Assorted Links (12/23/2013)

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

How to Be Happy

“The head of the think tank where I work believes he has discovered the secret of happiness, and he wants to share it with everyone. Don’t worry: I’m not in a cult.”

Obama Administration Makes Secretive Last-Minute Deadline Change to Obamacare

“Deadlines? Who needs ’em? Not when it comes to Obamacare anyway. Today was set to be the final day to sign up for coverage that begins on January 1.”


Brilliant essay from Peggy Noonan… “The alarming news about the Obama administration.”

The Late, Great American WASP

“The old U.S. ruling class had plenty of problems, but are we really better off under today’s meritocracy?”

Obama’s Misguided Obsession With Inequality

This article calls to mind the famous Benjamin Disraeli quote, “There are three types of lies — lies, damn lies, and statistics”. “Chris Christie economic adviser Robert Grady writes that the President uses statistics that ignore taxes and transfer payments. Faster growth is what the poor really need.”

America’s 8 million missing jobs –in one chart

From the Economic Policy Institute: “In November 2013, the labor market had 1.3 million fewer jobs than when the recession began in December 2007…”

The Most Grumble-Filled Time of the Year

“Christmas has something for everyone—even those who see Scrooge as a role model.”

Flurry of tweaks to Affordable Care Act leaves insurers rattled

Tweaks to Health Law Rattle Insurers (and consumers)… “A spree of surprise changes to the health-care law in recent weeks has rattled insurers, who say the Obama administration’s pronouncements could undermine the law’s new marketplaces.”

Obama’s extreme use of executive discretion

“Obama ignores the separation of powers to suit his purposes. Will Congress challenge him?”

Story of the year

“The nation finally wakes up to how radical Obamacare is.”

Obamacare’s Atomistic Individualism

“Obamacare is pushing people away from cooperation and community and toward atomistic individualism.”

Lessons from Dutch Welfare Reform

“Welfare advocates regularly urge Americans to look to the European welfare state as a model. At least in the case of the Netherlands, they might be on to something.”

Did the Three Kings Bear Gift Receipts?

This essay by AEI’s Kevin Hassett is an “oldie but goodie”. On a related note, be sure to check out the results of a poll of the nations top economists in they they provide responses to the following proposition: “Giving specific presents as holiday gifts is inefficient, because recipients could satisfy their preferences much better with cash.” (@…

They Know Not What They Do—Philip Jenkins on the world’s most persecuted faith.

“Philip Jenkins reviews John L. Allen Jr.’s “The Global War on Christians: Dispatches From the Front Lines of Anti-Christian Persecution.””

Venezuela Is the Next Zimbabwe

“In The Wall Street Journal, Leopoldo Martinez writes that as inflation rages, Nicolás Maduro seizes private farms and companies, arresting businessmen for ‘speculation.'”

The Most Memorable Words of 2013

“In The Wall Street Journal, Declarations columnist Peggy Noonan recalls the year’s most memorable statements, including a billionaire’s worry: ‘Every time I hear the stock market went up I know the guillotines are coming closer.'”

Merry Christmas from Baylor University: “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”

Hear the McLane Carillon ring in the Christmas season from Founders Mall to all of Baylor Nation in this performance of “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”!

Chris Christie dresses down ‘Pajama boy’

“New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie co-opted the lampooned “Pajama Boy” image promoting Obamacare in order to send his own message about volunteering.”

Obamacare’s Top 10 Constitutional Violations

“There’s much more to the ACA’s problems than the individual mandate-tax, botched website, and not being able to keep your policy.”

America’s Polygamous Future

“In The Wall Street Journal, Charlotte Allen writes that a Utah court ruling on Mormons is likely to spread to Muslims and others.”

Obama’s Prozac Presidency

“In The Wall Street Journal, Wonder Land columnist Daniel Henninger writes that for Barack Obama, 21st-century Americans live with a wolf at every door.”

Unmasking the Mortgage Interest Deduction: Who Benefits and by How Much? 2013 Update

“The case for supporting the mortgage interest deduction has been resoundingly refuted, both as an effective tool for social engineering and as fiscally responsible tax policy. It is time to end support for the mortgage interest deduction.”

Gallup: Record High (72 Percent) Say “Big Government” Biggest Threat To US

“When Gallup first began asking the question in 1965 only 35 percent of Americans said “big government” would be the biggest threat to the country.”

The Right Minimum Wage: $0.00 – New York Times

Quoting from this (dated, yet relevant New York Times article from 25 years ago), “The idea of using a minimum wage to overcome poverty is old, honorable – and fundamentally flawed. It’s time to put this hoary debate behind us, and find a better way to improve the lives of people who work very hard for very little.”

With Affordable Care Act, Canceled Policies for New York Professionals

More on the Affordable Care Act as a case study in unintended consequences… “Thousands of New Yorkers who supported President Obama’s health plan are finding that their insurance plans are canceled and that they may have to accept inferior coverage.”

ObamaCare’s Troubles Are Only Beginning

“In The Wall Street Journal, Michael Boskin writes that we should be prepared for eligibility, payment and information protection debacles—and longer waits for care.”

Federal Judge Rules Against N.S.A. Phone Data Program

“A decision finds that keeping records of Americans’ phone calls probably violates the Constitution and orders the government to stop collecting data on two plaintiffs.”