Assorted Links (7/27/2013)

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

Damage Control at Fortress IRS – WSJ

Peggy Noonan writes, “The agency crisis could permanently harm Americans’ faith in government.”

Children With Parents on Government Assistance More Likely to Become Dependent

“Does dependence on government assistance in one generation cause dependency in the next? A new economics paper suggests it does.”

Obama to Congress: Only I Can Amend ObamaCare

“I’d wager lots of congressional Democrats are pretty angry at President Obama today.”

Unworkable ObamaCare

“In The Wall Street Journal, Bobby Jindal and Scott Walker report that the chaos—opaque rules, delays and inconsistent guidance from Washington—is mounting.”

State and Local Pension Liabilities

“To fund these pensions fully within 30 years, states would need to raise taxes by $1,385 per household, per year, over that period.”

Hot Enough For You?

“It is doubtful that people pushing the latest fad, such as a carbon tax, have any clue the degree to which global warming is being manufactured (rightly or wrongly) by systematic adjustments to weather…”

Examining the High Dropout Rate of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Classes)

“Recently, MOOCs have achieved high popularity. It’s no wonder – these college-level classes are free and open to anyone with an internet connection. Although the free college courses have high enrollment rates, they also have high dropout rates.”

Facing Up to America’s Pension Woes

“From the opinion section of today’s WSJ, University of Pennsylvania law professor David Skeel writes “Public retirees everywhere insist that Chapter 9 does not permit any benefit changes. Their legal case is weak.””

Information, the Entrepreneur, and George Gilder’s New Economic Thinking

“George Gilder’s vision of data-driven capitalism has much to recommend it, but caution is warranted.”

Moderate Democrats are quitting on Obamacare

“Democratic support softens as Obama administration prepares insurance exchange roll out.”

If Paul Krugman Didn’t Exist, Republicans Would Have To Invent Him

Paul Krugman is famous for routinely ignoring or (in some cases) even contradicting his own academic work when he writes for the New York Times. At times, it seems that he may have a split personality – as an economist, Krugman channels Dr. Jekyll, but as a columnist he channels the malevolent Mr. Hyde. For example, consider Krugman’s reaction in March 2010 (located at to then Kentucky Senator Jim Bunning’s attempt to block a one-month extension of unemployment benefits on the grounds (as explained by Bunning’s Senate colleague, Jon Kyl of Arizona) that “…continuing to pay people unemployment compensation is a disincentive for them to seek new work”. In the NYT article cited above, Krugman says that it is “bizarre” to worry that unemployment benefits reduce people’s incentives to find jobs — indeed, that this concern is even at odds with “textbook economics”. Apparently Prof. Krugman must count himself and his wife, Robin Wells, among those who hold bizarre ideas – or who, when writing economics textbooks, misrepresent economists’ views. Here’s what Krugman and Wells wrote on page 210 of their jointly authored textbook entitled “Macroeconomics (2nd ed.)” (see, published in 2009:

“Side Effects of Public Policy. In addition, public policy designed to help workers who lose their jobs can lead to structural unemployment as an unintended side effect. Most economically advanced countries provide benefits to laid-off workers as a way to tide them over until they find a new job. In the United States, these benefits typically replace only a small fraction of a worker’s income and expire after 26 weeks. In other countries, particularly in Europe, benefits are more generous and last longer. The drawback to this generosity is that it reduces a worker’s incentive to quickly find a new job. Generous unemployment benefits in some European countries are widely believed to be one of the main causes of “Eurosclerosis,” the persistent high unemployment that afflicts a number of European economies.”

In closing, my recommendation is to only read Krugman if you want or need to know what the progressive left’s political narrative du jour happens to be.

They Finally Tested The ‘Prisoner’s Dilemma’ On Actual Prisoners — And The Results Were Not What You Would Expect

“Prisoners were more cooperative than students.”

Obamacare Is an Expensive Failure

“Where’s the affordable part of the Affordable Care Act?”

The Costs of Climate Change and Extreme Weather Are Passing the High-Water Mark

Quoting from this Time Magazine article, “”More than 5.5 million homes are protected via the National Flood Insurance Program and a little less than 20 percent of those homes – usually those who live in the most dangerous areas – receive flood insurance at heavily subsidized rates. The result is a perverse incentive for homeowners to continue to live in areas that are likely to be hit by storms and floods, knowing that the cost of rebuilding will be effectively socialized by the rest of us. At a time when we should be seriously thinking about retreating from the most high-risk coastal areas, government policy inadvertently supports living on top of the sea.”

Rise of the Warrior Cop

“SWAT teams were once rare, but they now operate at every level of government, from small towns to federal agencies. Is it time to reconsider the militarization of American policing?”

Assorted Links (7/20/2013)

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

After Autism Scare, Measles Plague Erupts

“An outbreak of measles in southwest Wales presents a cautionary tale about the limits of disease control. Measles can quickly cross oceans, setting back progress elsewhere in stopping it.”

20 Feet from Stardom (2013)

“Directed by Morgan Neville. With Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer, Judith Hill, Darlene Love. Backup singers live in a world that lies just beyond the spotlight. Their voices bring harmony to the biggest bands in popular music, but we’ve had no idea who these singers are or what lives they lead, until now.”  I highly recommend this movie. Among other things, the movie chronicles the very deep impact that gospel music has had upon popular music over the course of the past 40-50 years…

A Bombshell in the IRS Scandal

“A higher office is implicated, Peggy Noonan writes.” Evidence of a “smoking gun”, presented in sworn testimony which apparently points to the IRS chief counsel…

Trying to attract the young? Churches should change carefully and wisely

“When I came back to church after a faith crisis in my early 20s, the first one I attended regularly was a place called Praxis. It was the kind of church where the young, hip pastor hoisted an infant into his arms and said with sincerity, “Dude, I baptize you in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”” 

Civil Liberties and Security in an Age of Terrorism

I highly recommend watching this recorded program, which asks (and provides answers to) the following questions: 1) Could the eye-opening reports on the government’s accessing all phone and electronic communications along with the reaction to the Boston Bombing be setting into motion a chain of events of ominous significance? 2) What should Americans be most concerned about?

Magazine’s Startlingly Provocative Cover

Business Week Magazine routinely sexualizes its cover photo, but this week they really went over the top with what HuffPo calls “Bloomberg Businessweek’s Extremely Phallic Cover”…

Milton Friedman Quotes at

“So that the record of history is absolutely crystal clear. That there is no alternative way, so far discovered, of improving the lot of the ordinary people that can hold a candle to the productive activities that are unleashed by a free enterprise system.”

U.S. Seen Losing to China as World Leader

“A poll shows more people say China will eclipse the U.S. as a world power.”

Should Colleges Charge Engineering Students More?

“Why does a student majoring in English have to pay the same tuition as an engineering student who has much higher future earning potential?”

The Road to Serfdom

Hayek’s famous tract entitled “The Road to Serfdom” in cartoon form; cartoons shown were originally published in Look Magazine, and were reproduced for this video from a booklet published by the General Motors Corporation in their ‘Thought Starter’ series (no. 118). Soundtrack by Samuel Barber (Adagio for Strings, Opus 11)…

A Jobless Recovery Is a Phony Recovery

“In The Wall Street Journal, Mortimer Zuckerman says that more people have left the workforce than got a new job during the recovery—by a factor of nearly three.”  Mr. Zuckerman, who is the chairman and editor in chief of U.S. News & World Report, parses the data for us and finds some very alarming and disturbing facts about the “jobless” recovery…

Race, Politics and the Zimmerman Trial: The left wants to blame black criminality…

“In The Wall Street Journal, Jason Riley writes that the left wants to blame black criminality on racial animus and ‘the system,’ but blacks have long been part of running that system.”

Union Letter: Obamacare Will ‘Destroy The Very Health and Wellbeing’ of Workers

“The leaders of three major U.S. unions say that unless changes are made, the Affordable Care Act will harm “the backbone of the American middle class”.”

The 2016 Disability Insurance Time Bomb

“In June, 11 million Americans collected benefits, up from 2.7 million in 1970. The 75-year unfunded liability: $40 trillion.”

Why the President’s ObamaCare Maneuver May Backfire

“David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey write that by postponing the employer mandate, President Obama has given millions of Americans the legal standing to sue.”

Why is so much oil carried by train?

“A DEVASTATING explosion flattened dozens of buildings in Lac-Mégantic, a small town in Quebec, on July 6th. Fifty people are feared to have died when a runaway train carrying crude oil derailed and exploded, creating a fireball that left the town centre looking like a “war zone”.

Pursuing Further Legal Action Against Zimmerman Would Be Tough

“The acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of black teenager Trayvon Martin has prompted some calls for further legal action, but there are significant obstacles to pursing the case in the federal or civil courts.”

Assorted Links (7/14/2013)

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

Why we shouldn’t raise the minimum wage

Here’s today’s ECON 101 lesson on the economics of the minimum wage… “Raising the wage will make it more expensive to hire younger and low-skill workers. There are better ways to help the poor.”

Net worthless

Current US national debt is now $17 trillion – in excess of 100% of US GDP (estimated annual rate as of Q1 2013 for US GDP is $15.98 trillion (source:, and also $800 billion higher than it was just 7 months ago (source: Furthermore, quoting from the article cited below,

“In 2012 dollars, household net worth in 2007 was $240,790 per person. Even then, we were looking ahead to high deficits, and the present value of the implicit tax liability facing every American just to cover those deficits was $70,143, with the net of the two values coming to $170,647. At the end of 2012, per capita wealth had climbed back almost to its 2007 value, but the present value of future tax liabilities associated with deficits had climbed all the way to $152,216. So, accounting for federal debt, net wealth had dropped all the way to $62,322 per person.”

Tribal Politics in the 21st Century

I highly recommend this article; for an expanded podcast version, see “Progressives, conservatives, and libertarians each have a mythology in which they are the heroes and the other tribes are villains. Partisans of these three ideologies even speak different languages.”

The President’s Broken Window Fallacy: Carbon Policies and Jobs

Here’s a shoutout to Frédéric Bastiat, the 19th century French political economist who is famous for having penned the influential “Parable of the Broken Window” (cf.… “It is time to expose the flawed jobs reasoning behind President Obama’s new carbon plan.”

The $4.3 Million Bunch At Thunderbird

“Pay for just ten Thunderbird profs totals $4.3 million a year”  This is impressive considering that according to a recent WSJ article (cf., the Thunderbird Global School of Management “… is selling its campus to a for-profit college operator as part of a last-ditch effort to bolster its finances as more people question the value of an M.B.A.” Another article (cf. notes that the Thunderbird Global School of Management also has one of the worst full-time MBA placement records of 2012 with 76.1% of the graduating class without jobs at graduation…

Big Government Implodes—and ObamaCare’s Failures Aren’t the Only Sign

“Mark July 3, 2013, as the day Big Government finally imploded… In The Wall Street Journal, Wonder Land columnist Daniel Henninger writes that ObamaCare’s failures are not the only sign of a great public crack-up.”

Replace the IRS with the Honor System

Since there already is an Obamacare honor system in place, in that the administration has announced to take enrollees at their word in self-reporting their income and insurance status (see “Obamacare honor system: Admin will take enrollees’ word on income, insurance status” @ and “Health insurance marketplaces will not be required to verify consumer claims” at, why stop there?

What Austerity Looks Like in 2013: Taxes Up 14%, Spending Down 4%

“The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has run the numbers for the first nine months of fiscal year 2013, which started on October 1, 2012. The results?”

Walmart Threatens To Pull Out Of D.C. Over ‘Living Wage’

“City council forced to decide: are no jobs better than bad jobs?”

Assorted Links (7/10/2013)

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

Pallotta on Charity and the Culture of the Non-Profit Sector

“Dan Pallotta, Chief Humanity Officer of Advertising for Humanity and author of Uncharitable talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in his book. Pallotta argues that charities are deeply handicapped by their culture and how we view them. The use of overhead as a measure of effectiveness makes it difficult for charities to attract the best talent, advertise, and invest for the future. Pallotta advocates a new culture for non-profits that takes the best aspects of the for-profit sector to enhance the mission and effectiveness of charities.”

The Story Of An Incredible Escape From North Korea

A total stranger helped Hyeonseo Lee pay her mother and brother’s way out of jail as they fled from North Korea. Now, four years later, Lee has been reunited with that stranger, getting the chance to thank him in person.


“People who have been trying to control your life since Reason (Magazine) was founded in 1968.”  Truly an impressive list!

The Myth of Unreligious America

“Most of those who say they have ‘no religion’ on surveys also pray. Half believe in angels.”

Horseless Carriages to Driverless Cars

“In The Wall Street Journal, Information Age columnist Gordon Crovitz writes that self-driving cars will arrive sooner than we think.”

Put Him Down as ‘Uncommitted’: @jamestaranto on new studies of cohabitation and adultery

“A new study suggests cohabitation is a bad bargain for women, James Taranto writes.”

Math, Science Popular Until Students Realize They’re Hard

“Math and science majors are popular until students realize what they’re getting themselves into, according to new research.”

Six Inconvenient Truths About Obamacare

“The White House’s decision last week to delay part of its health-care overhaul illustrates six truths about the law that its supporters can’t easily acknowledge.”  Tip of the hat to Bloomberg View columnist, American Enterprise Institute Fellow, and National Review senior editor Ramesh Ponnuru for this article…

Obama Suspends the Law

“In The Wall Street Journal, Michael McConnell writes that like King James II, the president decides not to enforce laws he doesn’t like. That’s an abuse of power.” 

Obamacare honor system: Admin will take enrollees’ word on income, insurance status

This is totally surreal… “The Obama administration quietly announced Friday that it is rolling back the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that the new insurance exchanges verify applicants’ income and insurance status, according to news reports.”

Kling on the Three Languages of Politics

According to Arnold Kling, the author of “The Three Languages of Politics”, Progressives, Conservatives and Libertarians employ three different axes/lenses/heuristics, for seeing the world; here are some interesting quotes from this podcast:

“Progressives organize the good and the bad in terms of oppression and the oppressed, and they think in terms of groups. So, certain groups of people are oppressed, and certain groups of people are oppressors. And so the good is to align yourself against oppression, and the historical figures that have improved the world have fought against oppression and overcome oppression.”

Conservatives use the axis of “…civilization and barbarism… The good is civilized values that have accumulated over time and have stood the test of time; and the bad is barbarians who try to strike out against those values and destroy civilization.”

Libertarians use the axis of “… freedom versus coercion, so that good is individuals making their own choices, contracting freely with each other; and the bad is coercion… particularly on the part of governments.”

The Writing of a Great Address

WSJ columnist Peggy Noonan provides a compelling narrative about the writing of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg address.

Why I’m Not Cheering Along With My Fellow Egyptians

Very sobering assessment of Egypt’s past, present, and future..

Meet Park Sang Hak, North Korea’s ‘Enemy Zero’

“In The Wall Street Journal, David Feith interviews Park Sang Hak, a North Korean dissident who enrages Pyongyang by sending balloons aloft with leaflets about freedom. South Korea isn’t too happy with him either.”

Rich Lowry – An Obamacare Surrender

“Delaying the employer mandate signals massive system failure, not mere incompetence.”

Why The Rise Of Wendy Davis Could Actually Spell Trouble For Texas Democrats

“For every progressive, she’s probably amped up at least three pro-lifers.”

America’s Birthday: The True Meaning of July 4 (Part 1)

“The Declaration of Independence is the birth announcement of the American Republic. Do we understand its full meaning? Does our modern Republic live up to its promise?”  Also see Part 2 @ and Part 3 @

How Bureaucrats Captured Government

“Like reforming the spoils system of the 19th century, dealing with today’s incompetent, lazy, and corrupt public employees is a good deal easier said than done. As always with human affairs, self-interest rules.”

How busybodies keep burning the poor

“At the heart of the left’s vision of the world is the implicit assumption that high-minded third parties like themselves can make better decisions for other people than those people can make…”

Companies Jumpy over Upcoming Obamacare Provisions

From the trade publication CFO Magazine, more on the unintended consequences of the so-called Affordable Care Act affecting employment and compensation policies of the private sector of the US economy…

Health-Law Employer Mandate Delayed by U.S. Until 2015

This is NOT a coincidence, and the decision to delay implementation by 1 year has nothing to do with “needing the time to get this right” (in Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett’s own words). As this article points out, “The decision pushes the issue past the 2014 midterm congressional elections, as Republicans have sought to make the health law a symbol of government overreach.” Out of sight, out of mind…

John Fund – Hollywood, the Nazis, and the Chi-Coms

“Movie moguls once collaborated with Nazis. Are they now kowtowing to Chinese Communists?”

Polygamy now!

“NOW that the federal government recognizes the marriages of same-sex couples from enlightened states, what’s next? Polygamy? Well, polygamists are hopeful…”

Illiberal Education and the ‘Heart of the Matter’

“A new report on the humanities and social sciences misses a big reason they’re in trouble.”

The Man Who Dissected ‘The Liberal Mind’

This Wall Street Journal retrospective on the life and academic career of the late Kenneth Minogue, professor of political philosophy at London School of Economics, is definitely worth a read. Quoting from this article, “In (his book) “The Liberal Mind” he (Minogue) chastised establishment elites who viewed humanity’s every challenge as an opportunity for government intervention. He wanted to find solutions and help those who needed it, but he doubted that suffering could be eliminated by government bureaucracy.”

Obama Rating Drops Sharply in CNN Poll

“A CNN/ORC International poll released Monday showed that President Barack Obama’s approval rating dropped to 45% — down eight points — in the last month, marking his lowest rating in the poll since November 2011.”

The Media and Wendy Davis

“The press’s one-sided abortion coverage, yet again.”

Scoring drugs

“A new study suggests alcohol is more harmful than heroin or crack…”

Drinking habits

“THE world drank the equivalent of 6.1 litres of pure alcohol per person in 2005, according to a report from the World Health…”

Germany Summons U.S. Ambassador Over NSA Allegations

“Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government demands clarity from the U.S. over allegations that the National Security Agency spied on European Union institutions.”

A Missed Opportunity on Racial Preferences

Interesting commentary from the editorial section of the Wall Street Journal by Theodore R. Johnson, who has served as a military professor at the Naval War College and as a 2011-12 White House Fellow.

Medicare by the Scary Numbers

“White House spin pretends otherwise, but the unfunded liabilities may exceed $100 trillion.”

Did Poor Math Skills Cause Subprime Meltdown?

“Economists have offered intricate explanations for what caused the rash of subprime defaults. A new study suggests that it might have been as simple as not being able to perform basic math calculations.”

Social Security Kept Paying Benefits to 1,546 Deceased

“The Social Security Administration’s inspector general on Monday said the agency improperly paid $31 million in benefits to 1,546 Americans believed to be deceased.”

Constitutional Threats Trump Terror

“If it is true that the NSA is routinely collecting information that originates within the borders of the U.S. and is associated with or can be easily associated with American citizens who are unconnected to any crime, then the Fourth Amendment is under attack.”

Stephens: The Age of American Impotence

“As the Edward Snowden saga illustrates, the Obama administration is running out of foreign influence.”

On GPAs and Brain-teasers: New Insights From Google On Recruiting and Hiring

“We found that brainteasers are a complete waste of time. How many golf balls can you fit into an airplane? How many gas stations in Manhattan? A complete waste of time.”

Of Burgers, Bikinis and ObamaCare

“In The Wall Street Journal, Allysia Finley interviews Andy Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants. The man who revived Carl’s Jr. explains why he’s not expanding in California and how the Affordable Care Act is hurting employment.”