URLs du Jour

2009-12-14

  • More reckless demagoguery from President Obama.
    During a taped interview broadcast Sunday night on CBS' 60 Minutes, Obama blasted banking executives for opposing tighter regulations on Wall Street and for awarding themselves multimillion-dollar bonuses after they had repaid federal bailout money.

    "I did not run for office to be helping out a bunch of, you know, fat-cat bankers on Wall Street," Obama said.

    Well, thank goodness he voted against it! Oh, wait, he didn't.

    The original link is from USA Today, and they are not shy about quoting someone who points out the blindingly obvious:

    High unemployment is creating a political problem for Obama's team and "they're trying to make political points whenever they can," [banking consultant Bert] Ely said.
    During the campaign, Obama decried the "same old Washington games", but he's playing one of the oldest: when you're out of ideas, find a scapegoat to divert attention.

  • Charles Lane makes a lot of sense:
    With unemployment stuck around 10 percent, President Obama has pledged "to take every responsible step to accelerate the pace of job growth." Here's a thought: Instead of trying to "create" jobs by tweaking this tax break or increasing that spending program, why not stop doing things that destroy jobs?
    His three specific recommendations are right out of the loony-libertarian (i. e. Pun Salad's) playbook:

    1. End federal protectionism and price supports for sugar.
    2. Repeal the Davis-Bacon Act.
    3. Reduce the federal minimum wage.

    You wouldn't be surprised to get those recommendations from (say) the Cato Institute or Reason, but (amazingly) Charles Lane is a member of the Washington Post editorial page staff, and that's where his article appears. What's next? Will the WaPo start competing with the Wall Street Journal for right-wing/libertarian readers? Cool!

  • Writing at the Volokh Conspiracy, Harvey Silvergate is promoting his new book, Three Felonies a Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent. Today's topic is so-called "honest services" fraud, a little gotcha in federal law that (during a recent Supreme Court session), Justice Breyer observed could make lawbreakers out of an estimated 140 million Americans every single working day.

    Silvergate is a relatively rare figure: an ACLU-liberal guy who consistently champions civil libertarianism. Good for him.

  • If you get warm-n-fuzzies when you spend a little extra for picking up "Fair Trade" coffee at your local store, you may not want to ruin them by clicking here.

  • Also at Marginal Revolution, Professor Tabarrok has a Paul Samuelson Memorial Blog Post: Asteroid Deflection as a Public Good. Professor Samuelson wrote Pun Salad's college econ textbook; fortunately, the damage was short-lived.

  • At the Freakonomics blog, Stephen Dubner posted a brain-teaser last week: name goods and services that are legal when done for free, but quickly become illegal when money changes hands.

    There's an obvious one—at least for those of us with minds in the gutter—but there's a big one that not a single one of the very smart commenters to the original post mentioned. See if you can get it before Eric Morris tells you what it is.


Last Modified 2012-10-05 8:44 AM EDT