Assorted Links (2/1/2014)

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

Nina Munk on Poverty, Development, and the Idealist

Nina Munk provides a very interesting case study on how the road to hell is often paved with very good intentions indeed! Here’s the quote from EconTalk: “Nina Munk, journalist and author of The Idealist: Jeffrey Sachs and the Quest to End Poverty, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about her book. Munk spent six years following Jeffrey Sachs and the evolution of the Millennium Villages…”

Obama Seeks to Borrow More from Poor, Middle Class

“President unveils new plan to finance government; declares climate change “a fact.””

Obama’s State of the Union’s Most Despicable Moment: Using Wounded Vets as Props

“The most emotionally powerful moment in Barack Obama’s State of the Union address was also its most morally dubious.”

State of the Union 2014

“The Cato Institute’s annual State of the Union response video features a number of prominent Cato scholars who analyze the President’s address, highlighting inaccuracies, flawed logic, and even the occasional positive remark.”

New Snowden Revelation: NSA, GCHQ Look Through Apps To Find Personal Data

“The efforts were part of an initiative called “the mobile surge.””

A Victory for the Little Sisters Against the ObamaCare Birth-Control Mandate

“The Supreme Court suspends ObamaCare’s birth-control mandate for the order of nuns, the Wall Street Journal writes in an editorial.”

More Imperfect Unions

“Marriage in America has been on the decline, but there is little honest talk about the root causes.”

So What Was The Point of Obamacare Again?

“The Wall Street Journal reported over the weekend that the uninsured haven’t been rushing to sign up for insurance under Obamacare.”

‘Hand of God’ spotted by NASA space telescope

“Religion and astronomy may not overlap often, but a new NASA X-ray image captures a celestial object that resembles the “Hand of God.””

Obama’s polls fall as middle class gets his number

“Are you dazed and confused by Barack Obama, the nominal Democrat, whose conduct as president since 2009 has seen him sink from nearly 70 percent to 40 percent or less in the national polling, from which he has seemed to learn nothing, but still marches on?”

Bill Gates on minimum wage hikes

“The Microsoft founder “warned against raising the minimum wage Tuesday on Morning Joe, saying it results in a ‘huge tradeoff’ that can adversely affect households in poverty.””

Inequality Fallacies

“The Left gets the facts wrong on economic and racial disparities.” Repeat after me: correlation is not causation…

Aetna could be forced out of Obamacare: CEO

Here’s an update on the so-called insurance death spiral: “Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini tells CNBC that Obamacare has failed to attract the uninsured, and he offered a scenario in which the insurance company could be forced to pull out of program.”

77 cents on the dollar

The key problem with the “77 cents on the dollar statistic” cited in President Obama’s SOTU speech is that it is based upon a naive comparison of average earnings for females compared with males. There are a number of other wage determinants (e.g., differences in occupations, positions, education, job tenure, hours worked, etc.) which must also be taken into consideration.  AEI scholar Christine Sommers notes (in the Daily Beast article linked below): “When all.. relevant factors are taken into consideration, the wage gap narrows to about five cents. And no one knows if the five cents is a result of discrimination or some other subtle, hard-to-measure difference between male and female workers.”
“It’s the bogus statistic that won’t die—and president deployed it during the State of the Union—but women do not make 77 cents to every dollar a man earns.”