From Tyler Cowen’s always interesting website Marginal Revolution:
7. Mormonism, and other relatively strict religions, can have big anti-poverty effects. I wouldn’t say I ever believed the contrary, but for a long time I simply didn’t give the question much attention. I now think that Mormonism has a better anti-poverty agenda than does the Progressive Left.
The Federalist Society regularly hosts some very interesting and fairly balanced panel discussions of topics related to the Society’s mission “to place a premium on individual liberty, traditional values, and the rule of law.” This past September, the Society put on a panel titled “Passion and Prudence in the Political Process: The Debate Over Federal Civil Rights Policy.”
The panel is interesting for a number of reasons, but I post about it largely because it illustrates so well the problem of “damned statistics.” Not being a statistician myself, I can only express my frustration at the way some people toss about numbers as if the act itself were sufficient to prove their point. For what it’s worth, I think Gail Heriot and Diana Furchtgott-Roth win this encounter hands down, but then, I agree with their side of the issue.
What do you think?
Cross posted at GregoryTaggart.com
What would a cynical person think about this?
The Obama administration announced on Tuesday that it would delay for a year, until 2015, the Affordable Care Act mandate that employers provide coverage for their workers or pay penalties, responding to business complaints and postponing the effective date beyond next year’s midterm elections.
I had not been to Drudge when I linked to The New York Times above. I’ll save you the trip:
Finding Little Evidence Of Foreclosure Fraud, Feds Give Up, reads the headline from an article in Forbes. And writer, Daniel Fisher asks,
Has there been a single case in the past five years of a homeowner who was current on his mortgage being foreclosed through fraud?
Emily Litella was available for comment.
I have never cared for Congressman Pete Stark (Dem.-Calif.). He was a demagogue of the worst sort, illustrated here by his parting comments on Morning Edition today. (I can give you more evidence if you want, but this will do.)
And what will Stark miss most when he leaves Congress?
“It’s one of the areas in which you get up … in the morning and look at the mirror … and say, ‘Hey, I’m going to do something today that’s going to make life better for somebody.’ And that’s pretty neat,” Stark says. “When I was a banker I’d get up and say, ‘Whose car am I going to repossess?’ or ‘Whose house am I going to foreclose?’ and that didn’t start you out on a very nice approach for the rest of the day.”
Because that’s all bankers do, you know, repossess and foreclose. Nothing else. And no mention that much of what Stark did to make “life better for somebody” almost certainly made life worse for somebody else.
Given that he (as a former banker, no less) reduces banking to repossession and foreclosure, it’s no surprise that he doesn’t understand the law of unintended consequences. For example, we have a stock market that has climbed to great heights under Mr. Obama–who gets lots of credit for that. But why is the market climbing? Well, it’s due in no small part to the almost-free money policies of the Fed. And who does that hurt, who does that “make life” worse for? Well, among others, people on fixed income, especially retirees who find themselves with nest eggs unable to generate enough interest income to sustain them in their golden years.
How low are the rates? Here’s a chart from the Treasury showing short-term and long-term rates on Treasuries over the last year. The second chart shows those same rates, starting back in January 2008.
Note the steady decline in rates since 2008, until 10-year rates hover around 1.5% and 1-year rates are around 0.25%–that’s 1/4 of 1%, for the decimally challenged. Now imagine that you’re living on a fixed income at those rates. Yes, Pete, when you help someone to a better life, you often impact the life of another for the worse. How many of those on fixed income have lost their homes or cars to the bank.
This Guy Once Sang “Happy Birthday” to My Wife in Provo Over a Cell Phone While Standing in Front of the Jolley Taggart Cabins in the Bighorn Mountains
And he can dance too!
Ross Douthat is the token conservative on The New York Times’s opinion pages.Tyler Cowen is a polymath economist who teaches at George Mason University. I’m a polyremedialmath living in Utah. We all agree that the birthrate in the USA had better recover, or we’re going to be in a world of hurt even greater than the world of hurt we’re in now.
My wife and I have done our part. How about you?