Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Quotes of the day

'Tis better to be silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.--Abraham Lincoln

Inexact sciences like economics advance funeral by funeral.--Paul Samuelson

The simplest definition of art is a true lie. ... Addiction is the result of unresolved grief. ... I had the blessing of a heart attack just last year. For me, it was like two elephants standing on my chest. I saw it as a blessing almost immediately. It was almost like the shedding of a skin. It helped me to discard things I didn't need to carry anymore.--Kelsey Grammer

... male mate choice for high-fecundity females leads to a diminished rate of adaptive evolution by reducing the advantage to females of expressing beneficial genetic variation.--Tristan A. F. Long et al.

Most progressives, and not a few conservatives, think that Lieberman has been jerking Senate progressives around as payback for their support for Lamont. Which reminds me who was one of Lamont's big supporters in the general--one Barack Obama.--Megan McArdle

One liberal sage noted in a 2007 paper that "four decades of empirical research" have shown that insulating people through third-party insurance coverage "from the full cost of health care has been responsible for anywhere from 10% to 50% of the large increase in health expenditures." Ultimately, he concluded, increasing cost-sharing would give individuals a direct stake in more prudent purchasing, as opposed to today's invisible health dollars that vanish as more expensive premiums, foregone wages and higher taxes. Those are the words of Jason Furman, now the White House deputy economic director who seems to have been put into witness protection.--WSJ Editorial Board

In short, the American people are hugely exposed to any losses at the Fed.--John Carney

The government has threatened and intimidated three witnesses. To submit this case to the jury would be a mockery of justice.--Cormac Carney, the judge who threw out the Broadcom options backdating case
“The road to high performance isn’t always paved.” To which the obvious rejoinder these days is “Sometimes it runs straight into a fire hydrant.”--James Surowiecki

No longer a descriptive noun, "bubble" has become the default term for lazy writers seeking to explain what they cannot. --John Tamny

[Paul Samuelson will] take these incomprehensible verbal debates that go on and on and just end them; formulate the issue in such a way that the question is answerable, and then get the answer.--Robert Lucas

What good does it do a black youth to know that an employer must pay him $2.00 an hour if the fact that he must be paid that amount is what keeps him from getting a job?--Paul Samuelson

Samuelson had an amazingly tin ear about communism. As early as the 1960s, economist G. Warren Nutter at the University of Virginia had done empirical work showing that the much-vaunted economic growth in the Soviet Union was a myth. Samuelson did not pay attention. In the 1989 edition of his textbook, Samuelson and William Nordhaus wrote, "the Soviet economy is proof that, contrary to what many skeptics had earlier believed, a socialist command economy can function and even thrive."--David Henderson

I call myself a post-Keynesian. The 1936 Model A Keynesianism is passé. Of course, it doesn’t meant that it wasn’t right for its time. ... Everybody was there [at the 150th anniversary of Keynes' birth]. And they all stood up and said, ‘I am still a faithful Keynesian. I am still a true believer.’ I was a bit rude. I said, ‘You remind me of a bunch of Nazis saying, I’m still a good Nazi.’ It’s not a theology: it’s a mode of analysis. I think I am a different Keynesian than I was ten years ago.” Samuelson then quoted Keynes himself. “When my information changes, I change my views. Don’t you, Sir?--Paul Samuelson

A Keynesian will keep insisting that you can’t be a realistic, sensible, modern monetary economist unless you think in terms of interest rate rules. Monetary rules are too old-fashioned, and futures targeting is too, I don’t know, futuristic? So it’s got to be interest rate rules. Then they develop models that show interest rate rules don’t work very well when interest rates are at zero and further monetary ease is called for. No kidding. ... I realize that Krugman and Eggertsson actually have very similar views, and the apparent differences reflect differing assumptions about what sort of policies are politically feasible and/or credible. But I do have a very serious point to make. Krugman is using a double standard, basically accepting an argument made by Eggertsson that is far weaker than those he criticizes people like Mankiw and Barro for making--Scott Sumner

I think Samuelson and Solow doth joke too much. There is a jeering, disdainful, immature element in both of those “jokes.” I wonder if Friedman was deeply discomfiting to them. He was a relentless critic of what underpinned their worldviews. He remade the profession in his own image and helped make “use markets” the default, at least for a while. He created what Dan Klein calls the “presumption of liberty.” Their lack of respect for someone who had been in the intellectual wilderness and who triumphed by virtue of his scholarship and his passion speaks volumes.--Russ Roberts

Which I suspect is how my mother must feel when she hears me talk about what it’s like to steer the pirate’s ship that is our grocery cart through the aisles at Wal-Mart, alternately slapping hands as they reach for candy, barking at the little ones for crawling beneath the cart so that I think they’ve gone missing, and wondering why, if Jesus is planning to come back in this lifetime, he doesn’t just do it right now, before we hit the cereal aisle and I lose the last shreds of my Christian patience.--Tony Woodlief

It's my job to sing a song I wrote thirty years ago as if I'd written it in the afternoon. ... Gratitude is the fundamental emotion that one should feel in a state of grace. ... You don't have to be the greatest singer in the world. What you need to be is unique. Whenever you open your mouth, people should know: "Oh, that's Van Morrison." Or "That's Bob Dylan." Or "That's Bono." You want to get to that point where you have a unique vocal fingerprint. ... Your parents name you, but they haven't a clue who you are. Your friends nickname you because they know exactly who you are. ... I had a pretty miserable childhood, but would I want to change it? No. Childhood made me who I am, and I'm quite happy with who I am. Without my childhood, something else would've happened. ... Trudie and I have been together thirty years and married eighteen. You can multiply that by seven because show business is like dog years. ... Sometimes mediocre poetry becomes incredible song material. ... I thought when my kids got to twenty-one, that would be it, you know? They'd be out the door. We'd never have to worry about them again. But I have a thirty-two-year-old, and I still worry about him like he's a little boy. ... I've got the same rank as James Bond. Commander of the British Empire. It used to span the whole world, from Britain to India and including America. But now it's the size of a postage stamp. Frankly, there is not much to command. ... I was twenty-seven before I had any success. That probably saved my life. I'd had a job with a pension. I'd paid a mortgage. I'd had a kid. All those things gave me an appreciation for reality, and I think that allowed me to still have a career now at fifty-eight.--Sting

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