Well it’s time to post my various links, because my Firefox browser tabs are now bigger than the Fed’s balance sheet. (Ba-DUMP. Thanks folks, I’ll be here all week. Remember to tip your waitress.)
* For a while now I’ve conjectured that “the big one” could happen when a Chinese finance minister says something at a press conference regarding US Treasurys that gets slightly mistranslated and causes a worldwide stampede for the exits. This is dangerously close to my scenario.
* It really cracks me up when Paul Krugman can only explain hostile commenters as being “paid trolls.” For what it’s worth, I don’t think Captain Freedom is on Christopher Hitchens’ payroll. Daniel Kuehn probably is on Soros’ payroll, but I don’t think DK knows it, and I think his commentary here is off the clock.
* My hats off to Bryan Caplan for looking like a wimp by standing up to libertarian warmongers. I think violence is vastly overrated, and that (for example) the area we call the United States would be much freer today if the Founding Fathers hadn’t resorted to arms, but instead had continued to write and lecture the masses.
* Lew Rockwell links to the list of dangerous professions, and soldier isn’t in the top 20. (I don’t know what the timeframe is for the list; maybe in 1968 the ranking would be much different.) I’m trying to think of something analogous to “freedom isn’t free,” like “cheddar isn’t cheap.” But probably we shouldn’t even go down that road.
* Here’s an interesting analysis from a SF Fed economist on the interest rate risk facing the Fed. (HT2 Bob Wenzel) Even though I was accused of tinfoil hattery for my interpretation of the Fed’s accounting rule change, I think this guy is saying the same thing about the Fed’s ability to preserve its capital in spite of massive losses.
* A hilarious dissection of finance guru Dave Ramsey. For the record, I love listening to Ramsey’s show, I just think he is very naive when it comes to the conventional faith in mutual funds, and of course I disagree strongly with his invective against whole life insurance. The other thing in this video touches on a pattern I noticed during the financial bubble–a lot of the women on CNBC etc. would timidly say, “Should we be worried about these trends?” and the cocksure guys would tell the ladies not to worry their pretty little heads, the big boys had it all under control. Riiiiiight.
* One last point on this “Can You Tax a Rich Man?” stuff: Landsburg quotes from Krugman’s textbook on the distinction between the statutory and economic incidence of a tax. I think that’s fine–I had the same idea–but strictly speaking these are not EXACTLY the same things. If the government levies a $5 per pack surcharge on the people selling cigarettes, the supply and demand curve elasticities could be such that the pre-tax equilibrium price of a pack goes up by (say) $4.75. In that case, even though the retailer is sending a check for $5 to the government for every pack of cigarettes he sells, he’s really only out 25 cents, with the consumer picking up the rest. However, in the case Landsburg was discussing, nobody is denying that the rich guy would be bearing the full monetary brunt of the tax. I.e. the rich guy is going to send in the $84 million to the IRS, and the rich guy isn’t going to raise his prices to be able to shift the tax onto somebody else. Rather, Landsburg was arguing that if the government uses that revenue windfall to increase its own usage of real resources, then those prices will rise and impoverish people other than the rich guy, who (by hypothesis) wasn’t consuming in the first place. So it’s the same spirit, but strictly speaking it’s not exactly the same type of analysis.
* Here’s one rich man that Landsburg wants to tax (not really).
* I don’t endorse this theory, but it’s worth considering. A guy posted at ZeroHedge says that we’re being set up for a deflationary crash.
* Alex Tabarrok points to yet another chapter in our collapsing rule of law.
* Glenn Greenwald busted Obama on the amazing about-face of the “official” reasons we’re in Libya. The flip flop on regime change was so fast it is truly amazing.
* Yet another fantastic blog post by Glenn Greenwald summarizing the two-tiered justice system in America. It’s this kind of post that makes you say, “Ah OK, this is why GG is so huge. That took a lot of work and boy he has to stay on top of this stuff 24-7.”
* If you’ve never thought much about the economics of fuel efficiency mandates (i.e. regulations saying cars and trucks need to get X miles per gallon by year Y), you might like this one I wrote a week or so ago.
* I spell out the problems with the “budget slashing” Paul Ryan plan.
* My interview with a radio host who knew a surprising amount about my career.
* I draw from the Herbert Hoover well yet again, but this time I make my point by quoting from the very article I am criticizing. Really, I think you should check out the absurd non sequitur the Salon writer made when “proving” Hoover relied on free markets and that’s why we had the Great Depression.