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Archive for October, 2012

Cowen on Catalonia

At MR, Tyler Cowen has a rather strong reaction against an economist who supports Catalan secession:

He taught me Ph.d Micro I at Harvard, so it’s too bad he wants to wreck both Spain and Europe, and for so little in return. Didn’t one of his theorems suggest this was a bad idea? It’s not as if Catalonia is treated like Tibet.

Would Tyler also say the Velvet Divorce “wrecked” the Czech Republic and Slovakia?

As an aside, if only peoples treated like Tibet are granted a moral right to secede, then in fact no one will secede permissibly, for governments that treat Tibet like Tibet don’t let Tibet secede.

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This is journalism?

This is the current headline on the front page of the New York Times online:

Mitt and Disaster Relief: Hurricane Sandy calls for a federal response. Not donated canned goods.

Sure, the Times has an editorial view and the right to speak its mind.  But, seriously?

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“Ten years ago, Portugal decriminalized all drugs. One decade after this unprecedented experiment, drug abuse is down by half.”

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Goldberg tweets:

All I can think about is how all of this destruction will make NYC so much richer according to Paul Krugman.

How soon before some very ill-educated journalist writes a story about the economic benefits of Sandy?  I give it less than a week.

For the original argument against the broken window fallacy, see Bastiat’s classic “What Is Seen and What Is Not Seen” here.

And here is a nice video from Art Carden on it:

HT: My main man on the Main Line.

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When Obamacare Really Kicks In

Most of the PPACA’s most controversial provisions were backloaded until after this election. Unless Romney wins the presidency and Republicans at least make it close enough in the Senate that they can pick off a moderate Democrat or two on a roll-call, these provisions will start to kick in next year. Avik Roy explains:

In [2013], a number of Obamacare’s tax increases will come into effect. The law will, among other things, raise taxes on investment income, itemized medical expenses, privately-sponsored retiree prescription-drug coverage, medical devices, and flexible spending accounts.

[...]

2014 is the critical year for Obamacare. It’s the year that the bulk of the law’s provisions go into effect. Notably, it’s the year that the law’s controversial individual mandate goes into effect, requiring most Americans to buy a government-sanctioned health insurance product…

In addition, 2014 is the year that Obamacare’s employer mandate begins to be enforced. That mandate requires all businesses with 50 or more workers to provide government-approved health insurance to all of their workers, or face steep fines…

2014 is also the year that Obamacare’s gusher of new spending kicks in, through its expansion of the Medicaid program and the institution of federally subsidized health insurance exchanges. Once these two programs are in place, it will become impossible to repeal Obamacare.

In 2014, Obamacare guts the laws related to consumer-driven health plans, by capping deductibles in the small-group market at $2,000 for individuals and $4,000 for families, down from $6,050 and $12,100 today…

Also, in 2014, Obamacare will force insurers covering small businesses and individuals to cover a set of “essential health benefits” defined by the Secretary of Health and Human Services…

In addition, the law will impose a tax on health insurance premiums, though labor unions and government-sponsored plans are exempted from the tax.

More here.

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In this piece on Celtics legend Red Auerbach, Steven Pinker makes a great point about markets that is too rarely noted (outside the Chicago School that is):

“Auerbach’s color-blindness surely came in part from principle and integrity, but it just as surely derived from one of the great virtues of the commercial spirit. Racism, because it favors color over talent, is bad for business.”

Marc Eisner made a related point here at Pileus about how capitalism is a “uniter, not a divider” during a recent trip to Jerusalem.

Other parts of Pinker’s piece on Auerbach that discuss Jews and capitalism may be more controversial.  One passage in particular reminded me of Milton Friedman’s less well-known essay “Capitalism and the Jews.”  Jerry Muller, a political theorist at Catholic University, wrote an entire book on the subject and responded to Friedman’s “paradox” claim.

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A new level of creepy

Just when you thought the Obama as Cult Figure movement couldn’t get any creepier, the Obama campaign releases a new ad with Lena Dunham talking about how special the “first time” should be.  [No, I'm not going to provide a link].

Essentially the ad is saying that voting for Obama is a sexual experience.  (And that “your first time should be with a guy who cares…whether you get birth control.”)

Yes, we live in a hyper-sexualized age with little sense of public shame or decency left.  Sure, one might expect some  comedian in a night club to do this kind of provacative routine.  But, even today, it is sort of shocking to see this kind of sexual innuendo as part of a presidential campaign.

Much less actually distributed by the President of the United States.

The Obamas seem to be quite protective of their daughters.  Now the President has produced an ad that I would doubt they would even let their girls watch.

This is how we pick the leader of the free world?

 

 

Sure, so

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