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Economics

June 24, 2014

"Had a conversation with a second-year sociology AP [assistant professor]"

Key paragraphs:

Economist 4175: "would someone who believes that markets generate efficient outcomes and that people are paid based on marginal productivity like to explain why sociology APs earn enough to eat in decent restaraunts?"

Economist e832: "It is a public service. Think of how dangerous these people would be outside of academia. Also this is probably cheaper than institutionalizing them."

"Easy Money: Even without the Fed, we are awash in cash."

I'm not a macro or money-and-banking guy, but this is interesting:

Yes, the U.S. Federal Reserve has been an active supplier of easy money, with its various forms of quantitative easing since 2009 amounting to more than $4 trillion. But it is hardly the only source of liquidity.

June 23, 2014

Yup, this is why we need economists

From "Workers in key industries getting most pay raises":

"If you're in an in-demand field, with the right skill set, the chance of getting a raise is much higher," says Katie Bardaro, an economist at PayScale, a pay-tracking firm.

June 17, 2014

If you're reading this blog . . .

. . . and you're not reading Glenn Reynolds's Instapundit blog, you are missing an enormous treat. Some samples from just the last few days:

"MORE EVIDENCE THAT SUING UNIVERSITIES CAN BE LUCRATIVE":

Lots of hungry lawyers out there, and lots of university administrators who think the law doesn’t apply to them. A recipe for riches!

"SEX, DOLLAR BILLS, and the Venezuelan black market":

Socialism always starts with the same promises, and ends with the same failures. And yet it’s always presented as something shiny and new!

"RON FOURNIER: I’ve Had Enough:’ When Democrats Quit on Obama: Bergdahl swap is latest last straw for top Democrats frustrated with president’s leadership. Who knew so many Dems would turn racist in 2014?"

"SOCIALISM: THE PROMISES AT THE BEGINNING ARE ALWAYS THE SAME. AND SO IS THE REALITY AT THE END: Venezuela runs out of drinking water".

"HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: The Morbid Fascination With The Death Of The Humanities."

So too with the academic humanities, which have largely squandered the moral and intellectual capital they once possessed by adopting the roles of adversaries to, rather than preservers of, the larger culture. This, too, turns out not to be sustainable.

June 16, 2014

Once again, yet, still, forever . . .

. . . there simply is no free lunch. (Other than voluntary trade.) Randall Holcombe notes, "Taxpayers Are Shocked to Discover That When They Vote for Government Services, They Have to Pay for Them".

It's a shame. But it's true. 

"Is Inequality Caused By Capitalism or Statism?"

Nicely done. Capitalism isn't the culprit, crony capitalism is. (Every introductory economics course should discuss this.)

History provides ample evidence that when allowed to function properly free market capitalism generates massive national prosperity with high employment, a strong currency and rising standards of living. It is only when the state manipulates and over regulates free markets that capitalism fails. However, capitalism usually takes the blame for the failures of statism.

"Net Futility . . ."

In about 350 words Professor Munger explains a lot of what you need to know about net neutrality and, as a bonus, severely dents the analysis of a piece on the Jon Stewart Show

The problem is that, as always on the John Stewart show, silly and superficial ideology is substituted for actual analysis.  The FCC is trying hard to "protect" net neutrality, not to eliminate it. And the FCC should be our primary concern.  That is the real threat to the internet, folks:  The FCC is using net neutrality to try to control things.  Far from a benefit, they are the bad guys. 

"School Lunch Revolution: How the Free Market Is Tackling Bad Cafeteria Food"

I score it free market, 1; government-funded-and-operated cafeterias, 0.

As Washington spins itself in circles trying to make school lunch programs healthier, here's a hint at how the free market could come to bear. The investment fund Revolution Growth, run by AOL co-founder Steve Case, just announced that it's putting $30 million into Revolution Foods, a company founded eight years ago by two mothers devoted to improving cafeteria food at their childrens' school.

Co-founder and CEO Kristin Groos tells TechCrunch that she and partner Kirsten Saenz Tobey saw that "there was a large scale business opportunity to address the intersection of healthy, affordable, kid-designed, and loved meals."

Three more about one of my least favorite federal laws *evah*

Michael Tanner, Cato: "Obamacare: Still Failing ".

Perhaps the worst news is coming from states where next year’s insurance premiums have already been announced. This will undoubtedly come as a big shock to anyone who hasn’t been paying attention, but the premiums are going up. A handful of small and niche insurers are requesting smaller increases, and a few have lowered rates, news eagerly seized upon by Obamacare supporters. But, in reality, most of the major insurers are calling for double-digit increases next year.

Laura Unger, Louisville Courier-Journal, "More patients flocking to ERs under Obamacare":

It wasn't supposed to work this way, but since the Affordable Care Act took effect in January, Norton Hospital has seen its packed emergency room become even more crowded, with about 100 more patients a month. . . .

That's just the opposite of what many people expected under Obamacare, particularly because one of the goals of health reform was to reduce pressure on emergency rooms by expanding Medicaid and giving poor people better access to primary care.

Investors.com editorial, "ObamaCare's Looming Subsidy Overpayment Crisis":

Lawmakers have learned that ObamaCare could end up overpaying insurance subsidies by as much as $152 billion. That's more than the deficit cut Washington once promised ObamaCare would produce.

June 10, 2014

"Highway (trust fund) robbery"

This should stop.

This is a classic Washington crisis by the numbers. Congress sets up a “trust fund” — in this case, the Highway Trust Fund — and depletes it by spending the cash on projects that have nothing to do with highways. When there’s no money left, taxes must be raised. . . . 

If he gets the money, there’s no assurance he will spend it on tumbling bridges and crumbling highways. This White House has been spending the money intended for bridges and highways on niceties, such as bike paths, sidewalks, hiking trails and landscaping. Billions more go to high-speed rail, trolleys and other expensive mass-transit projects.

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