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Oil of Crotalus Scutulatus

Getcher Good Health! Heals everything! Not only does it cure you of all your ills - I guarantee that with just two ounces of this Miraculous Oil you will never again need to worry about the high cost of healthcare, health "insurance", or being denied Healthcare! You will always get the best care the world can offer! Step right up, no need to push or shove your way to the front, there's plenty for everyone! Just $200 to take care of all your health needs for the rest of your life! Read more »

RIP Robert Anson Wilson

Shit. Another great mind lost.

RAW - Thanks for helping me see the fnords.

Card and Krueger\'s Minimum Wage Paper

Many thanks to Greg Mankiw for pointing out this. Within is a working paper by Neumark and Wascher summarizing the recent work on employment effects of increasing a minimum wage. Read more »

A Moral Question

If a person is known to be evil and he asks for advice on how to be good, is the person who advises the evil person then evil? What about a the teacher of the advisers?

I do not believe that the adviser has in anyway sullied himself. In fact, a truly good person will do all he can to advise the evil person on how to do good. Another way to look at it is: Is a priest doing wrong by hearing confessions and advising the sinner? Read more »

It Began With <i>Free to Choose</i>

A long time ago in a galaxy far away... or rather back when I was in college in the Rust Belt, I encountered Milton Friedman in some magazine or newspaper. I no longer recall what the article was about, but it was very interesting and I learned a thing or two. Read more »


Double Counting and Other Sins

In a previous post I mentioned this JPE paper on driving costs. As you can guess from my title, I believe the paper has some serious shortcomings.

The gist of the paper is that due to differences in average cost and marginal cost there is a negative externality cost that is not efficiently covered by insurance costs. The paper then goes on to recommend a Pigovian tax to correct the externality. My first thought on reading the summary was that the paper was about accident costs that are not typically covered by insurance - traffic delays to other drivers, time lost filing police reports, waiting for the towtruck, dealing with the car being in the shop, and so forth. But the authors quickly point out that they are not considering such costs, but rather are considering the marginal cost of an accident at twice the cost of the accident, based on the "it takes two to tango" argument, i.e. if either the at-fault car or the other car were not there then there would be no accident. The authors analyze the insurance data, conclude there is an externality, and then propose several Pigovian schemes. Read more »

Thoughts on Hussein\'s fate.

Choice of rope is important - perhaps something that leaves rope burns as it tightens. Use dynamic climbing rope so that it won't break his neck on the fall - a long choking death somehow seems appropriate. Oh and BTW, can I tie the noose?1

One down, far too many to go. Next time, can we dispense with the long protracted war and the socialists running it?

(footnote below) Read more »

Say NO to Pigou!

Greg Mankiw has been encouraging pundits and policy wonks to join his Pigou Club. Membership only requires dedication to Pigovian taxes, particularly a Pigovian tax on driving, such as a higher retail gas tax. Mankiw has publicly inducted a few big names including Summers and Posner. Read more »

FEC Ruling

From Wired, the FEC has ruled that blogging is not covered under campaign finance laws. Well, I suppose that is less bad. At least we can legally continue our tradition of dissing both major party candidates during silly season.

"The law was never intended to regulate private citizen communication on the internet," said Commission Vice Chairman Robert D. Lenhard.

Unless the communication is paid for, or comes by way of certain private citizens acting on behalf of their commercial interests. Read more »

Prediction Markets in the Firm

Tyler Cowen asks why prediction markets are not common in business. The obvious answer is that the concept is still too new for most organizations to really adopt it. It took decades for U.S. based businesses to catch on to quality programs.

Having answered the question, there are some mis-conceptions about prediction markets that I feel the need to dispel:

"Prediction markets threaten the hierarchical control of top managers." Read more »

Regressive Progressivism

Just in case any of you are stuck under a rock, there has been a lot of discussion about inequality of wealth and income recently. This discussion of course includes the usual hand wringing about hollowing out the middle class and needing more "progressive" taxes. Read more »

My Humble Addition to the Plan

Since it is has been decided that there will be a huge plan to rebuild New Orleans, I would recommend a small addition. This addition will properly convey the essence of this newly rebuilt city and gives proper credit to those who have gone before in such planning. Change the city's name to New Leningrad.

The Most Dangerous Idea has another year of responses from top scientists, this year's question - "What is your dangerous idea." Most of the responses are interesting, some are downright intriguing, a few are rather stupid, and several are ideas that are now centuries old. The best is also unoriginal, by Daniel Gilbert:

The idea that ideas can be dangerous

Isn\'t That a Consequential Argument?

John T. Kennedy explains why the highest values cannot be stolen, using Siddhartha as an example: Read more »