Assorted Links (5/20/2012)

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

Number of Those Working Past 65 Is at a Record High

“While the number of workers over the traditional retirement age has risen, those 55 and under are doing worse.” Signs of the times – people who have jobs are not retiring, and people who don’t have jobs (the so-called “chronically unemployed”) are claiming Social Security Disability Insurance at a historically unprecedented rate (see…

A Little Bit Indian

“Why Elizabeth Warren’s embarrassment is a scandal for academia.”

Banks Need More Capital, Not More Rules

“In The Wall Street Journal, Allan Meltzer writes that the U.S. economy can’t grow unless investors are free to finance risky assets.” Also see Mark Steckbeck’s posting entitled “The Solution to Too-Big-To-Fail is Not Bailing Out Big Banks” (@ which follows up Professor Meltzer’s WSJ essay with a simple thought experiment illustrating the self-regulating incentive effects associated with increasing bank capital requirements.

Notable & Quotable

“Historian Lord Acton on power and moral judgment, 1887—including the coinage that absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

What’s at Stake in the Wisconsin Recall Election

“In The Wall Street Journal’s Cross Country column, Christopher M. Toner writes that what unions really want is legal standing to sue employers and prevent any changes—in wages, hours or other conditions of employment—unwanted by their members.”  Intrade currently puts the odds of Governor Scott Walker winning the upcoming recall election at nearly 90% – see

The Weekend Interview with Abigail Thernstrom: The Good News About Race in America

“In The Wall Street Journal, Jason Riley interviews Civil Rights Commission co-chairwoman Abigail Thernstrom, who says the 1965 Voting Rights Act has been a huge success. So why are black activists keen to press the discrimination button on issues like voter ID?”

The Saverin Savonarolas

“In The Wall Street Journal, Business World columnist Holman Jenkins writes about the Facebook founder who encountered America’s ‘content-free outrage’ machine when he renounced his citizenship.”

Is Austerity to Blame for Europe’s Economic Woes?

“From Nobel laureate Paul Krugman to the free-market-friendly Economist magazine to former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, all sorts of experts are charging that financial austerity measures are killing the great economies of Europe.”  These “experts” “…criticize cutting government spending in a weak economy ignore academic research showing that significant spending cuts, structural reforms to entitlements, and loosening labor regulations are proven ways to reduce debt loads and get countries moving again.”  

Destroying Latin America: Journalist Mary O’Grady on Populism, Protectionism, and Prohibition

“The inequality produced by liberty: This, for the socialist, is the soft underbelly of pro-market rationale and the best place to attack,” says Mary O’Grady, who covers Latin America for the Wall Street Journal. She goes on to say (and I agree), that the socialist argument against inequality “… is the intellectual stream that prevails in Latin America, and it’s the reason the region can not hope to reach its potential any time soon.” Hat tip to my friend Spencer Case for pointing this video out to me.

6 cups a day? Coffee lovers less likely to die, study finds

“Coffee drinkers who worry about the jolt of java it takes to get them going in the morning might just as well relax and pour another cup. That’s according to the largest-ever analysis of the link between coffee consumption and mortality, which suggests that latte lovers had a lower risk of death during the study period.”

Notable & Quotable

“Actor Will Smith on French TV discussing new President Francois Hollande’s proposal to tax high-earners at 75%.”  Hat tip to my Baylor colleague Dave VanHoose for pointing this article out to me…

Tom Frost: The Big Danger With Big Banks

“In The Wall Street Journal, Tom C. Frost writes that taxpayer safety nets such as the FDIC should be available only to banks that are in the loan business, not those in the investment business.”  Mr. Frost basically calls for an end to TBTF (too big to fail); quoting from the article, “…by protecting people from the consequences of their errors, the bailouts raised the risk that the same errors will be made in the future.” QED!

Obama walks fine line in bashing Romney, courting Wall Street

“For President Barack Obama’sre-election team, it’s sort of like threading a needle.”

The mathematics of history

“What can mathematics say about history? According to TED Fellow Jean-Baptiste Michel, quite a lot. From changes to language to the deadliness of wars, he shows how digitized history is just starting to reveal deep underlying patterns.”

C.S. Lewis’s Lesson on Enterprise

“In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst.”—C.S. Lewis, “The Abolition of Man”

Highest and Cheapest Gas Prices by Country; Relative to Income, U.S. Has Very Affordable

According to this “affordability” list of 55 countries, the US comes in at #50! :-)…