Thursday, June 18, 2009
Friday, June 12, 2009
The traditional paradigm has this strange dichotomy, in which market behavior is rational and self-interested but policymaker behavior is perfectly altruistic. These idealized constructs are very limiting. Note that the Left tends to complain about the limitations of the rational model of the market actor, while the Right tends to complain about the altruistic model of the policymaker.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Baucus, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and a key figure in the health debate, has publicly lectured Elmendorf, saying he has a moral duty to be "creative" and deliver the favorable budget estimates "we have to have" to win broad support.
The Director of CBO oversees the agency's work in providing objective, insightful, timely, and clearly presented information about budgetary and economic issues.
The bill would give the federal government power over local building codes. It requires that by 2012 codes must require that new buildings be 30 percent more efficient than they would have been under current regulations. By 2016, that figure rises to 50 percent, with increases scheduled for years after that....
According to the bill's advocates, America's buildings account for perhaps 40 percent of U.S. greenhouse emissions, and technology is available for builders to meet the targets in ways that are economical for building owners. Much of the problem is old buildings that waste huge amounts of energy, which wouldn't necessarily be touched by the new code. But it would be good if builders met these efficiency goals with new construction.
Saturday, June 6, 2009
A poor Kansas farm boy who received the Medal of Honor for his heroism at Normandy ... lit up when he described the breakfasts during basic training. "Every kind of cereal you could imagine!" he said. "And pancakes and bacon and eggs."Don't let anybody fool you with their nostalgia for the 'good ole days' when income distribution was more 'fair' (Paulie Krugman). While income distribution was perhaps more even (mathematically speaking), the rising tide has lifted all boats. If you've been reading my blog, you know that, IMHO, one of the leading causes of our current mess is the wuss-ification of America and a generation of adults that knew only good times and had expectations that they were entitled to no form of economic pain. Mutliple Re-fi's, using your home as an ATM; spending more than you take in; etc... I'm not saying that those expectations were idiotic, b/c those adults were just living off a lifetime of experiences that taught them it was okay. To find the silver lining, I'm hoping this depression we are entering will teach my generation the power of living within our means. I know over the course of the last year, I've learned the true power of the dollar. I've been poor as dirt recently and it's a lesson that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. The experiences of the first 23 years of my life taught me little about how money is earned, but the last year and a half has been quite educational. For the sake of our future prosperity, I hope others are learning similar lessons.
The wuss-ification of our nation must stop. Life is a beautiful process but much of that beauty is found in the relative difficulties in our individual lives. The darkness in life, makes the light that much more cherished. Children need to be taught how to cope with the inequalities of life. A motto I was entrenched with early in life is that, 'Life isn't fair'. Today there seems to be a rising tide of 'When life isn't fair, go cry about it to somebody and we can fix this problem'. By doing this, we are crippling children from a young age instead of helping them build some emotional muscle. The following two videos are disturbing:
Friday, June 5, 2009
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
The consequences of that night have lingered for the last 20 years. At some time shortly following the demonstrations, the Chinese leadership made a commitment to One-Party Rule and suppression of civil liberties, while freeing up economic activity and fueling the greatest exodus from poverty that has happened in the history of mankind. In essence, the government said, "We will not give you democracy, but we will make you rich". And, as a libertarian, this is the concept with which I struggle most. China's growth has been imperfect, but it has been overwhelming. "让一部分人先富起来". Let some people get rich first. That's what Deng Xiaoping said. The rising tide of prosperity will lift all boats. And it's true. The poorest of China's poor are unbelievably poor. But they are still significantly better off than 20 years ago. I read an interesting book comparing the paths of Russia versus China in their exit from communism. Russia pursued a path of democracy first, economic freedoms second. Russia's democracy today is in shambles and so is their economy. China pursued a path of economic freedom first, democracy later. And while democracy is nonexistent, their economy is written about fawningly daily. So while I wish China were a free country (and I know that someday it will be), I almost have to respect the contradiction it presents to my personal philosophies.
Since Blogger is blocked in China right now, none of my friends there can access this post. For some, it's part of the sacrifice you make when you move to an authoritarian country. But not all of my friends moved to China; some were born there. For them, they are denied access to the flavors of life by the Great Chinese Firewall. They are denied access to differing opinions, certain movies, art and music. And conversely, they are not allowed to share their unique flavor with the world either. Those of us outside of China are denied exposure to a vast array of amazing peoples because the government decides so. And I find that unfortunate.
I'm not even close to being done hashing out this philosophical struggle. This post hasn't clearly shaped either side of my conflict, but nonetheless, I wanted to express some thoughts on today's significance. The rest of the day will be filled with links to words, videos and sounds surrounding 6/4. There are ugly sides to everyone's history. This is one of China's. Hopefully they can grow up and deal with it someday soon.
Monday, June 1, 2009
He should make clear that the overarching objectives are to create a profitable company that makes cars that people want to buy, and that are more fuel-efficient.
Friday, May 29, 2009
Where that becomes troublesome, however, is the moment when government comes to be seen as the sole source of security. What we, the public, need to understand is that the best guarantor of security is not government. It's economic growth. While we want to believe otherwise, the cold fact is that government can't guarantee economic permanency. Nobody, and nothing, can.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Mr. CLINTON: When anybody asks me [whether the fact that the Clinton administration did nothing to stop the 1990s stock bubble is the main reason to be skeptical it would have done much to stop the housing bubble], ... I look at them and ask them, “Do you think this would have happened if we had been there? Look me in the face and say yes.” I haven’t found any takers yet.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
If you want people to be wealthier, they have to create additional wealth.
To my mind, the real scandal is not that a large corporation doesn't pay people more. The scandal is that so many people have so little economic value.
I'm up in the Mountains of New Mexico for a few more days. Regular blogging will resume shortly.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Thursday, April 30, 2009
They are fighting a culture war of attrition with economic tools
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
“I am not prepared to have my 29-year record in the United States Senate decided by the Pennsylvania Republican primary electorate -- not prepared to have that record decided by that jury, the Pennsylvania Republican primary electorate,” Specter said.
Between 2004 and last year, scores for young minority students increased, but so did those of white students, leaving the achievement gap stubbornly wide (emphasis mine)
The results point to the long-term crisis in many of the nation’s high schools, and could lead to proposals for more federal attention to them in the rewrite of the No Child law
Friday, April 24, 2009
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Jeremy Tyler, a 6-foot-11 high school junior whom some consider the best American big man since Greg Oden, says he will be taking a new path to the N.B.A. He has left San Diego High School and said this week that he would skip his senior year to play professionally in Europe.You mean this Greg Oden?
Monday, April 20, 2009
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Suppose that, looking ahead, the Fed commits itself to producing significant inflation. In this case, while nominal interest rates could remain at zero, real interest rates — interest rates measured in purchasing power — could become negative. If people were confident that they could repay their zero-interest loans in devalued dollars, they would have significant incentive to borrow and spend.
If the game is simple, playing is not. The sport turns on the donkeys’ stubborn nature, a quality that is encouraged by the referees. Some are trained to buck or to duck their necks — sending the players sliding to the floor — and referees reward the mischief with carrots. Other donkeys plant themselves under the hoop, providing players with a reliable scoring opportunity.
Friday, April 17, 2009
(1) Cavs vs (8) Pistons
What was one of the marquee matchups the last few years in the Eastern Conference has been demoted to what should be a first round laugher. The Pistons were going to struggle some this year and it would've been a surprise for them to challenge for the EC, but I didn't expect them to be 8 seed material. Who knew that Chauncey was that valuable to the team, and who knew Iverson was going to struggle THIS much with the Pistons. Lebron gives everyone trouble, but he has been the bane of the Pistons' playoff existence the last few years.
Lebron is on a mission, this team has playoff experience. Cavs in 4.
(2) Boston vs (7) Chicago
I'm not even going to mention KG during this breakdown. KG was really overrated for this team and they won't miss KG at all. KG didn't bring anything to the table for the Celts and they won't miss KG at all. Ok, I failed. But Chicago is young; they were a promising team a few years ago, the up-and-coming team of the EC, but that went down in epic flames. Seriously, Deng, Wallace, Williams, Heinrich, Gordon. They were supposed to be good. That was a few years ago, and while D. Rose has been great this year, I think people have written the Celts off, but they won't let that happen. I actually see the Celts having an easy time with the Bulls.
KG's injury sucks, but I think the Celts have a surprise in them. Celts in 6.
(3) Orlando vs (6) Philly
Orlando is going to struggle. They've been playing terribly of late and I think they are assumed to be the only challengers left to the Cavs, and I don't like that combination. I can see them subconciously getting ahead of themselves and worrying too much about how they are going to handle the Cavs while overlooking their first two rounds. Well, after they lose Game 1, they'll be in for a struggle. That's right, I'm calling this series as the surprise battle that nobody saw coming. The point of this playoffs breakdown is not to be accurate but to make outlandish predictions. Responsible journalism gets thrown out the door when talking about sports (unlike my completely professional job while covering all other subjects). Philly is not a good team, but I want them to be good for a few games. Orlando seriously outmatches the 6'ers and I can barely even remember the name of the 6'ers coach, but I gots a feeling about this one.
Orlando in a 7 game battle.
(4) Atlanta vs (5) Dwyane Wade
Atlanta shot outta the gates this season, settled into the 4 slot and just kind consistently rode that wave to the seasons end. Miami's 2-12 players are nothing amazing (yet) but I like Spoelstra walking the sidelines and Wade doing insane '06 theatrics. I have a feeling this will be a popular upset pick (which bothers me), b/c I think the Hawks are really good. If I was being responsible, I'd pick them to win this series and then give the Cavs one hell of a battle. But I'm an idiot and I want to see Wade and Lebron battle in round 2. So, selfishly, I'm picking the Heat. I just want you to be warned, I'm probably wrong. The Hawks are a fun team to like when they are the 7 or 8 seed. There is something unlikable about them in Round 1 as the 4 seed. They become likable again if they play the Cavs in Round 2. Write that down.
Wade in 6
More worthless predictions: Cavs and Celts advancing to ECF. Shockingly, I have the Cavs going to the finals.
(1) Lakers vs (8) Utah
I think Carlos Boozer hates his life. As a Duke fan, I really liked him in college. As a person, I really found him despicable for screwing the Cavs like he did 3/4 years back. I can never really be a fan of his after that sleaze move he pulled. He had a verbal agreement with the Cavs, they left him not under contract for like an hour, and he jumped ship. Yeah, it's tough to pass up a few million and the opportunity to be the Alpha-Dog; and the Cavs GM was an idiot for even letting that situation be possible, but still, it left a bad taste in my mouth. I'm going to hold that against him until he saves the life of some kid or something. Also, as much as Chris Paul is admired and as awesome as his game is, I can't let go of the fact that he punched Julius Hodges in the balls during the ACC tournament a few years ago. That's just low; that's something a soccer player would do. You play the game, and you get every legal advantage you can get. You do not punch a guy in the balls. Let me repeat that: YOU DO NOT PUNCH A GUY IN THE BALLS. I hold those two events against those two players.
I digress. The Lakers are good. And if they can find a way to work around Bynum; they will be great. They can go big; they can go small; they can go deep; they can go Kobe. The have Phil doing crazy Asian stuff on the bench. They've got Mental Jack courtside hollering at officials. They can't be beat. This whole Kobe/Lebron factor reminds me of Obi-Won Kenobi and Darth Vader in Star Wars IV: A New Hope when Obi-Won and Darth are about to do battle:
Darth Vader: He is here.The 'I must face him alone' part is exactly what is going on between Kobe and Lebron right now; I'm just not sure who is Darth Vader and who is Obi-Won (ignore the fact that Kobe raped a girl. Ok cheap joke, Kobe if you're reading this blog, I was joking). I see them both just blitzing through their conferences. More on Obi-Won/Vader later...
Governor Tarkin: Obi-Wan Kenobi? What makes you think so?
Darth Vader: A tremor in the Force. The last time I felt it was in the presence of my old master.
Governor Tarkin: Surely he must be dead by now.
Darth Vader: Don't underestimate the Force.
Governor Tarkin: The Jedi are extinct, their fire has gone out of the universe. You, my friend, are all that's left of their religion.
[answering a comm signal]
Governor Tarkin: Yes?
Voice over comm: We have an emergency alert in detention block AA-23.
Governor Tarkin: The Princess? Put all sections on alert.
Darth Vader: Obi-wan *is* here. The Force is with him.
Governor Tarkin: If you're right, he must not be allowed to escape.
Darth Vader: Escape is not his plan. I must face him, alone.
I hate picking the Cavs and Lakers to go to the finals, b/c that's what everybody is picking. But I'm not going to pick against the grain just to do it. That's stupid. The Lakers and Cavs are simply the cream of the crop in their respective conferences. Obi-Won and Vader. I think Lebron is going to do ridiculous things throughout the playoffs and leave his stamp on the game. In fact, he's been doing that all season. His team is quite mediocre relative to their record and 9ppg advantage over opponents (100ppg scored vs. 91ppg against). The Cavs are unstopable. So I'm picking the Lakers. I love Kobe, but he is the perfect Vader. And that's the thing, Vader beats Obi-Won in their Death Star battle. But Lebron is going to leave his stamp on the game, just like Old Ben Kenobi. Lebron is going to influence this story for years to come and go down in history as a better player than Kobe. But Kobe gets this one to cement his status.
Three broad steps must be taken to remake this failed, unstable model: one, regulating global finance; two, correcting global economic, social and environmental imbalances; and three, devising ways to make sure economic progress is aligned with social needs.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Kevin Garnett isn't ready to start the playoffs, and Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers said Thursday that there's a strong possibility that he will miss the entire postseason.Hmmmm, that changes things.