17 Apr 2014

Paul Krugman’s Compensation Package: Liiiiiitle Bit Awkward

Krugman 11 Comments

As you can imagine, many of my colleagues in the geeconosphere and on social media thought this Gawker piece on Krugman was absolutely hilarious:

In late February, the City University of New York announced that it had tapped Princeton economist and New York Times blogger Paul Krugman for a distinguished professorship at CUNY’s Graduate Center and its Luxembourg Income Study Center, a research arm devoted to studying income patterns and their effect on inequality.

About that. According to a formal offer letter obtained under New York’s Freedom of Information Law, CUNY intends to pay Krugman $225,000, or $25,000 per month (over two semesters), to “play a modest role in our public events” and “contribute to the build-up” of a new “inequality initiative.” It is not clear, and neither CUNY nor Krugman was able to explain, what “contribute to the build-up” entails.

It’s certainly not teaching. “You will not be expected to teach or supervise students,” the letter informs Professor Krugman, who replies: “I admit that I had to read it several times to be clear … it’s remarkably generous.” (After his first year, Krugman will be required to host a single seminar.)

Don’t get me wrong, I can see why people are loving this, but strictly speaking, is this hypocritical?

Let me pose it this way: Progressive bloggers were having a comparable bout of glee when it came to light that in the early 1970s one member of a famous brother-duo explained to Hayek that he could collect Social Security if he came to the United States. I remember at the time (when the story broke, not back in the early 1970s) thinking that yes, I could obviously see why they would be laughing about it, but that strictly speaking that didn’t make any of the people involved hypocrites.


(Also, Virginia Postrel has a good post explaining that CUNY is using Krugman for branding purposes; he is the Scarlett Johannson of income inequality.)

17 Apr 2014


Economics, Gene Callahan, Humor, Movie Reviews, Nick Rowe, Police, Potpourri, Shameless Self-Promotion, Tom Woods 22 Comments

==> Dan Sanchez has a great review of the new Captain America movie. However, MAJOR SPOILERS. If you are borderline, I would strongly nudge you to go watch it; it was a lot better than I had hoped. Then after you watch it, read Dan’s review.

==> I was on the Power Trading Radio show recently. In the beginning we discuss my upcoming Mises Academy class, titled, “How Government Wrecks the Economy.” (Class starts next week!)

==> Jimmy Carter thinks the NSA is spying on him, but I’d have to guess his emails would be pretty boring.

==> The PhotoShop botch on this Jay Carney puff piece is hilarious. Make sure you see what happened with his kid’s pinky. (BTW, I don’t think the issue is that the Carney’s don’t actually own books. Rather, I think it’s that they wanted to have some “safe” books to cover up everything. I run into the same issue when I’m doing videos from my office with the bookshelf behind me. I have to glance over the titles to make sure there’s not something awkward there, to be discovered when I finally receive the recognition and scrutiny that I deserve in my head. Fortunately, the most radical things on my bookshelf were written by Robert P. Murphy.)

==> Matt Taibbi has some good anecdotes about the two-tiered justice system. But remember kids, we need the State to ensure that the rich don’t just buy verdicts.

==> I have stunned crowds before by explaining that leading macro models that (supposedly) guide the Fed don’t have banks in them, and now Nick Rowe points out that they don’t have land either. I never even thought of that. (Nick says this has relevance to negative real interest rates.)

==> Larken Rose has some really snappy answers for Tom Woods on a stateless society.

==> Gene Callahan offers up a defense of modest State immigration control that I will soon obliterate. But go ahead and read it now.

16 Apr 2014

Closing the Border Keeps You IN

Bundy Ranch, Conspiracy, Shameless Self-Promotion 30 Comments

I’m sure this will go over with nary a peep:

15 Apr 2014

Josie the Outlaw Is Happyyyyyy

Josie the Outlaw 150 Comments

This is great. First she establishes her street cred with tough videos like this (over a quarter million views and counting), and now she reveals that she wants people to be happy. I imagine the hardcore libertarians will soon denounce her.

14 Apr 2014

Law Without the State? Murphy on Tom Woods Show

private law, Shameless Self-Promotion, Tom Woods 150 Comments

For those who prefer YouTube:

14 Apr 2014

Economics at the Movies

Economics, Humor 16 Comments

Tyler Cowen: “When I am watching a movie I often think ‘why isn’t the Coase theorem holding here?’”

Kyle Reese: “Listen, and understand. That terminator is out there. It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead.”

13 Apr 2014

Thoughts on Palm Sunday

Religious 37 Comments

Today is Palm Sunday. From Matthew 21: 1-11:

21 Now when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage,[a] at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to Me. 3 And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and immediately he will send them.”

4 All[b] this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying:

5 “Tell the daughter of Zion,
‘Behold, your King is coming to you,
Lowly, and sitting on a donkey,
A colt, the foal of a donkey.’”[c]
6 So the disciples went and did as Jesus commanded them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt, laid their clothes on them, and set Him[d] on them. 8 And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying:

“Hosanna to the Son of David!
‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’[e]
Hosanna in the highest!”
10 And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, “Who is this?”

11 So the multitudes said, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee.”

There is obviously a lot one could say about all this, but for me, the most striking thing is just how fickle people are. The same crowds that were praising Jesus as a King on Sunday would, on Friday, be demanding His crucifixion.

The takeaway for me is twofold:

(1) Don’t worry about it when people act like you’re amazing when they first encounter you, then denounce you to the world a short while later. True, it might be because you’re a monster, or it could just be…that’s how people are. Whatever unfairness has happened to you, is nothing like what happened to Jesus. And yet look at the grace with which He handled the situation.

(2) If you have a powerful but difficult message to convey, don’t bother trying to win over “the masses.” They are fickle and even if they are totally behind you on Sunday, they could be led astray by a few plotting loudmouths to call for your death on Friday. Instead, follow Albert Jay Nock’s lead and go after the Remnant (which of course is a Biblical reference).

12 Apr 2014

More From the “These Feds Are Almost as Bad as Mexicans!” Crew

Bundy Ranch 110 Comments

Maybe the Fox clip in the last post was too subtle. Thank goodness we have Facebook, which is anything but:

2014.04 Bundy Illegals

And my comment, as well as some others (I blacked out the names):

2014.04 FB comments on Bundy

Note how many Shares the top thing got–that is humongous.

Besides the underlying sentiment here being objectionable, it’s also stupid. The same government that has the power to build fences and surveillance to keep out all those pesky day laborers who don’t speak English very well (though much better than you speak Spanish), has the power to keep you in when they drop the hammer.

Well at this point I’m mad at just about everybody on this issue, so it’s time for bed.