From June, 2014

Vox’s Detachment from Reality

Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry shows that “voxsplaining” is nothing more than taking a collection of talking points from the port side of the partisan divide and pretending that they explain complex policy issues, and further points out that those talking points are compiled in a manner that is at best misinformed, and at worst, utterly disingenuous. I think “disingenuous” is the proper adjective to use here; while Ezra Klein, Matthew Yglesias and others aren’t exactly the swiftest Porsches in the garage, they have to be smart enough to know that their voxsplanations don’t give the full story when it comes to policy debates. It…

It Is Time to Paraphrase Napoleon

For those who are not quite “Ready for Hillary,” my advice is to never interfere with the Clintons when they are in the process of destroying themselves: Hillary Clinton’s multimillion dollar fortune has caused some negative headlines during the media tour for the release of her new book “Hard Choices,” which is widely seen as a prelude to a potential 2016 presidential campaign. Clinton responded to criticism of her wealth in an interview with the Guardian newspaper published Saturday night by suggesting Americans won’t be concerned about the more than $100 million her family has reportedly earned in recent years because they’re not “truly…

Inherited Wealth and Societal Benefits

Contrary to popular belief, inherited wealth can be very good for the economy as a whole, as Greg Mankiw points out: From a policy perspective, we need to consider not only the direct effects on the family but also the indirect effects on the broader economy. Rising income inequality over the past several decades has meant meager growth in living standards for those near the bottom of the economic ladder, and one might worry that inherited wealth makes things worse. Yet standard economic analysis suggests otherwise. When a family saves for future generations, it provides resources to finance capital investments,…

Walmart Schools Timothy Egan

Behold. This is smart, informative, devastating PR on Walmart’s part, and others would do well to copy the company’s example when it comes to dealing with sloppy journalism. And as we know, Timothy Egan is one of the sloppiest journalists around.

Hypocrisy, Thy Name Is “Clinton”

Call me a revolutionary, but I’ve always thought that if one is an advocate of higher estate taxes, then one shouldn’t take advantage of even legal methods by which those taxes can be reduced. But try telling that to the putative next president of the United States, and her husband: Bill and Hillary Clinton have long supported an estate tax to prevent the U.S. from being dominated by inherited wealth. That doesn’t mean they want to pay it. To reduce the tax pinch, the Clintons are using financial planning strategies befitting the top 1 percent of U.S. households in wealth. These moves,…

Rose Mary Woods, Meet Lois Lerner

I am still in the midst of moving Hell, so blogging will remain slow, but let it be noted that the famous 18 and 1/2 minute gap in the Nixon tapes has at long last met its modern day match. A hard drive crash has eliminated all of the e-mails of Lois Lerner, the central figure in the scandal involving the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups. What’s more; a host of other figures from the scandal have also had their e-mails deleted, and the recycling of Lerner’s hard drive means that Lerner’s e-mails are likely lost forever, despite the fact that…

Blogging Has Been Sparse, Recently . . .

And you have no doubt noticed as much, gentle readers. The reason for the sparseness of blog posts is that I am moving. As everyone knows, the moving process is an utter nightmare is Hell on Earth is a fate worse than Death itself can be a bit trying and time consuming, which means that less time is left for blogging. I do hope to get a few posts in each day, but things may be slow for about a week or so. Meanwhile, wish me luck as I try not to stab myself in the heart try to avoid…

Is Chris Hedges a Plagiarist?

Christopher Ketcham thinks so. And he backs up his claim: In early 2010, the editors at Harper’s Magazine began reviewing a lengthy manuscript submitted by Chris Hedges, a former New York Times reporter. In the piece, Hedges had turned his eye to Camden, New Jersey, one of the most downtrodden cities in the nation. Hedges’s editor at Harper’s, Theodore Ross, who left the magazine in 2011 and is now a freelance writer, was excited when he saw the draft. “I thought it was a great story about a topic—poverty—that nobody covers enough,” Ross said. The trouble began when Ross passed the piece along to the fact-checker…

Hillary Clinton’s Bad Week Continues

Oh dear, this just is not very good at all: Hillary Rodham Clinton tersely defended her initial opposition to gay marriage, denying in a radio interview that political reasons were behind her shift last year to supporting same-sex marriage. She accused the host of the show of ‘‘playing with my words.’’ ‘‘I did not grow up even imagining gay marriage and I don’t think you did either,’’ Clinton told National Public Radio’s Terry Gross during an interview broadcast Thursday on ‘‘Fresh Air.’’ ‘‘This was an incredibly new and important idea that people on the front lines of the gay right movement began…

Revelation of the Day

I am going to turn over the microphone to Alex Tabarrok: Economics assumes that people are rational, self-interested, lightning fast calculators. Obviously a bad assumption as we are constantly told. Chimps, on the other hand, are rational, self-interested, lightning fast calculators. That is the surprising conclusion to a great paper by Colin Camerer and co-authors. Camerer had chimps play versions of the matching pennies game also called the cat and mouse game. In the cat and mouse game each player can go left or go right. The cat wins when cat and mouse choose the same strategy. The mouse wins when they choose…