Monthly Archives: May 2010

White House Jester Beheaded For Making Fun Of Soaring National Debt | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source

I thought one could find this funny whether you like the President or not.  If you don’t you see it as funny because Obama is an arrogant tyrant.  If you do, this is an over the top portrayal of the way his critics see him.

Either way, I think its pretty dam funny.

White House Jester Beheaded For Making Fun Of Soaring National Debt | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source.

Arizona’s Immigration Situation: Just The Facts | The New Republic

In the interest of fact oriented discussion, here are some facts.  I’m not sure that everything is correct.  Read some of the critical comments.


Arizona’s Immigration Situation: Just The Facts | The New Republic.

American Thinker: Environmentalists with Oil on Their Hands

The link below explores an interesting idea, that drilling in as hazardous a place as where the spill has happened is because of the limits on other locations due to the activities of the environmental movement.  I’m a little skeptical given that the source is a very right wing publication.  Still, I try to be open to new ideas.  I’m willing to consider that the spill could be due to environmental good intentions, but I’d like to hear all points of view.

The thing I find disturbing is that on the left but more on the right, I see people adopting policy views as articles of faith that they cling to tightly to demonstrate their purity and nobility.   “We support the troops and their mission no matter what the evidence suggests about the wisdom of the mission.”    “We support the health care plan without regard to budget gimmicks used to make it appear well financed”  (please see this on the latter point.

Ideology has replaced competence and good sense.


American Thinker: Environmentalists with Oil on Their Hands.

A Missing Macroeconomic Playbook?

Grasping Reality with Both Hands

History of thought that was interesting.

I am reminded of the extraordinary gulf between economics as I see it and economics as at least some others see it when I read things like Narayana Kocherlakota’s opening paragrapb:

Modern Macroeconomic Models as Tools for Economic Policy: I believe that during the last financial crisis, macroeconomists (and I include myself among them) failed the country, and indeed the world. In September 2008, central bankers were in desperate need of a playbook that offered a systematic plan of attack to deal with fast-evolving circumstances. Macroeconomics should have been able to provide that playbook. It could not. Of course, from a longer view, macroeconomists let policymakers down much earlier, because they did not provide policymakers with rules to avoid the circumstances that led to the global financial meltdown…

My reaction to this is the old one: “Huh?!”

For “macroeconomics” did and does have a playbook that offered a systematic plan of attack to deal with fast-evolving circumstances.

The playbook was first drafted back in 1825, during the bursting of Britain’s canal bubble.

via A Missing Macroeconomic Playbook?.

Mick Jagger on the economics of music

Marginal Revolution

via Mick Jagger on the economics of music.

Why Rand Paul is wrong about Title II

Many interesting criticism of Rand Paul’s opposition to the 1964 civil rights acts have focused on how violence was used to enforce a cartel of racism in the Jim Crow south.

This enforcement of a cartel seems like it might fall prey to a public goods problem.   That is a racist could free ride on someone else’s enforcement activity without contributing to it.  This might lead to inadequate effort to successfully enforce the racist cartels.

It seems a little ironic that libertarians that in other cases would likely minimize the importance of the public goods problem would have to rely on it dismiss racism from a cartel.


via Why Rand Paul is wrong about Title II.

Just How Bad Was the Bush Administration?

A plain blog about politics

via Just How Bad Was the Bush Administration?.

Rand Paul and the Civil Rights Act

It seems to me that the main freedom that seems to be of concern to Paul and his supporters is that of business. Is it more important to actually make the promise of freedom under emancipation in 1862 mean something, or that successful business men never have their freedom interfered with. Rand clearly is concerned about the latter.

Business are the noble and put upon by the state class in this view. I have to say that really this shows that freedom’s constantly bump into one another. Society then makes choices about what freedom prevails.

When I was younger I thought of businessmen as noble worth of more a break than they were getting. I didn’t trust politicians with seeming good intentions. I might of agreed with Paul.

Now I think of almost all human behavior as rarely (but occasionally) noble. Given that business is no more noble than government in my thinking now: I no longer would buy the Rand Paul argument.

At its heart, it seems to boil down to saying: “do we value freedom for commercial activity or a long oppressed group. I say commercial activity.”

I make the other choice.

The policy ratchet and US civil liberties (crosspost at CT)

This is on the idea of policy ratchets.  One is that social welfare benefits ratchet up but never down.  Greater government powers for security seem to be the same.

Sadly things never go away once established and increase.  In both cases, the policies that ratchet never seem to fully “solve ” the problem they are aimed at.  That said faith in increasing the problem never ends.

It could make a libertarian out of you.  Hasn’t done so yet I fear.

John Quiggin

via The policy ratchet and US civil liberties (crosspost at CT).

Government, slavery, Jim Crow, The New York Times

Is government the cause or the cure for Jim Crow is a question of the week?  Most discussion has focused on condemnation of Rand Paul at best reluctance to endorse the civil rights laws of the 1960’s.

The post below suggest that government was responsible for the salvery and its aftermath the civil right laws remedied.  That’s a different perspective.

All in all though, I think that while government may have played a role in slavery, I think the evidence is that it was economically viable institution without government.  In any case, the question may be would you favor the laws to remedy the aftermath of slavery, without raising a hypothetical of a world that hadn’t slavery, a world that didn’t exist in the early 1960’s.

Knowledge Problem

via Government, slavery, Jim Crow, The New York Times.