Category Archives: Assorted Links

Everything important to know about real world personal finance…

The following set of fantastic (and ungated) personal finance articles appeared in today’s Wall Street Journal:

1. Can Robo Advisers Replace Human Financial Advisers?

2. Does Socially Responsible Investing Make Financial Sense?

3. Should the U.S. Adopt a Value-Added Tax?

4. What’s the Best Way to Teach Financial Skills to Children?

5. Is It Time to End Tipping?

6. Should Anyone Be Eligible for Student Loans?

Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics

Myron Scholes Forum, October 13, 2015

Richard Thaler, Charles R. Walgreen Distinguished Service Professor of Behavioral Science and Economics at Chicago Booth, has spent his career studying the radical notion that the central agents in the economy are humans—predictable, error-prone individuals. He will discuss his latest book—Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics—in a Scholes Forum fireside chat, moderated by Steven Kaplan, Neubauer Family Distinguished Service Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance at Chicago Booth.

View video>

Assorted Links (6/26/2014)

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

The Supreme Court’s huge new cellphone privacy ruling, explained

vox.com

“The Supreme Court kept cops from looking at your phone. Here’s why that’s such a big deal.”

Senseless in Seattle: The Minimum-Wage Follies

cato.org

“You don’t need a Ph.D. in economics to understand that economies are not static.”

Even America’s most liberal states imprison more people than nearly any other country in the world

vox.com

“Even the most liberal state in America has a higher incarceration rate than most other countries around the world, according to a new analysis from the Prison Policy Initiative.”

This chart shows that violent deaths at US schools remain quite rare

vox.com

“There’s been no clear upward trend since the 1990s.”

Why Iraq’s army crumbled

economist.com

“On the face of it, the stunning success of the ISIS offensive in the past ten days defies understanding.”

Devaluing the Bolivarian revolution

www.economist.com

“After months of opposition protests that it portrays as a “fascist coup”, the government of Nicolás Maduro has reason for grim satisfaction. Using crude, but selective, repression, Mr Maduro has fought the protesters to a state of exhaustion.”

Kim Strassel and the WSJ on the Lost IRS Emails

cato.org

“Thank heavens that unlike some in the press, investigative columnist Kim Strassel and her colleagues at the WSJ have been willing to dig into the revelations of evidence destruction at the Internal Revenue Service.”

Tyranny of Experts

Econtalk.org

NYU economist William Easterly clearly and succinctly explains development economics…

3 academics think they’ve solved the HFT problem

cnbc.com

“Mandating that stocks trade in set time intervals would negate some of the problems posed by high-frequency trading, according to an analysis.”

Inside the vast liberal conspiracy

politico.com

“Picture this: millionaires and billionaires gathering under tight security in fancy hotels with powerful politicians and operatives to plot how their network of secret-money groups can engineer a permanent realignment of American politics.  Only, it’s not the Koch brothers. It’s the liberal Democracy Alliance.”

Obama’s Deficient Student Loan Plan

reason.com

“But thinking that more federal aid will make college affordable is like believing that a dog can catch its tail if it goes faster.”

How To Marry The Right Girl: A Mathematical Solution

npr.org

“Johannes Kepler, one of the world’s great mathematicians, decided to marry in 1611. He made a list of 11 women to interview, and he wanted, of course, to choose the best…”, so he invented optimal stopping theory, which is an important result used in a number of different fields, including applied probability, statistics, and decision theory.

Here are the states that small business owners love and hate

aei-ideas.org

“Key factors evaluated include ease of hiring. ease of starting a business, regulations, licensing, tax code, and zoning.”

The High Cost of Cheap Health Insurance

reason.com

“The Obama administration wants everyone to know how cheap insurance is under Obamacare.  But they don’t really want people to think about how expensive it is to keep it that way.”

The High Price of Obama Fatigue

online.wsj.com

“In The Wall Street Journal, Wonder Land columnist Dan Henninger writes that the IRS scandal isn’t Watergate. It’s worse than Watergate.”

Assorted Links (6/3/2014)

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

Research shows we feel less stress at work than at home. So why can’t a home be more like an office?

“Average cortisol levels were lower in both men and women, single or married, parents or not, while at work.”

Remembering Tiananmen Square

“Only in Hong Kong will Chinese people be able to commemorate the dead. Elsewhere in China commemoration of the June 4th crackdown remains strictly forbidden.”

Texas Shines Bright in New Fortune 500 Rankings

“Fortune magazine released their annual list of top 500 U.S. companies on June 2. Not surprisingly, Texas-based businesses dominated the rankings.”

D-day landings scenes in 1944 and now – interactive

“Peter Macdiarmid has taken photographs of locations in France and England to match with archive images taken before, during and after the D-day landings.”

William Anthony Hay on Edmund Burke

“William Anthony Hay reviews “The Intellectual Life of Edmund Burke: From the Sublime and Beautiful to American Independence,” by David Bromwich.” Burke is a fascinating figure in US history; this biography of Burke seems quite worthwhile to pursue!

No Pain No Gain as Tattoo Regret Fueling Laser Removals

A new booming business – tattoo removal.

Buying Insurance Against Climate Change

“Because efforts to stop global warming may fail, one way to handle the financial losses is to share the long-term risks.” Interesting New York Times article by 2013 Nobel Economics Laureate Robert J. Schiller…

How I started writing songs again

Highly recommended! Quoting from the description of this TED talk, “Sting’s early life was dominated by a shipyard-and he dreamed of nothing more than escaping the industrial drudgery. But after a nasty bout of writer’s block that stretched on for years, Sting found himself channeling the stories of the shipyard workers he knew in his youth for song material.”

Hipster Health Insurance 101: Advice For When You’re Getting the Short End of the Stick

Hint: You overpaying so old folks can underpay is not how insurance is supposed to work.

The VA Scandal Is a Crisis of Leadership

“Obama’s inattention to managing the government may kill the progressive project, Peggy Noonan writes.”

My wife is not the same woman that I married – The Matt Walsh Blog

Although its author (Matt Walsh) has only been married for 3 years, this article reads like something written by a person who has been married for most of his life…

Yuval Levin on Burke, Paine, and the Great Debate

“Yuval Levin, author of The Great Debate: Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, and the Birth of Right and Left, talks to EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas of Burke and Paine and their influence on the evolution of political philosophy. Levin outlines the differing approaches of the two thinkers to liberty, authority, and how reform and change should take place. Other topics discussed include Hayek’s view of tradition, Cartesian rationalism, the moral high ground in politics, and how the “right and left” division of American politics finds its roots in the debates of these thinkers from the 1700s.”

Assorted Links (5/20/2014)

Here is a list of articles that I have been reading, videos that I have been watching, and podcasts that I have been listening to lately:

Polls Say: Democrats Risk a Midterm Beating Over Obamacare

George Will – What LBJ Wrought

Quoting from this article, “In 1964, 76 percent of Americans trusted government to do the right thing “just about always or most of the time”; today, 19 percent do.” (source: Pew Research)

Vaccines are not associated with autism: An evidence-based meta-analysis

I will resist the temptation to utter the (vastly overused phrase), “The science is settled”…

Podcast: Tech entrepreneur Marc Andreesen on Bitcoin as well as the future of the world order

Don’t Silence Graduation Speakers

Net Neutrality Nonsense

Quoting from this article, “Living in constant fear of hypothetical worst-case scenarios—and premising public policy upon them—means that best-case scenarios will never come about.”

Beware the City Dolls

Advice for graduates from AEI President Arthur Brooks…

Language and Morality: Gained in translation

“A report published last month found that when moral dilemmas are posed in a foreign language, people become more coolly utilitarian.”

My Commencement Speech to Rutgers’ Geniuses: Go Forth and Fail

“Greetings, Class of 2014. So Condoleezza Rice was too offensive for you. Just wait until Monday morning. Did you learn how to spell KFC?”

Wealth Effect: How Summer Can Change Your Future

Video: Glenn Reynolds on the Future of Higher Education & How Kids are Getting Wise to Student Loan Debt

Flags of Inconvenience

Today’s #Dailychart is our new measure of corporate nationality. This week the French government extended its powers to block foreign takeovers in “strategic” industries, following an offer for parts of Alstom by America’s General Electric. But just how French is Alstom? We have calculated the “domestic density” of selected companies…”

Angling to Be the MasterCard of Bitcoin

Andy Kessler makes sense of bitcoin in particular and financial services in general…

Podcast: The Three Hardest Words

Freakonomics on the importance of admitting that you don’t know when in fact you do not know!

Assorted Links (4/30/2014)

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

The Piketty Panic

Upon reading one of Professor Krugman’s latest missives about Thomas Piketty’s new book entitled “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” I was fascinated to learn that just because I am not philosophically favorably inclined toward some of Professor Piketty’s policy recommendations (e.g., the imposition of a global wealth tax), this apparently means that I must therefore be an “apologist for America’s oligarchs”…

First Thoughts on Piketty

Harvard econmist Greg Mankiw provides an excellent synopsis of the strengths as well as weaknesses of Piketty’s new book on inequality…

In Illinois, Tax Increases Become an Article of Faith

“In The Wall Street Journal, Heather Williams discusses a religious coalition that is advocating progressive income taxation for Illinois.”

The Jewish Conductor and the Polish Pope

“In The Wall Street Journal, Matthew Kaminski interviews conductor Gilbert Levine about his experiences with Pope John Paul II.”

Partners in Ethanol Crime

“The Wall Street Journal writes that the corn-fuel mandate has been an invitation to mass fraud.”

Why Obama’s Keystone opposition reeks of politics

“There are at least 100 million reasons why the president has held up the decision on the Keystone pipeline, POLITICO’s Ben White says.”

How to Energize a Lackluster Recovery

Excellent tutorial on the economics of taxation by Stanford University economist Ed Lazear. “In The Wall Street Journal, Edward Lazear writes that allowing the full and immediate deductibility of capital investment would spur economic growth and raise wages.”

Hedging Away Our Future

“Al Lewis comes across a new Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco study that says hedge funds may contribute more to instability in the financial system than previously thought. Well, duh!”

How Americans Die

“Americans die in smaller portions each year, but what kills us is changing.”

Bubble to Bust to Recovery: Housing and the U.S. Economy

Fantastic data visualization that succinctly summarizes the causes of the housing bubble and what is happening now as real estate markets recover…

Google now spends more on lobbying than almost every other corporation

A case study on rent seeking, provided by none other than Google!…

High frequency Trading…

Although I should probably read the new “Flash boys” book by Michael Lewis, after watching the 60 minutes interview with Steve Kroft I am quite disappointed in Lewis (or perhaps more accurately, the “artful” editing of the interview by the CBS news “team”). University of Houston finance professor Craig Pirrong makes a rather compelling argument that high frequency trading (HFT) actually makes markets more informationally efficient. Professor Pirrong notes, among other things, that the “… bulk of informed trading is rent seeking, and a tax on the risk allocation functions of financial markets”; if this is true then one can argue that HFT may actually be welfare-improving. Also see Tyler Cowen’s blog posting entitled “*Flash Boys*, the new Michael Lewis book” from earlier today; Professor Cowen likes Lewis’s book but cautions not to “…confuse the emotional tenor of the stories with a final and well-reasoned attitude toward the phenomenon more generally”.

Assorted Links (3/29/2014)

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

Holy Men

After reading this review of the new blockbuster film “Noah”, I think I’ll pass…

Mr. Putin’s Revealing Speech

“At the Kremlin, he makes the case for an increasingly aggressive Russia, Peggy Noonan writes.”

The President’s Foreign Policy Paradox

“In The Wall Street Journal, Walter Russell Mead writes that Obama’s global wish list can’t be achieved while decreasing commitments overseas.”

Advice for a Happy Life by Charles Murray

“Consider marrying young. Be wary of grand passions. Watch ‘Groundhog Day’ (again). Charles Murray offers some tips on how to live to the fullest, adapted from his new book, ‘The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Getting Ahead.’

Twenty Feet from Stardom

“Directed by Morgan Neville. With Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer, Judith Hill. 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…”  This is an awesome documentary – I highly recommend it!

College sports unions: ‘Careful what you wish for’

“Assuming the ruling on Wednesday that allows Northwestern University football players to unionize stands all challenges, it may not be so easy to do.”

Minimum wage hike’s unexpected drawback for the poor

“As income rises, government aid program payments are either reduced or cut off entirely, leaving those with wage hikes at a disadvantage.”

How Autism Can Help You Land a Job

“Some employers are viewing autism as an asset and not a deficiency in the workplace. Software company SAP, for instance, believes features of autism may make some individuals better at certain jobs.”

Religious Groups Split on ‘Noah’ Judgment

“Hollywood’s first big-budget Bible movie in almost 50 years draws mixed reactions for straying from the original text.”

Obamacare’s Year of Delayed Deadlines

Bloomberg Businessweek looks at the law’s recent track record…

Want a Raise? Quit Your Job

A particularly interesting takeaway from this article is that quit rates tend to be higher when the labor market recovers since already employed workers quit jobs in order to take advantage of better opportunities (I.e., a better match and often a bump in pay). Of course when this occurs it also creates opportunities for unemployed workers to find gainful employment. Unfortunately the labor market remains weak; thus quit rates remain somewhat suppressed and with limited labor market mobility this limits wage growth…

“Unknown” Callers and the upcoming Texas Primary Election

All I can say is, thank God for Google Voice. The Texas Primary Election is scheduled for March 4, 2014, and since the automated robo-calls that the political candidates are spamming “we the taxpayers” with are typically configured to generate “Unknown” caller ID’s, all I had to do in Google Voice was to set it up to automatically reject all such callers. The voicemail then automatically gets routed to an appropriate location (AKA my email Spam folder J)…

From: Google Voice [mailto:voice-noreply@google.com]
Sent: Monday, February 24, 2014 3:28 PM
To: Jim Garven
Subject: New voicemail from Unknown Caller at 3:25 PM

Voicemail from: Unknown Caller at 3:25 PM voice_logo_sm2.png
Hello James, This is U. S. Senator John morning and I’m reaching out to you IN your neighbors in Austin to let you know that 4 too long, total spending is gone nearly on checked by in reducing about was budget amendment to the Constitution. I’m fighting possibility to Washington, the taxes families and small businesses practice every day. The president is liberal allies in Congress think they can taxes spend their way into prosperity in Texas. We know that won’t work. I won’t stand Ford and I hope you won’t either your votes important so please vote early for me, John, Corning, so I can protect taxpayers. While taxes to keep more money in our walls, instead of sitting at the Washington this Call’s been paid for but my campaign Texas for Senator John Corning, 85124948535.

"Unknown" Callers and the upcoming Texas Primary Election

From: Google Voice [mailto:voice-noreply@google.com] Sent: Monday, February 24, 2014 3:28 PM To: Jim Garven Subject: New voicemail from Unknown Caller at 3:25 PM

Voicemail from: Unknown Caller at 3:25 PM voice_logo_sm2.png
Hello James, This is U. S. Senator John morning and I’m reaching out to you IN your neighbors in Austin to let you know that 4 too long, total spending is gone nearly on checked by in reducing about was budget amendment to the Constitution. I’m fighting possibility to Washington, the taxes families and small businesses practice every day. The president is liberal allies in Congress think they can taxes spend their way into prosperity in Texas. We know that won’t work. I won’t stand Ford and I hope you won’t either your votes important so please vote early for me, John, Corning, so I can protect taxpayers. While taxes to keep more money in our walls, instead of sitting at the Washington this Call’s been paid for but my campaign Texas for Senator John Corning, 85124948535.
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