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Monday, December 28, 2009

Cost and Outcomes in US healthcare

We know the numbers but neither the causes nor the solution.
The recent Senate bill will not change this curve by much.

American Exceptionalism Strikes Again | Angry Bear

Stimulus timing - Paul Krugman Blog - NYTimes.com

Simple explanation of impact of stimulus on growth.
First derivative is important.

Stimulus timing - Paul Krugman Blog - NYTimes.com

Jonathan Gruber - 'Cadillac' tax isn't a tax -- it's a plan to finance real health reform - washingtonpost.com

A lesson in framing.
The Cadillac tax is not a tax. It is actually an elimination of a tax break on wealthy Americans.


Jonathan Gruber - 'Cadillac' tax isn't a tax -- it's a plan to finance real health reform - washingtonpost.com

“Is Blaming AAA Investors Wall-Street Serving PR?” « naked capitalism

Investment Banks ripped off investors by selling them fraudulently marked bonds.

“Is Blaming AAA Investors Wall-Street Serving PR?” « naked capitalism

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Morgan Stanley Walking Away from Properties

First class  business in a first class way.

What does this say about the CRE market?
What if more homeowners start to do  this? Another leg down in the housing market.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Bonuses Were Paid Fraudulently

Trader and management bonuses were based on fraudulent profits and should be clawed back.
Unfortunately this will not happen.
This is another good reason for a windfall profit tax.


Former Barclays Chief Points Out Bonuses Were Paid Fraudulently « naked capitalism

Thursday, December 03, 2009

What's the Plan for Afghanistan?

There is no plan.

What's the Plan for Afghanistan? | Mother Jones

Public Works

But it's not as though the United States hasn't started some big public works projects over the past decade or so; it just hasn't been doing them here at home. We've spent billions constructing military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan, for example, and another billion or more on a giant embassy in Baghdad and another one in Pakistan. Needless to say, those "public works" projects are a drain on the U.S. economy rather than a source of additional productivity.

Obsidian Wings: But I’ve Been Unfaithful, I’ve Been Traveling Abroad

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Time to Stick the Knife In

Markets are good at telling you the current price of things. They are not good at forecasting the future. Non market participants often misinterpret this.

Financial Armageddon: Time to Stick the Knife In

"Independent Does Not Mean Unaccountable"

Thoma channels Bernanke who is defending the Fed against those who would strip it of powers.
He admits the Fed "did not do all that it could have to constrain excessive risk-taking in the financial sector in the period leading up to the crisis."

Economist's View: "Independent Does Not Mean Unaccountable"

Dean Baker is not impressed.

Nor is Naked Capitalism

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Matthew Yglesias » Broder on Afghanistan: Better a Quick Choice Than the Right One

The problem with the right wing is that many thing this way

"Given that reality, the urgent necessity is to make a decision -- whether or not it is right."

Usually they would not be honest enough to admit that fact.

Matthew Yglesias » Broder on Afghanistan: Better a Quick Choice Than the Right One

The All-Inclusive All-You-Can-Eat Buffet Guide « Eating The Road

An American classic: The all you can eat buffet. I prefer the Chinese.

The All-Inclusive All-You-Can-Eat Buffet Guide « Eating The Road

Ayn Rand: The Boring Bitch is Back | The Big Picture

Good news: not every hedge fund manager is Randian.

Ayn Rand: The Boring Bitch is Back | The Big Picture

Japan as No. 1

Thirty years later. Vogel had a point. Just the title was wrong.

A more competitive America, he says, needs a much stronger government, an elite civil service composed of “the ablest young people of their generation” and a White House staffed by these new mandarins. Moral pressure needs to be felt again by Americans to bind their fragmented society together. “In the guise of pursuing freedoms, we have supported egoism and self-interest and have damaged group or common interests...we are more concerned with the rights of the deviant than the rights of the responsible citizen.
"
From the archive: One side of the success story | The Economist

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Right and Terrorists.

"This is literally true: the Right's reaction to yesterday's announcement -- we're too afraid to allow trials and due process in our country -- is the textbook definition of "surrendering to terrorists." It's the same fear they've been spewing for years. As always, the Right's tough-guy leaders wallow in a combination of pitiful fear and cynical manipulation of the fear of their followers. Indeed, it's hard to find any group of people on the globe who exude this sort of weakness and fear more than the American Right."

Glenn Greenwald - Salon.com

More Lessons from the Crisis - Federal Reserve Bank of New York

More Lessons from the Crisis - Federal Reserve Bank of New York

Saturday, November 07, 2009

U6

NY Times: Unemployment Measure U-6 Highest Since Great Depression

From David Leonhardt at the NY Times: Broader Measure of Unemployment Stands at 17.5% Excerpts:
Officially, the Labor Department’s broad measure of unemployment goes back only to 1994. But early this year, with the help of economists at the department, The New York Times created a version that estimates it going back to 1970.
...
If statistics went back so far, the measure would almost certainly be at its highest level since the Great Depression.

In all, more than one out of every six workers — 17.5 percent — were unemployed or underemployed in October. The previous high was 17.1 percent, in December 1982.
There is much more in the article, but this suggest that the BLS' "Alternative measure of labor underutilization U-6"1 is now at the highest level since the Great Depression.

1 "Total unemployed, plus all marginally attached workers plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of all civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers"

Thursday, November 05, 2009

On second thought?

Three cheer for college football towns - Nov. 5, 2009


11         Penn State University   State College, Pa. $  309,850         97

On Invoking God to Defend Mammon

Mark you this, Bassanio,
The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.
An evil soul producing holy witness
Is like a villain with a smiling cheek,
A goodly apple rotten at the heart:
O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath!

On Invoking God to Defend Mammon « naked capitalism

Sympathy for the Treasury

Interesting take. What is the difference between interpersonal relationships and corruption?


Interfluidity :: Sympathy for the Treasury

This also contains hints about how to handle small group meetings with people of disparate backgrounds and how not to answer questions. How does Treasury teach these skills?

Dark Pools and Regulations

More transparency is needed.

AllAboutAlpha.com» Hedge Fund Regulation Today's Post » What lurks for hedge funds beneath the deep, dark waters of dark pools?

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

The Hubris of Economics |

Economics forgot George E. P. Box’s most basic rule:

“Essentially, all models are wrong, but some are useful”



The Hubris of Economics | The Big Picture

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Where Did the Bush Tax Cuts Go?

The issue is who we are and what we want to be. A lot of the comments concern the fact that of course most of the tax cuts go to the top one percent because they pay the most taxes. The real point should is whether the tax system should be progressive or not. The tax cuts to the top 1% did not have to happen.


Economist's View: Where Did the Bush Tax Cuts Go?

Why do other countries care more about health care cost control?

The difference in spending is so great and the difference in outcome is so small that it is really hard to understand why we tolerate spending more.


Marginal Revolution: Why do other countries care more about health care cost control?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Just when you thought things were getting better.

The white house comment:
A White House spokesman, asked about the case, quipped: “I’ve found that, actually, the children of biracial couples can do pretty good.”

Louisiana Justice of the Peace Denies Marriage License to Interracial Couple - Associated Content - associatedcontent.com

Not the pride of Harvard Class '83.

http://tpmlivewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/10/vitter-refuses-to-comment-on-justice-who-wont-marry-interracial-couples.php

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Problem with Economics

Much of economic papers in behavioral science are "awful amateur-hour sociology".


D-squared Digest -- FOR bigger pies and shorter hours and AGAINST more or less everything else

Rebuilding employment

The most important economic problem facing the US today: how to grow jobs.There are only three ways to do it:
to expand employment in existing companies, to stimulate the creation of new businesses, and to recruit relocation of existing businesses from other regions.

UnderstandingSociety: Rebuilding employment


But the room for policy is not clear. The best, but long term effort, is to increase the number of highly educated employees in the area.
"The goal of increasing the percentage of baccalaureate-level adults in a region is a crucial element of our future economic success"

A CRE News Summary

Vacancy in commercial is growing. This means that banks will be forced to take another round of writedowns. Are they ready for it?

Calculated Risk: A CRE News Summary

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Fed Worries about CRE Grow

The next shoe to drop. Although it seems that much of this is already priced in the market, banks will have another round of bad earnings related to CRE. Vacancy rates reached 16%.

Calculated Risk: Fed Worries about CRE Grow

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Progress

Change in car safety has been dramatic since 1950. Remember that when wingnuts call for government to get off of their backs.


Marginal Revolution: Progress

Sunday, September 27, 2009

New England Foliage Map

Fall in New England

New England Foliage Map - Yankee Foliage - Your Source for New England Fall Foliage

Susquehanna

Profile of what makes a good trader. This could be about any one of the principals of quant trading firms by only changing a few details:
- Discipline
- Understanding of probability
- Willingness to take bets.
- Ability to lose money.

Philadelphia Magazine:

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A brilliant healthcare speech

Should be watched in full.



Delivering a brilliant healthcare speech - Credit Writedowns

[Our predecessors] knew that when any government measure, no matter how carefully crafted or beneficial, is subject to scorn; when any efforts to help people in need are attacked as un-American; when facts and reason are thrown overboard and only timidity passes for wisdom, and we can no longer even engage in a civil conversation with each other over the things that truly matter – that at that point we don’t merely lose our capacity to solve big challenges. We lose something essential about ourselves.

That large-heartedness – that concern and regard for the plight of others – is not a partisan feeling. It is not a Republican or a Democratic feeling. It, too, is part of the American character. Our ability to stand in other people’s shoes. A recognition that we are all in this together; that when fortune turns against one of us, others are there to lend a helping hand. A belief that in this country, hard work and responsibility should be rewarded by some measure of security and fair play; and an acknowledgement that sometimes government has to step in to help deliver on that promise

Cheating In The Context Of Marriage And Coase | The Distributed Republic

Cheating In The Context Of Marriage And Coase | The Distributed Republic

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The Evolution of Divorce

"now that the institutional model has lost its hold over the lives of American adults, sex, children, and intimacy can be had outside of ­marriage. All that remains unique to marriage today is the prospect of that high-quality emotional bond -- the soul-mate model. As a result, marriage is now disproportionately appealing to wealthier, better-­educated couples, because less-educated, less-wealthy couples often do not have the emotional, social, and financial resources to enjoy a high-quality soul-mate marriage."


The Evolution of Divorce > Publications > National Affairs

Boston Review — Malpractice

Dean Baker's proposal for healthcare reform.

Boston Review — Malpractice

Monday, August 31, 2009

Hpergamy

Another data point:

"Among the women, those with the greatest number of spouses were themselves considered high-quality mates, the hardest working..."


Marginal Revolution: Serial monogamy and hypergamous women

What If She Were Always in the Mood? | Psychology Today

What If She Were Always in the Mood? | Psychology Today

“The Savings Rate Has Recovered…if You Ignore the Bottom 99%” « naked capitalism

The top .01% of US (14,000 families) had a total savings of 171 billion. Half of all savings.
Stunning income distribution. And Republicans argue that slightly higher taxes will make these guys work less?


Guest Post: “The Savings Rate Has Recovered…if You Ignore the Bottom 99%” « naked capitalism

New evidence on international trade, offshoring, and US wages | vox - Research-based policy analysis and commentary from leading economists

This is a better interpretation than Krugman's "too soon to tell" explanation.
Less educated and lower wage US workers are hurt by globalization. The inverse is true for Chinese workers.


New evidence on international trade, offshoring, and US wages | vox - Research-based policy analysis and commentary from leading economists

Friday, August 28, 2009

Nation's Unemployment Outlook Improves Drastically

That is why vacations are so good.


Nation's Unemployment Outlook Improves Drastically After Fifth Beer | The Onion - America's Finest News Source

Edward Moore Kennedy

On torture.

Edward Moore Kennedy

Financial Armageddon: A Member of the Delusional Set Slips Up

Finally people are starting to look at the real unemployment number:
U6.

Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.



Financial Armageddon: A Member of the Delusional Set Slips Up

If the Median Economist Set Health Care Policy, Arnold Kling | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty

Reasonable solutions that are not being proposed.


If the Median Economist Set Health Care Policy, Arnold Kling | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty

Economist's View: "The Dangers Ahead for Bernanke"

Economist's View: "The Dangers Ahead for Bernanke"

Economist's View: The Size of the Bush Tax Cuts vs. the Cost of Health Care Reform

Ethical choices versus moral choices.

Economist's View: The Size of the Bush Tax Cuts vs. the Cost of Health Care Reform

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Why Poach Another’s Mate? Ask An Expert - TierneyLab Blog - NYTimes.com

Mate Poaching.

Why Poach Another’s Mate? Ask An Expert - TierneyLab Blog - NYTimes.com

How Shazam Works « Free Won’t

Sometimes Occum's razor does not apply.


How Shazam Works « Free Won’t

Matthew Yglesias » The Work Goes On

"The Dream shall Never Die"


Matthew Yglesias » The Work Goes On

More Parent-Child Quality Time? Thank Harvard - Economix Blog - NYTimes.com

Why are you spending so much time with your kids?
Early on I decided mine were not going to Harvard.

More Parent-Child Quality Time? Thank Harvard - Economix Blog - NYTimes.com

Is the Fundamental Attribution Error Fundamental or Even An Error?, Bryan Caplan | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty

It is not who, it is what the circumstances are?



Is the Fundamental Attribution Error Fundamental or Even An Error?, Bryan Caplan | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Obesity in 1956

This was the definitive fat American of 1956.


650_trixie.jpg (JPEG Image, 650x506 pixels)

Great Obits

"Remus Reid was a famous cowboy in the Montana Territory. His business empire grew to include acquisition of valuable equestrian assets and intimate dealings with the Montana railroad. Beginning in 1883, he devoted several years of his life to government service, finally taking leave to resume his dealings with the railroad. In 1887, he was a key player in a vital investigation run by the renowned Pinkerton Detective Agency. In 1889, Remus passed away during an important civic function held in his honor when the platform upon which he was standing collapsed."

Read the full story

Smile for the week ~ Angry Bear

Advice on writing research articles - Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science

Good review for both papers and presentations.

Advice on writing research articles - Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science

Marginal Revolution: Gompertz Law of Mortality, or, your body wasn't built to last

Probability of dying doubles every 8 years.


Marginal Revolution: Gompertz Law of Mortality, or, your body wasn't built to last

Monday, July 27, 2009

Rummy

“I’m not an apologist for Secretary Rumsfeld,” he said. “He’s a son of a bitch. And I told him that.”

FT.com / Books / Non-Fiction - Known knowns of Rumsfeld’s reign

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Afganistan

Franklin Spinney: The Taliban Rope-a-Dope

Marginal Revolution

There are many definitions of "sexy"

Marginal Revolution: *In Fed We Trust*

What Makes Health Care Different?,

Three points about why people are adverse to paying for health care.

1. Paying for health care is like paying for sex. People want healing to come as a gift, and paying for it demeans its value.

2. People who need health care are suffering. When someone is suffering, to compound their suffering by demanding payment feels immoral. I have noted the similarities with usury--which was deemed morally repugnant because back in the day the borrower was likely somebody who was having trouble feeding his family, not somebody who was trying to develop a fancy shopping mall.

3. Robin's view is that health care is something we want to give to others. It isn't so much whether your terminally ill grandmother wants hip surgery or not. You want her to have the best quality of life possible in what little time remains. Robin would say that, even more important, you want to signal to her and to others that you want this.



What Makes Health Care Different?, Arnold Kling | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty

Back to Business - A Second Act in the Mortgage Disaster - Series -

Never mind...

Back to Business - A Second Act in the Mortgage Disaster - Series - NYTimes.com

The State of MS

Mean Street: What Springsteen Can Teach Morgan Stanley’s John Mack - Deal Journal - WSJ

The psychology of overconfidence : The New Yorker

Confidence

The psychology of overconfidence : The New Yorker

Friday, June 26, 2009