15 September 2011

Misc: 15 Sep 2011

∞ Washington Examiner: Beltway Confidential | Timothy Carney | Stop coddling Warren Buffett
Buffett Profits from Taxes He Supports

Buffett regularly lobbies for higher estate taxes. He also has repeatedly bought up family businesses forced to sell because the heirs’ death-tax bill exceeded the business’s liquid assets. He owns life insurance companies that rely on the death tax in order to sell their estate-planning businesses.
∞ The Atlantic | Megan McArdle | Solyndra Gets More Scandalous
The reason that [the Solyndra scandal] doesn't look good is not, as some conservatives seem to be dreaming, because it exposes some deep corruption at the heart of the Obama administration. Rather, it exposes how badly these things can go wrong when government bureaucrats are assigned to make political dreams come true with Other Peoples' Money.

The problem with Solyndra is not George Kaiser. It's the whole concept behind a program which is supposed to enable politically favored technologies, using loan guarantees that look cheap when they're issued, and end up costing us half a billion dollars because we rushed the due diligence to make sure top officials got a good photo op.
The problem isn't that the wrong guy is holding the reins, the problem is that the reins are hitched to too many horses.

∞ Reason: Hit & Run | Jacob Sullum | Judge Posner Fears 'Snooping Around by Reporters and Bloggers' If People Are Allowed to Record the Police

Ummm.... yeah Posner, that's the point. What is he afraid of, citizens finding out what the authorities are doing? That sounds SO HORRIBLE! Next thing you know citizens will be demanding to have speedy and public trials or to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects. We can't possibly have that, can we?

Cafe Hayek | Don Boudreaux | Jim Crow 2.0

NY Times | Rachel Donadio | Austere Italy? Check the Traffic
Comitini, Italy — With only 960 residents and a handful of roads, this tiny hilltop village in the arid, sulfurous hills of southern Sicily does not appear to have major traffic problems. But that does not prevent it from having one full-time traffic officer — and eight auxiliaries.

The auxiliaries, who earn a respectable 800 euros a month, or $1,100, to work 20 hours a week, are among about 64 Comitini residents employed by the town, the product of an entrenched jobs-for-votes system pervasive in Italian politics at all levels
Question: did ambitious people like my grandfather's family high-tail it out of southern Italy because it was this dysfunctional then, or is it this dysfunctional now because ambitious people got the hell out of Dodge a century ago?


Tate Shots | Tate at the Venice Biennale 2011

The Money Illusion | Scott Sumner | Does libertarianism mean we have to pay for everything?

The blogger Sumner is responding to is working on fundamentally the wrong level of analysis. (As, to a much lesser degree, is Sumner.) Wait, I take that back. Not wrong, but one which is far less interesting and important IMO. I do not care what the price of water fountains or park benches is. I care how the procedure used set the price of water fountains and park benches is determined.

The Agitator | Radley Balko | Everyone With an Online Dating Profile Could Soon Be a Felon

This is an idea whose badness transcends ideology. This makes no sense in any way other than naked power grab by making it easy to criminalize every citizen.

The Bluth Company | Mister Banana Grabber Tattoo

I am so pleased to live in a world where things this absurd exist

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