URLs du Jour


  • Fans of Milton Friedman and Robert Heinlein will want to check out Fred R. Shapiro's "On Language" column where he checks out the origin of many politically-relevant phrases including "There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch." If I were less of a libertarian, I might support legislation requiring all candidates for public office to have that tattooed on their foreheads. Is that so wrong?

  • Drew Cline catches a recent press release from my own Congressperson, Carol Shea-Porter, that begins:
    Today, BP—one of the country’s major oil companies—announced a second-quarter profit of $9.47 billion.
    Today, Pun Salad—one of New Hampshire's minor blogs—announced its opinion that Carol Shea-Porter should be kept far, far, away from any decision-making involving energy policy.

  • But it's not just Democrat Congresscritters displaying their ignorance, it's also Republican presidential candidates. At the Freakonomics blog, Justin Wolfers notes John McCain's response to questioning on his proposed "gas tax holiday", specifically on the near-universal belief among economists that the benefits of the "holiday" would go to suppliers:
    STEPHANOPOULOS: How would you prevent that?

    MCCAIN: We would make them shamed into it. We, of course, know how to -- American public opinion. And we would penalize them, if necessary. But they wouldn't. They would pass it on.

    STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me ask you about...

    MCCAIN: But let me just finally say, Americans need trust and confidence in their government.

    Yeesh. Comments Wolfers:
    McCain’s response — that tax incidence is a function of shame — is completely novel to me. Does shame really determine oil prices? If so, why aren’t the oil companies already feeling ashamed of high oil prices? I don’t get it.

    And if shame doesn’t work, Mr. McCain would “penalize them.” Is he suggesting price controls? Or something else? Help me.

    My opinion: McCain can win on economic issues, because if he makes clear the distinctions between his (relatively) free-market policies and Obama's socialism-with-a-smile, most Americans will go for the former. But he has to stop treating economics, and economists, as the enemy.

  • How would you respond to an invitation to dinner under the stars with Hillary Clinton? I would suggest Shawn Macomber as your role model.