Assorted Links (10/20/2013)

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

How Washington Really Redistributes Income

“In The Wall Street Journal, James Freeman interviews renowned money manager Stanley Druckenmiller about the debt limit, entitlement reform and why the young should be demanding action.”

Sebelius on the run: The HHS Secretary refuses to testify about ObamaCare’s rollout.

“The Wall Street Journal reports that the HHS Secretary refuses to testify about ObamaCare’s rollout.”

A New Map of How the Human Brain Works

“Forget dated ideas about the left and right hemispheres. New research provides a more nuanced view of how we plan our lives and experience the world. Which cognitive mode best describes you?”

More on Racial Preferences at UT-Austin

“The government has to have a very good reason — a “strong basis in evidence” — to be able to use race in its policies.”

Budget Battles Highlight Importance of Federalism

“The ongoing political dysfunction at the federal level should be a warning to avoid any further centralization of American government in Washington.”

ObamaCare’s Black Box

“The Wall Street Journal on why the exchanges are worse than even the critics imagined.”

The Abysmal, Pathetic Obamacare Rollout

“It’s a colossal, expensive failure that projects a 1970s-era DMV experience into cyberspace. Welcome to, the lame website of Obama’s lame reform, writes Nick Gillespie.”

Shutdown Ended, Credit Limit Increased! See You Again in 90 Days!

“So the government shutdown is over and the debt limit has been increased. President Obama bestrides the Capital City now like a colossus, flanked by Senate Majority Harry Reid and once-and-future Speaker Nancy Pelosi.”

What the Great Fama-Shiller Debate Has Taught Us

“A short version of what their Nobel Prize-winning work means and why it’s important.”

Government “Shutdown” Shuts Down Beer

“Beer enthusiasts of a partisan stripe might be tempted to point the finger at Republicans or Democrats for the shutdown-induced disruption, but they should blame the federal government itself.”

Niall Ferguson: Why Paul Krugman should never be taken seriously again

“In his widely read New York Times column and blog, Krugman regularly boasts that he has been ‘right’ about the crisis and its consequences. As he wrote in June last year: ‘I (and those of like mind) have been right about everything.’”

Economists: Breaching the Debt Ceiling “Uncharted,” But “Not…a Catastrophe”

“Apocalyptic talk flies around about the consequences of breaching the debt ceiling—that is, letting the federal government run out its borrowing authority and failing to let it run up the credit cards any further… But, is it true? Does every economist out there see doom if the debt ceiling isn’t raised?”

Winston on Transportation | EconTalk

“Cliff Winston of the Brookings Institution talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his recent article in the Journal of Economic Literature on the U.S. transportation system.” This podcast should be “required listening” to city councils not only in Austin but also worldwide.

ObamaCare’s Serious Complications: For the IRS alone, implementing the law involves 47 different statutory provisions

Gordon Crovitz makes many of the same points in his WSJ op-ed today that I made in an August 2009 blog posting entitled “My preferred approach for reforming health care…” (see I have always thought that the U.S. health-care financing system could be much better designed, and that if you were to design such a system from scratch, you definitely would not want to tie the provision of health insurance to employment. As Mr. Crovitz points out in this article, the original sin in health care goes back to the wage and price controls in effect during World War II. The federal government let employers avoid wage controls by adding health insurance as an untaxed benefit for employees. Employer-provided insurance has since insulated most Americans from the cost of care. The predictable result is endless demand for increasingly inefficient services. Unfortunately, Obamacare essentially doubles down upon an already broken system. 

Obamacare enrollees become urban legend

“It’s so difficult to find people who have actually been able to sign up for a health insurance plan on the federal government’s glitch-haunted website that one man who was able to do so in Georgia has become a cause célèbre.”

Government Waste, From Arts Funding to Education and Defense – Room for Debate

“The $1.8 billion in arts funding? We’re better off without it. Ditto the $40 billion Department of Education. And Pentagon waste dwarfs both. By Nick Gillespie.”

A Step Toward

“Get ready for the government to determine what bullying online is (and therefore, what free speech isn’t).”

An introduction to the debt limit

Excellent tutorial on the debt limit by Stanford professor Keith Hennessey, aimed at “fiscal policy novices”.

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