Monday, November 02, 2009

Quotes of the day

New York has withstood the worst economic crisis in seven decades and remains the leading global financial center, followed by Singapore, which topped London as investors’ preferred place for doing business, according to Bloomberg Global Poll. --Alison Fitzgerald

[Leonard] Mlodinow’s book [The Drunkard's Walk, ...] warned that our brains are so hard-wired to misunderstand randomness that we make the same mistakes even after somebody points out the mistakes.--William Easterly

Two years ago, a United Nations scientific panel won the Nobel Peace Prize after concluding that global warming is "unequivocal" and is "very likely" caused by man. Then came a development unforeseen by the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC: Data suggested that Earth's temperature was beginning to drop.--Jeffrey Ball

I would prefer an intelligent hell to a stupid paradise.--Blaise Pascal

American politics, which already hadn't been coherent in a very long time, has fallen into burlesque.--Charles Pierce

I believe what we have here is the beginning of the end of complacency. It is now apparent to me that in the haste to ensure compliance with procedures that are inconsistent if not inarticulable, TSA has hastened the likelihood of failure. If we do not insist that TSA work to create articulable policies that make sense, procedures that are explicit and consistent and training that supports both, then we are complicit in what will inevitably be an ultimate compromise of TSA. That compromise may come in the form of terrorist attack, or it may come in the form of a collapse of public support. Either or both are inevitable. Either or both are preventable.--Deidre Walker

Research finds more evidence for the efficacy of monetary as opposed to fiscal policy in ending recessions. And the studies on fiscal stimulus have shown more impact from tax cuts than from spending increases.--Jeffrey Miron

[Obama's] argument is that Fed Ex and UPS thrive even though there’s a Post Office. He forgets to mention that the Post Office has a legal monopoly on first class mail and still loses money. And he forgets that the struggles of the Post Office make it harder to claim that the public option will stand on its own without taxpayer support. If you want to understand how the public option will work, look at GM. It’s exists right now because it is being subsidized out of my pocket and yours. It is being run as a political organization, not just a company trying to make good products and cover its costs. And it is hurting its competitors, Ford, and others, whose success is being reduced by an artificially enhanced competitor.--Russell Roberts

More competition would bring down health care premiums. But the way to increase competition is not by adding a government-run health plan to the 1,300 private firms already providing health insurance. We do have a highly competitive national market for auto and life insurance, after all, and with no public option. There’s no reason we can’t have the same for health insurance.--Jeff Jacoby

The [health care reform] bill's intentions are cloaked in euphemisms and it is teeming with ulterior motives, all cobbled together in closed-door meetings where industry payoffs are offered using taxpayer dollars to facilitate a power grab of unprecedented cost.--David Harsanyi

We're all off in the woods battling over the appropriate discount rate for dynamic tax effects. And we seem to have left a lot of more politically focused journalists behind. I get the sense that this happens in administrations too. The wonks understand that they have to make compromises, so they let bad policies through without a fuss in order to secure some larger agreement. (cough/steeltarrifs/cough). The problem is, they sometimes forget to tell the political people that it's a compromise--and what the cost of that compromise is.--Megan McArdle

Obama's home phone number (202-456-1414) and address are known, but it is hard to harass someone surrounded by Secret Service protection. Less insulated Americans are vulnerable. Currently, liberals enthralled by intimidation are trying to abolish secret ballots in unionization votes. And when Humana, the private health-insurance provider, recently warned its customers about some provisions of Congress's health-care legislation, the Obama administration's reaction was essentially a quote from a Ring Lardner short story: "Shut up, he explained." It is time to speak up about thuggish liberalism, especially when it tries to suppress participation in referendums, which often involve contentious issues. The Supreme Court has blocked disclosure of the 138,000 names. It should block the spreading infection of using disclosure as a tool of liberal coercion.--George Will

What would the impact on social indicators have been had India commenced economic reform one decade earlier, and enjoyed correspondingly faster economic growth and improvements in human development indicators? This paper seeks to estimate the number of "missing children," "missing literates," and "missing non-poor" resulting from delayed reform, slower economic growth, and hence, slower improvement of social indicators. It finds that with earlier reform, 14.5 million more children would have survived, 261 million more Indians would have become literate, and 109 million more people would have risen above the poverty line. The delay in economic reform represents an enormous social tragedy. It drives home the point that India's socialist era, which claimed it would deliver growth with social justice, delivered neither.--Swaminathan Aiyar

Saudi Arabia has long been a key supplier of crude to the US, holding the top slot through most of the 1990s until increasing volumes from Canada relegated the kingdom into second and sometimes third place. But while Saudi Arabia has remained among the top five suppliers to the US, its exports have fallen dramatically this year, and it's not entirely clear why.--Margaret McQuaile

For blacks, being baby-faced meant earning more money, the study found, whereas white CEOs earned less money if they were baby-faced.--Kevin Lewis

But it would be kinda fun to see Celine Dion and Mike Myers wearing orange jumpsuits down in Guantanamo.--Peter Carlson

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