Browsing Catharsis – 01.03.12
January 3, 2012
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4 evolutionary explanations of modern annoyances.
Movie stars, now older, referencing classic roles.
ACLU gives better report cards to Ron Paul and Gary Johnson than Obama. I am entertained that their other somewhat acceptable candidate is Hunstman.
A negative review of Pinker’s book. HT Tyler Cowen.
Why Will Wilkinson does not consider himself a libertarian. I wonder if he would have said this when he was with Cato. Most of this is just rhetorical.
One of those terrible thoughts after a physics exam.
Nick Rowe has a very clear way of distinguishing different views on the debt burden. This is useful because the common discourse in this is full of vitriol with every point of view claiming the mantle of true science.* I’m apparently pretty similar to Rowe. I would provide weights of 50% to James Buchanan, 10% to Ricardian Equivalence, and 40% to Samuelson, whereas he would go 33% across the board. But I’d like to add something Austrian that I think gets lost and buttresses the Buchanan perspective. To the extent that Ricardian Equivalence is not true, government debt screws up individuals’ plans – that statement is almost true definitionally. If people had planned for it, they would have saved for it. Debt becomes a burden on future generations when they have not planned for it. Meanwhile, the people who invested in treasury bills of whatever did plan for that money to be there. It’s their retirement plan, or an essential cash flow on a bank’s balance sheet. So if people don’t save in response to new taxes, there is an illusion that there are more resources available in the future economy than there actually is. The mixture of durable goods, various investments (including and especially in housing, family businesses…), and whatnot corresponds to a certain expected income level that cannot be attained. So it is a burden. HT Daniel Kuehn.
*I’m not innocent here; I spent 15 minutes while teaching macro this semester bashing Ricardian Equivalence.