Assorted Links (7/19/2012)

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

Who else, Mr. President?

“When President Barack Obama hauled off and slapped American small-business owners in the mouth the other day, I wanted to dream of my father.”

The Campaign’s Stupid Moment

Holman Jenkins writes that, in ‘defining Romney,’ Obama may be finally defining himself for a mystified electorate. Quoting from this article, “So maybe, when the stupid moment passes, the two campaigns can take up the question likely to be on every lip in any case given the evening news: Whether America is to become more like Europe.”

‘You Didn’t Build That’

“The Wall Street Journal on the President’s burst of ideological candor.” Also be sure to check out the ‘You Didn’t Build That’ website located at!

There Is No ‘Euro Crisis’

UniversitĂ© Paris-Dauphine economist Pascal Salin writes that when a state in the U.S. has a debt problem, one never hears that there is a ‘dollar crisis.’  Quoting from this article, “It’s worth stressing that the deficits now plaguing these countries were, in large part, justified only a few years ago as necessary to initiate so-called “recovery policies.” But it is always an illusion to believe that governments could increase total demand and thereby induce producers to produce more. Governments can only shift resources from those who have created them to those who haven’t. The present state of affairs in countries that engaged in stimulus blowouts in 2008 and 2009 should serve as proof of the failure of the Keynesian model.”

Penn State, Duke and Integrity

“KC Johnson and Stuart Taylor write that Penn State and Duke offer examples of two universities experiencing two scandals and two leadership crises—but that’s where the comparison ends.” Fascinating case study of crisis management practices employed by two prominent academic institutions…

Infrastructure and Nation Building

“Adam White discusses the history of infrastructure improvement in these United States. Adam brings an acutely historical perspective to a perennial American problem – what is the proper role of federal government?” I highly recommend very informative podcast about the history of infrastructure improvement in the US, going back to its founding. The accompanying article entitled “Infrastructure Policy: Lessons from American History” (located at is also well worth reading!  

Why I’m Thankful For ‘Broken’ American Politics

“Although my daughter will miss out on the cross-cultural experience I had growing up in East Africa, mostly I’m grateful that she’ll be spared the political instability that most children around the world take as commonplace.”  Superb essay by a fellow parishioner from Christ Church in Austin, TX! 🙂

Obama against the Self-Made Man

Quoting from this article, “The Obama theory of entrepreneurship is that behind every successful businessman, there is a successful government. Everyone is helpless without the state, the great protector, builder, and innovator. Everything is ultimately a collective enterprise. Individual initiative is only an ingredient in the more important work when “we do things together.”

The Obama riff is a direct steal from Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic Senate candidate in Massachusetts who sent liberal hearts aflutter by throwing the same wet towel on the notion of individual success a few months ago. The Obama/Warren view is a warrant for socialization of the proceeds of success. Behind its faux sophistication is a faculty-lounge disdain for business, and all those who make more than tenured professors by excelling at it. Behind its smiley we’re-all-in-it-together façade is a frank demand: You owe us.” 

Disastrous Economic Fallacies – Terror as Stimulus?

“Do natural disasters, earthquakes, or wars stimulate an economy and create growth? Did World War 2 get the US out of the Great Depression? Frederic Bastiat explained why such thinking is fallacious.”

How Surprise Changes Your Appetite for Risk

“According to new research… people who’ve experienced surprising outcomes in various situations — whether those outcomes were good or bad — are less likely to take risks in the future.”

The Capitalism Debate

The argument between President Obama and Mitt Romney has turned into a broader attack on the logic of global capitalism. Romney must now define his capitalist vision.

The Cure for Our Economy’s Stationary State

“Adam Smith knew what ails us—and he prescribed the cure.”

The Incredible Bain Jobs Machine

Andy Kessler explains how unfettered capitalism sets the stage for the “creative destruction” process in which both human and financial capital get redeployed in higher valued uses, thus creating jobs and “shared” (not coerced) wealth and prosperity. It used to be that these foundational principles of free enterprise came naturally for most Americans, but it now seems more like a foreign language rather than a natural aspect of the American enterprise for many of our fellow citizens…

Taubes on Why We Get Fat

Yet another book to read – Why We Get Fat and What to Do About it, by Gary Taubes (cf. Taubes claims, among other things, that “…nutrition and obesity research lost its way after the Second World War with the evaporation of the European community of scientists and physicians that did the pioneering work in those disciplines.” Specifically, he is referencing work done by German and Austrian scientists and physicians in particular (a similar point could be made about the work done by the Austrian school of economics, but I digress). Anyway, I listened to this podcast on my morning walk today – it provides an excellent layman’s guide to understanding food science. In a nutshell, I learned that hormones, enzymes, and growth factors regulate our fat tissue, just as they do everything else in the human body, and that we do not get fat because we overeat; we get fat because the carbohydrates in our diet make us fat.

Why so many financial crises?

Here’s the abstract for this AEI paper: “The global financial picture continues to look bleak, with major current disruptions in the United States, Europe, and China that demonstrate a troubling overall pattern of weak recoveries and rolling crises. Boom-and-bust examples from Japan and China over the last forty years show how overinvestment can result in financial bubbles. When the bubbles burst, investors are pushed into less-risky assets that reflect a transition away from wealth enhancement to wealth preservation that complicates a much-needed return to economic equilibrium. Sound currency policy, including more exchange rate flexibility for rapidly growing economies, can help mitigate asset bubbles and financial crises that are hampering global growth.”