Assorted Links (1/28/2013)

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

Travis Kalanick: The Transportation Trustbuster

Travis Kalanick is the John Galt of his generation! Quoting from this article, “Andy Kessler interviews Travis Kalanick, co-founder of Uber, on how he’s bringing limo service to the urban masses—and how he learned to beat the taxi cartel and city hall.”

World War II Spending Did Not End the Great Depression

“The aggregate statistics fail to capture essential details of life.”

Powers of prophesy: Davos looks to the future

Interesting multidisciplinary assortment of predictions; I am especially looking forward to owning a driverless car and my own 3D printer! 🙂

The Great Migration

“As the winners of our meritocracy hold the reins of progressive power, they may struggle to mitigate the inequality their own ascendance has helped produce.”

College Degree, No Class Time Required

“University of Wisconsin will grant bachelor’s degrees based on a person’s knowledge as demonstrated in online tests, not on class time or credits, the first such offering from a public university system.”

Revolution Hits the Universities

“Nothing has more potential to let us reimagine higher education than massive open online course, or MOOC, platforms.”

Yes, Mr. President, We Are a Nation of Takers

“AEI scholar Nicholas Eberstadt writes that since 1960, entitlement transfers have grown twice as fast as personal income—to $2.3 trillion annually.”

Climate-Change Misdirection

“Environmentalist Bjorn Lomborg writes that fear-mongering exaggeration about global warming distracts us from the real job of finding affordable and effective energy alternatives.”

The Collective Turn

“President Obama’s second Inaugural Address makes a compelling case for a pragmatic and patriotic progressivism.”

In his inaugural address, Obama suggested burgeoning entitlements aren’t a problem…

Excellent critique of President Obama’s second inaugural address by the AEI’s Nick Eberstadt…

Roe v. Wade at 40: Attitudes about abortion

AEI just put out a very interesting and informative summary of polling data from myriad sources (on (U.S.) public attitudes toward abortion, circa 2013. Quoting fromthis article, “Although opinion about abortion is stable (over time), it is also deeply ambivalent. Americans are simultaneously pro-life and pro-choice.”

Attorney general’s Web campaign invites N.Y. gun-lovers to ‘move to Texas’

“The Texas attorney general has launched an Internet ad campaign inviting New Yorkers who feel their state’s new gun laws are too restrictive to move to Texas.”

Gold, Greenbacks and Inflation—A History and a Warning

“In The Wall Street Journal, Paul Moreno writes that the Federal Reserve’s 100th birthday is no cause to break out the champagne.”

Moody’s now has negative outlook for all U.S. universities

“Moody’s Investors Service now has a negative outlook for the entire U.S. higher education sector, the rating agency said on Wednesday, citing “mounting fiscal pressure on all key university revenue sources.”

Find the Perfect Sleep Position

“Stomach, back or side? There is no one right way to sleep. But for people with certain types of pain and medical conditions, there are positions that can help keep problems from getting worse and may even alleviate them.

The progressive US tax code

I make similar points in my April 2011 blog posting entitled “Make the rich pay their “fair” share!” (cf. which, among other things, documents that the U.S. has by far and away the most progressive personal income tax system amongst 24 OECD countries.  Quoting from this article, “For many years, left-wing intellectuals have exalted Western Europe as the paragon of redistributive equity, contrasting it with the trickle-down nightmare that is America. But on tax policy, at least, that characterization is flat-out wrong, especially after the latest round of tax increases.”

The Wages of Unemployment

“Richard Vedder writes that labor-force participation has declined since 2000, and among the reasons are soaring government benefits. Here are some highlights:

1. There are over 30 million more Americans receiving food stamps today than in 2000 (increase from 17.1 million in 2000 to 47.5 million in October 2012).
2. Three million Americans received work-related disability checks from Social Security in 1990; this number increases to 5 million in 2000 and stands at 8.6 million today.
3. The traditional 26-week unemployment-insurance benefit has been continuously extended over the past four years—many persons out of work a year or more are still receiving benefits.”

New budget fix: Pawn Mount Rushmore?

“Hey, the country has been talking about minting a massive platinum coin. Could selling a giant granite tourist trap be any more ludicrous?”