28 September 2011

Digest: 28 Sep 2011

The Daily Caller | Matthew Boyle | NC governor recommends suspending democracy to focus on jobs

As a way to solve the national debt crisis, North Carolina Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue recommends suspending congressional elections for the next couple of years.

“I think we ought to suspend, perhaps, elections for Congress for two years and just tell them we won’t hold it against them, whatever decisions they make, to just let them help this country recover,” Perdue said at a rotary club event in Cary, N.C., according to the Raleigh News & Observer. “I really hope that someone can agree with me on that.”
Right. Because Congress, having gotten us into this mess, needs in order to lead us out is LESS ACCOUNTABILITY. That's the ticket!

via TJIC

Cato @ liberty | Dan Mitchell | Explaining the Perverse Impact of Double Taxation With a Chart

the chart is a little rough around the edges, but it's an important message. If I had more time I'd clean this up. Maybe add in some icons to show income shrinking along each step. Or if I was very ambitious (and very less busy) I could set up a little applet to show how different rates of different taxes affect things.

Rhymes with Cars and Girls | Sonic Charmer | If you don't like rainy day funds, quit doing rain dances

I think Charmer (slightly) misdiagnoses the cause of corporations "sitting on piles of cash." But the overall importance of asking, as he does, "why?" can not be understated.

If you ever ask why a broad class of people is doing something and the best answers you can come up with are "because they are stupid" or "because they are evil" then you are almost certainly wrong. And I say this as someone who tends to hold people's decision making skills, intelligence, and moral fortitude in low regard. Nevertheless idiocy and moral turpitude are not good enough answers for questions like "why are business manage holding cash reserves?" Keep asking why.

PS Great post title

The Awl | Michael Brendan Dougherty | Dear Conservative Movement: Stop Ruining My Life

Interesting rant, especially for someone like me who has grown out of their former conservatism.

I want to highlight this bit as a parallel to the previous item:
Though a minority of us still read and adhere to some hearty theology, Dutch Calvinism, Tractarianism or Latin-Mass Catholicism, you've abandoned your charges and America to Jesus-is-my-Boyfriend style mega-churches. If the choice is between listening to the wisdom of Kirk Cameron and singing Jars of Clay songs and pledging our virginity versus going to college, reading Kant and fornicating? I can tell you, categorically, we'll be going at it like heathens and Democrats.
Once again, "because they're stupid" and "because they're immoral" are not good answers to "Why do kids like drinking and smoking and screwing?" I see too many conservatives act as if those are answers. (I see the same from some liberal nannyist organizations like MADD.) If you think these things are problems then you must come to grips with the fact that people do them for actual reasons. Maybe you think they are bad reasons, but you must first understand what the reasons are from the viewpoint of the person making the decision.

SMBC | 28 Sep 2011

Ha! I'm always up for a good simulated-universe joke. Plus I'm reading The Magician King — which I can not recommend too highly — and one of its themes is the effective equivalence between sufficiently advanced technology, magic and divinity.

∞ Not sure who to credit for this one, but I found it by way of Cafe Hayek.

I have no further comments about the Elizabeth Warren thing.

Marginal Revolution | Alex Tabarrok | Why they call it Green Energy: The Summers/Klain/Browner Memo
In short, the Shepherds Flat [wind farm] project was corporate welfare masquerading under an environmental rainbow.

So are you surprised to learn that shortly after the [OMB/Treasury] memo was written the Shepherd Flats loan guarantee of $1.3 billion was approved? Of course not; no doubt you also saw that the memo authors were careful to inform the President that the “338 GE wind turbines” were to be “manufactured in South Carolina and Florida.” Corporate welfare meet politicized investment.

In the Solyndra case just about everything went wrong, including bankruptcy and possible malfeasance. Caithness Energy and GE Energy Financial Services are unlikely to go bankrupt and malfeasance is not at issue. As a result, this loan guarantee and the hundreds of millions of dollars in other subsidies that made this project possible are unlikely to create an uproar. Nevertheless, the real scandal is not what happens when everything goes wrong but how these programs work when everything goes right.
So I can expect all the Occupy Wall Street Ragers to show up in front of the White House to protest this any day now, right? Right?

EconLog | Arnold Kling | Russ Roberts vs. the Great Whatever
Just about every journalist, and even most economists, talk about cross-sectional slices of the income distribution at different points in time as if they were trends among cohorts. Thus, if you say that "real incomes of workers with only a bachelor's degree declined over the past ten years," that sounds as if a particular cohort of college graduates experienced a decline in real income. In fact, what it says is that in a cross-section of workers in 2010, those with a college education have lower average real incomes than those in a cross-section in 2000. In theory,the following could have happened: [...]
This is just a follow up to the post-script point I made in my post earlier this week about the costs of raising children.

Julian Sanchez | “Hypocrisy” and Government Largesse (A One-Act Play)

This won't make sense unless you read Sanchez's parable, but I would argue that Darrell, the person who objected to ordering pizza, is the only person who deserves to eat it. This is the exact opposite of what people's moral intuition seems to be in the wild.

I wish this existed a few months back (last year?) when there was much hallabaloo about Ayn Rand accepting Medicare benefits.

infin; Reason: Hit & Run | Emily Ekins | On What Do You Think The Government Spends the Most Money?

I don't even know where to start.

With voters like these...

WSJ | Andrew Fergusson | Shovel-Ready Shibboleths

I'm always up for a good lambasting of Thomas Friedman.


  1. In (shudder) defense of those who lambasted Rand about taking Medicare benefits, I seem to recall her writings specifically declaring that it is immoral to live on someone else's dime. That's a different kettle of fish altogether.

  2. Aye, so I recall. But I think it's specifically the people who object to being required to pay into the system who can take benefits from it honorably. I believe that was her reasoning, anyway.

    I'm not 100% convinced by that argument, but I'm convinced enough that I don't think Rand was being beyond-the-pale hypocritical either.