A Grand Bargain?

Tuesday, President Obama proposed a “grand bargain” as part of his jobs tour (a tour that marks the third anniversary of Vice President Biden’s “Recovery Summer” tour). The grand bargain is relatively simple: corporate tax cuts (to 28 percent), including a one-time lower tax on profits earned overseas that would arguably entice firms to repatriate … Continue reading A Grand Bargain?

Two Stories from NH

Concord, NH is about to acquire a Bearcat "tank" with federal grant money, similar to the one that spurred protests from all walks of society in Keene, NH recently. (One Keene councilman looks back and describes the purchase as a "waste of money.") More disturbing is the fact that the Concord police cited "Free Staters" … Continue reading Two Stories from NH

The Motor City Mess—A Harbinger of Things to Come?

The Economist thinks so, and has dedicated a good deal of space to the question in the newest issue (here  and here). A few quotes: Other states and cities should pay heed, not because they might end up like Detroit next year, but because the city is a flashing warning light on America’s fiscal dashboard. … Continue reading The Motor City Mess—A Harbinger of Things to Come?

Sunday Morning Quotation – Rod Dreher Is Smiling Edition

The Onion mocks so many of us so effectively in this piece titled "Unambitious Loser With Happy, Fulfilling Life Still Lives In Hometown."  It must leave Rod Dreher, author of The Little Way of Ruthie Leming: A Southern Girl, a Small Town, and the Secret of a Good Life, smiling! Longtime acquaintances confirmed to reporters this … Continue reading Sunday Morning Quotation – Rod Dreher Is Smiling Edition

Working Papers on Federalism & Public Policy

I have just posted a couple of my working papers to SSRN for those who are interested. They are as follows: "Public Policy and Quality of Life: An Empirical Analysis of Interstate Migration, 2000-2012" Abstract: Individuals and households choose their political jurisdiction of residence on the basis of expected income differentials and jurisdiction-specific characteristics covered … Continue reading Working Papers on Federalism & Public Policy

There’s Nothing Wrong with Detroit That a Mailed Fist Couldn’t Solve

So says the normally level-headed Matt Yglesias: This raises “really tricky legal-type questions” about the permissible scope of eminent domain law, but a fully empowered mayor could get the job done. Detroit famously can’t get 40 percent of its traffic lights to work, and its 58-minute 911 response time for major crimes is abysmal. Abandoning … Continue reading There’s Nothing Wrong with Detroit That a Mailed Fist Couldn’t Solve

Life Imitates Art – Breaking Bad in Beijing (Indirect Spoiler Alert)

According to a Chinese news source: A wheel-chaired Chinese man set off a home-made explosive device outside the arrivals exit of the Terminal 3 at around 6:24 p.m.. The man was injured and is currently under treatment. The explosion caused no other injuries. Glad to hear no one else was hurt.  But did wonder if … Continue reading Life Imitates Art – Breaking Bad in Beijing (Indirect Spoiler Alert)

Marriage and maturity

Articles about the sex lives of college students always create a fair amount of buzz.  The article about University of Pennsylvania students last week in the NY Times is part of a much larger set of stories and articles (I recommend Ross Douthat’s take on the story). The average age of marriage of both men and … Continue reading Marriage and maturity

Trade or Migrate?

Factor price equalization due to trade and investment flows across economies would substantially reduce economic reasons for immigration to rich countries. (Trade and investment flows will not eliminate economic reasons for migration because if polities differ in total factor productivity due to political institutions, there can still be an advantage to migrating to a more … Continue reading Trade or Migrate?

Elite Failure … or Worse!

Elites have really failed to educate Americans about the importance of the 1st Amendment when this happens, as reported in Reason: In a survey released today by the Newseum Institute, 34 percent of Americans say the First Amendment goes too far in the rights it guarantees, up from 13 percent in last year's survey. This … Continue reading Elite Failure … or Worse!

Disappearing Work?

I think libertarians need to figure out a good response to the forecasted developments discussed here in this Wilson Quarterly piece.  But first, is a response unnecessary since these developments won't really come about (perhaps due to Say's Law*)?  Or will there indeed be a larger and larger number of difficult to employ people around due to … Continue reading Disappearing Work?

Shame and courage

Here is a simple truth.  It isn’t surprising or even terribly interesting.  This is it: I’ve done shameful things in my life.  I’m not going to say any more because—obviously—I’m ashamed.  I try to be a good person, but I can look back over nearly a half century of living and still recall actions that … Continue reading Shame and courage

Generosity in Interpretation

There should probably be an award for blog posts that are so utterly lacking in generosity in interpreting the motives of others as to be absurd.  Here is my nomination for today, a post on abortion restrictions by the amazing Eric Loomis at LGM: The reality is that all of us, no matter what progressive movements we … Continue reading Generosity in Interpretation

The NSA and FISA

There was an  interview with Glen Greenwald this weekend at Salon that should be of great interest to anyone following the Snowden revelations and the NSA’s surveillance activities. Here is a quick excerpt. …hovering over everything is always the Fourth Amendment, regardless of what Congress says is legal. The Fourth Amendment constrains what Congress and … Continue reading The NSA and FISA

Drones and Tasers: Income and Substitution Effects

In microeconomics, income and substitution effects are tricky things that can lead astray those who have sipped but little of the Pierian spring of economics. Imagine a new technology that is more effective, at lower cost, than an older technology that does some of the same things. You might expect that use of the old … Continue reading Drones and Tasers: Income and Substitution Effects

“It’s Only Sex” and the Importance of Sexual Virtue in Politics

One of the things I remember hearing back during Bill Clinton's presidency was that his extracurricular activity should be given less attention or even forgiven because "It's only sex."  Unfortunately, we forget that sex can be used as a weapon by others (states, non-state actors, individuals) bent on compromising those in power.  Foreign Policy recently discussed how "sexpionage" is used in the … Continue reading “It’s Only Sex” and the Importance of Sexual Virtue in Politics

Oh No! Chances of War on the Rise (Iceland Edition)

According to the BBC (HT: MR), McDonald's is pulling out of Iceland: The fast food giant said its three outlets in the country would shut - and that it had no plans to return. Besides the economy, McDonald's blamed the "unique operational complexity" of doing business in an isolated nation with a population of just … Continue reading Oh No! Chances of War on the Rise (Iceland Edition)

And That’s The Rest of the Story – Republican Fail (Again)

I wrote recently about some nuggets of hope for the Republicans.  But unfortunately it didn't take long for them to disappoint - which they do so often it is hard to sustain more than one cheer for today's GOP (which is one more than I could muster for today's "progressive" Democrats).  Of course, the latest fail is the Republican House … Continue reading And That’s The Rest of the Story – Republican Fail (Again)

One Area of Union Growth?

According to the newest issue of the Economist: A new collective-bargaining organisation, the Association of Unmanned Operation (AUO), aims to represent civilian drone operators. (Military ones are barred from joining unions.) Sam Trevino, the AUO’s president, frets about long hours and falling pay. Newly-qualified drone pilots used to make well over $100,000 a year, but … Continue reading One Area of Union Growth?

Inmate Sterilization and Eugenics

According to a report from the Center for Investigative Reporting, between 2006 and 2010, some 148 pregnant women were given tubal ligations (there may have been another 100 before this period). The claim: the sterilizations were conducted without the required state approvals and often as a product of coercion. Some rationalized the sterilizations by citing … Continue reading Inmate Sterilization and Eugenics

Sunday Morning Quotation – Nozick Not the Apostate As Often Claimed

It is often said by critics of libertarians that even one of our intellectual heroes had the sense to recant his youthful libertarianism.  Yet this is a vast exaggeration, as we are reminded in Julian Sanchez's interview of Nozick in 2001 (and I love Nozick's particular, shall we say, "manly" claim about how he would defend … Continue reading Sunday Morning Quotation – Nozick Not the Apostate As Often Claimed

Nuggets of Hope for the Republican Party

This - and other attempts to stymie freedom-reducing legislation (like the Senate gun control measure) - is why I have some small hope for the Republican Party.  Weigel at Slate: Republicans don’t want to tweak the law as much as they want to bind it in chains and set it on fire, like some jargon-filled Necronomicon. Their … Continue reading Nuggets of Hope for the Republican Party

A Capitalism for the People, Amazon, and Culture

Luigi Zingales, in his book A Capitalism for the People, brings back a traditional American concern about "bigness" in government and markets.  Libgressives seem to worry only about that latter, libertarians/conservatives only the former.  Zingales isn't so much worried about the economic problems associated with monopoly* as the danger of large corporations throwing their weight around in the political arena.  … Continue reading A Capitalism for the People, Amazon, and Culture

Does Status Quo U.S. Federalism Advantage Progressives?

Is federalism for progressives? Libertarians, who are generally enthusiastic about the competitive federalism model, have tried to argue that the model provides, at the very least, a kind of modus vivendi for all ideological camps, allowing citizens in each state to have roughly the kind of government that they want. Relative to a single national … Continue reading Does Status Quo U.S. Federalism Advantage Progressives?

Terrorists as Nihilists?

I recently received Michael Huemer's The Problem of Political Authority in the mail.  I'm looking forward to having the time to read this challenging book.*  Did peruse it for a few minutes and noticed this interesting quotation in one of the footnotes: Nor do I pretend to understand the stark nihilism that drove the terrorists that day and … Continue reading Terrorists as Nihilists?

Insufficient Attention or Hyperbole Alert? The Supreme Court and the Voting Rights Act

Andrew Cohen's piece at the Atlantic on the VRA decision has the following headline: On Voting Rights, a Decision as Lamentable as Plessy or Dred Scott And no, it isn't just the headline writer saying this since Cohen himself writes: It will be viewed by future scholars on a par with the Court's odious Dred Scott and Plessy decisions … Continue reading Insufficient Attention or Hyperbole Alert? The Supreme Court and the Voting Rights Act