big &#%!ing Joker

Interesting article by NRO’s Jonah Goldberg about Vice President Joe Biden; particularly concerning the VP’s tiresome “…literally, not figuratively” rhetoric…

What the Greek Left Wants

“In The Wall Street Journal, Takis Michas writes that Greece’s left wing wants no reform, but they do want to tax the rich and blackmail Germany.”

America and the Value of ‘Earned Success’

“In The Wall Street Journal, Arthur Brooks writes that societies that enable individuals to earn rewards based on their effort and merit are happier than those that don’t.”  Quoting from this article, “All surveys show that most Americans still embrace our free enterprise system—today. The crucial test is whether the country is willing to support the hard work and policy reforms that will sustain it. The cost of failing this test will be more human than financial. In our hands is the earned success—and thus the happiness—of our children and grandchildren. The stakes in the current policy battles today are not just economic. They are moral.”

Who Shoulders the Burden?

Here’s a short video with economist Steve Horwitz that reminds us who sends the check to the government isn’t the same as who’s actually burdened by the tax; while it is true that taxed corporations write the check, the actual incidence of corporate taxation occurs in the form of lower wages for workers and higher prices for goods and services for consumers…

Chronicle of Higher Education Fires Blogger For Challenging Seriousness of Black Studies Depts.

Quoting from this article, “Over at the Chronicle of Higher Education… contributor Naomi Schaefer Riley has been fired for a post questioning the intellectual seriousness and validity of black studies departments.” The title of her post is “The Most Persuasive Case for Eliminating Black Studies? Just Read the Dissertations” (see