Thursday, August 20, 2009

Bringing Cheapness to New Heights...or Depths

I finally got us to the dentist after 14 months. The only reason I even bothered was because I found a coupon. Seriously? A coupon for dentistry? And you know what? I'll do it again. We're just going to switch dentists every year to get the new patient specials. A little piece of me hurts because of my "frugality." Which reminds me (and by "me", I mean "Jake") of a video of a guy on Last Comic Standing who was in Jake's singles ward a few years back. Oh, and as a side note, I have no cavities. Huttah!

And this one too.

Neato Demographics

I've looked for something like this for years (source: Calculated Risk via MR):

You can see the baby boom and boomlet waves. So pretty....

Nerd point: 1980-2005 were the baby boomer's most productive years. This coincided with solid monetary policy and decent tax policy. Great results, but hard to separate the individual effects.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Freedom and Random Videos

One of the best posts by Arnold Kling that I've seen on his blog. Here is my favorite line:

"If you lived in North Korea, which would you rather have--the right to vote or the right to leave?"

I will definitely be reading his upcoming book. On a completely unrelated note, here is the most excellent Total Eclipse of the Heart video for all five of you who haven't seen it yet. :)

Friday, August 7, 2009

Bomb? No... BANG!

Having now learned from experience, I recommend not bringing a giant bullet-shaped card game in your carry-on luggage.

It had to be x-rayed for explosives.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Waiting for someone else to write what I was thinking

After waiting a month or so for someone else to write some thoughts I had (so I could be lazy and just link it), someone finally did. Too bad it took this long for it to gather enough steam to attract press coverage. I wanted a good comparison between the Car Allowance Rebate System and the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1933 (or The Grapes of Wrath for you book nerds out there). You can find it at Econbrowser.

"One of the more embarrassing features of the New Deal was the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1933, which paid farmers to slaughter livestock and plow up good crops, as if destroying useful goods could somehow make the nation wealthier. ... I'm not going to be persuaded that destroying productive physical capital is a way to improve the welfare of the average American."

One commenter (a supporter of CARS) points out what I think most people are missing: "Of course, the cash for clunkers program was not intended to make the nation wealthier (a stock variable), but was intended to juice the GDP numbers (a flow variable). I believe the gamble was that juiced up GDP numbers might contribute to consumer confidence."

In other words, the destruction of productive capital is more encouraging to consumers than giving them productive capital. Also, this destruction creates misleading GDP figures, which also should encourage consumers to be more productive.

First, if we're going to destroy productive capital to make people feel better, I'd rather destroy calcium, sodium, and potassium. It's much prettier. Second, if the point is to use misleading GDP figures, my mom was wrong about "honesty is the best policy" and we should stick closer to China's philosophy on GDP.