Monday, August 23, 2010


Justin Fox reviews more of the income inequality literature, and I found this (as he does) to be most interesting:
Hacker and Pierson, though, are the ones who deliver the goods. In their dense but engrossing book Winner-Take-All Politics (forthcoming from Simon & Schuster this month), the two political scientists start by making the case that economic forces fail to explain why incomes have skyrocketed at the very top of the distribution (the highest 0.1%, and even 0.01%) while going nowhere for the bottom 90%. “Those at the top are often highly educated, yes,” they write, “but so, too, are those just below them who have been left increasingly behind.” They contend that government decisions encouraged this income explosion at the top. The crucial turning point, they say, came not in 1980, when Ronald Reagan was elected, but two years before. The business community, reeling after years of labor victories and regulatory encroachments, had begun to organize over the course of the 1970s and focus its energy on politics. The Chamber of Commerce tripled its budget. The Business Roundtable and the American Council for Capital Formation were born. The first two big legislative wins came in 1978, when the Democrat-controlled Congress killed off a proposal to create an office of consumer representation and a union-backed revision of labor laws.

After that there was no turning back: Business groups had figured out how to work the new levers of power in Washington, while the mass-membership organizations that had represented working America—not just labor unions but also the likes of the American Legion and the Elks—fell into sharp decline.

Where have all African revolutionaries gone?

What are the top occupations for the educated young?

Speaking of the educated young, how are they paying for college? Disturbing little fact: students whose parents earn $100k+ get $6,019 in scholarships and grants; students whose parents earn less than $35,000 get $6,571.

So, a U.S. district court has granted an injunction to Obama’s stem cell program. Weirdly, a judge had decided that the people who were suing had no standing:
"Embryos lack standing because they are not persons under the law" and the unborn have no right to life protected under the Constitution's 14th Amendment, U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth ruled in October, Bloomberg reported.
But which judge decided to grant the injunction?:
A US district court has issued a temporary injunction blocking plans by the Obama administration to increase funding for stem cell research.

Judge Royce Lamberth said lawsuits brought against the new guidelines could now go ahead.

"ESC (embryonic stem cell) research is clearly research in which an embryo is destroyed," Judge Lamberth said.
So, since October Judge Lamberth has changed from embryos not people therefore no standing to “clearly” one in which embryos are destroyed (and presumably human)?

Why aren’t we frightened of quicksand anymore?

Moore’s Law and videogames (skimmable at parts, but overall very interesting).

Rich people: afraid of fear itself.

Is Mike Bloomberg a latter-day, successful John Lindsay?

How the Pittsburg Pirates profit by losing. I’m of two minds on this: on one hand, seeing as sports is a zero-sum endeavor, you’d hate that the only way to profit on owning a baseball team is by owning a winning team? On the other hand, a system that encourages people to lose in sports…not really a good one, now is it?

A nine-day traffic jam in Beijing reached 100 km long on Monday.

Hedge funds: more secure than banks?

Deep, deep report about what Treasury is thinking right now. Somewhat disturbing.

The WSJ has an overview piece about privatization in the U.S. due to debts; Suzy Khimm talks about how privatizing prisons doesn’t save money; and—you’ll really have to trust me on this one, as this really is really interesting—the Urbanophile looks at risks and rewards of privatizing parking meters in a long, in-depth manner.

European economy slows down.

Footnotes from yesterday’s Mad Men episode.

U.S. reviewing tech spending on (what seems like) wasteful programs.

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