Assorted Links (10/12/2013)

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

3 Reasons We Need a Dirty Deal on Debt Ceiling

“President Barack Obama has been outspoken that he wants a “clean,” no-strings-attached bill to raise the federal government’s borrowing ability.

How Often Do Gamblers Win?

How often do gamblers really win? New data provide an answer

on.wsj.com

“New data provide some answers on the real odds on gambling.”

What’s Scott Adams’ secret to success? ‘Goals are for losers’

on.wsj.com

“Forget passion. Goals are for losers. Dilbert creator Scott Adams reveals his secret to climbing to the top: Fail. A lot.”

How to Raise Money Without Killing a Kitten

“Americans are extraordinarily charitable people: from 1971 to 2011, our giving rates have gone up twelvefold.”

Facebook Makes It Harder to Hide

on.wsj.com

“Users have said they use the setting to avoid feeling pressured to accept friend requests from people they don’t want to friend.”

The Real Dysfunction: A $17 Trillion National Debt

“The real dysfunction in Washington is not shutdowns and stand-offs, it’s the relentless rise in government spending that has driven the national debt from $1 trillion to $17 trillion in 33 years… Our debt as a percentage of GDP is now higher than at any point except World War II.

Obamacare’s Financial Unraveling: Predictable, and Predicted

www.realclearmarkets.com

“Advocates marketed the Affordable Care Act (ACA), known colloquially as “Obamacare,” to the American public as a way to “bend the cost curve” of soaring health care costs downward. But despite its supporters’ hopes, the 2010 legislation was fiscally reckless, markedly increasing the government’s already-unsustainable health spending commitments at a time of record deficits.”

Default Calendar: Which Payments Are Due When

blogs.wsj.com

“The Treasury Department says it could start defaulting on U.S. obligations after Oct. 17. Other estimates suggest it could be weeks until the U.S. reaches that point. Here are key dates that investors and policy makers are watching.”

Deeply troubling trends on attitudes toward government, AEI Political Report, October 2013

www.aei.org

“It is hardly news that almost everyone is dissatisfied with Washington these days. But just how bad are the numbers? The editors of AEI’s Political Report look at the polls and find some deeply troubling trends.”

Dirty Debt, Done Dirt Cheap

www.thedailybeast.com

Reason.com’s Nick Gillespie provides historical context for the current Beltway debt default drama and invokes Reinhart, Rogoff and Taleb in explaining why “debt overhang” is a serious problem for the future of the American economy.

Younger Americans Fare Poorly on Skills Against International Peers

online.wsj.com

“A new study ranks Americans 16 out of 23 industrialized countries in literacy and 21 out of 23 in numeracy.  The results also show U.S. baby boomers held their own against workers’ skills in other industrial nations but younger Americans fell behind their peers.”

Kathleen Sebelius’s Daily Show Disaster: Jon Stewart Slams Obamacare Rules

www.thedailybeast.com

The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart tells Kathleen Sebelius (HHS secretary who is responsible for implementing Obamacare) “I’m gonna try and download every movie ever made, and you’re gonna try and sign up for Obamacare—and we’ll see which happens first.” 

Close Washington to Dismantle the Welfare-Warfare State

www.cato.org

“The GOP is attempting to defund ObamaCare by holding the federal government hostage. Congressional Republicans say: Cut the spending or Uncle Sam will have to stay home.”

Excellent essay by Hoover Institution senior fellow Dr. Victor Davis Hanson. His latest book is The Savior Generals (see http://amzn.to/19g0R4t)… (Hat tip to Tom Butler for pointing this article out to me)…

Medieval Liberals

www.nationalreview.com

“Unlike classical liberals, the liberals of today hew to doctrine in the face of the evidence.”

The Real Dysfunction: A $17 Trillion National Debt

www.cato.org

“The real dysfunction in Washington is not shutdowns and stand-offs, it’s the relentless rise in government spending that has driven the national debt from $1 trillion to $17 trillion in 33 years.”

Is the Administration Misleading People on Obamacare’s Web Failures, Or Is It Just Incompetent?

reason.com

“When Obamacare’s health exchanges rolled out on October 1 to myriad glitches and, in the 36 federally facilitated exchanges, widespread inaccessibility, the Obama administration had a ready excuse: too much traffic. But the too-much-traffic story, along with repeated promises to fix online enrollment problems, hasn’t held up.”

The government acknowledged for the first time Sunday it needed to fix design and software…

online.wsj.com

This is THE page 1 story in the October 7th issue of the Wall Street Journal. It provides a fascinating case study which corroborates historian John Steele Gordon’s essay from May 2009 entitled “Why Government Can’t Run a Business” (available from http://on.wsj.com/BZpZW); in that essay, Gordon notes (among other things) that “Politicians need headlines. Executives need profits.”

The Shutdown Is a Sideshow. Debt Is the Threat

online.wsj.com

“Niall Ferguson writes that an entitlement-driven disaster looms for America, yet Washington persists with its game of Russian roulette.”

Interesting book reviews by the famous skepticist Micheal Shermer, who is publisher of Skeptic magazine and a columnist for Scientific American…

Don’t Count on It—Michael Shermer on population doom-mongering

online.wsj.com

Interesting reviews (of Ten Billion, by Stephen Emmott, and Countdown: Our Last, Best Hope for a Future on Earth, by Alan Weisman) by the famous skeptic Micheal Shermer, who is publisher of Skeptic Magazine and a columnist for Scientific American

How ObamaCare Wrecks the Work Ethic

online.wsj.com

University of Chicago economist Casey Mulligan writes that the structure of premium subsidies under Obamacare effectively impose high marginal tax rates upon non-elderly household heads and spouses with median earnings potential, which in turn clobbers labor market resiliency and mobility…

The Shutdown Is a Sideshow. Debt Is the Threat

online.wsj.com

“Niall Ferguson writes that an entitlement-driven disaster looms for America, yet Washington persists with its game of Russian roulette.”

Analysis: IT experts question architecture of Obamacare website

reuters.com

“Days after the launch of the federal government’s Obamacare website, millions of Americans looking for information on new health insurance plans were still locked out of the system even though its designers scrambled to add capacity.”

Obama Rewrites Debt-Limit History

online.wsj.com

In The Wall Street Journal, Kevin Hassett and Abby McCloskey write that Congresses run by both parties have used the borrowing limit as political leverage with a president.

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