URLs du Jour


  • A couple very different responses to the following excerpt from yesterday's story about recent changes to credit card regulation.
    "It will be a different business," said Edward L. Yingling, the chief executive of the American Bankers Association, which has been lobbying Congress for more lenient legislation on behalf of the nation's biggest banks. "Those that manage their credit well will in some degree subsidize those that have credit problems."
    Perhaps most typical is Bruce McQuain's (sensible) reaction at QandO:
    You begin to wonder, "why bother"? You pay your mortgage on time and end up subsidizing those who don't. You manage your household finances well and end up paying to bail out institutions which didn't. You stay on top of your credit cards and pay them off regularly and now you'll be subsidizing those who don't.
    But at EconLog, Bryan Caplan strikes a contrarian note:
    Wrong, wrong, wrong. When you make lending to high-risk people less attractive, the result is not worse terms for low-risk people who have been profitable all along. The result is that high-risk people get less credit. They used to be able to get credit despite their credit-unworthiness by paying extra; if the law forbids this, why lend to them?
    So… who knows? Some of Bryan's commenters point out that there's a question of to what extent regulations require "equal treatment" of low-risk and high-risk credit customers, and even I can see how that might mess up the analysis.

    What's nearly certain, however, is the usual results of sweeping onerous regulation: unforeseen consequences for which nobody in Congress who voted for this legislation will admit responsibility.

  • Down in Massachusetts, the legislature has approved a hike in the sales tax from 5% to 6.25%. I liked this bit from the linked Boston Globe article:
    "Maybe we should call this the New Hampshire economic stimulus bill," Senator Robert L. Hedlund, a Weymouth Republican, said with sarcasm.
    … but I'm not sure if that's actually sarcasm at all. If Senator Hedlund had said instead, "Hey, that's great. Just fantastic. I think this will really help our economy."—I think that would have been sarcasm.

    Anyway, to any and all Massachusetts readers: come on up. Buy stuff.

  • Yet another Obama campaign talking point turns out to be demagogic hot air. Anyone keeping count?

  • What geeks on a decent budget and a cool (albeit impractical) idea can accomplish: a working computer with components mounted inside a clear acrylic desk. (Via, of course, GeekPress.)