Friday, February 05, 2010

Quotes of the day

Does honest editorial quality matter any more?--Harold Goldberg

See if you can spot the difference between reality and American culture.--Andrew Klavan

Not everything that has come out of the IPCC and the East Anglia Climate Unit is false, but enough of their product is sufficiently tainted that these institutions can best serve the cause of fighting climate change by stepping out of the picture.--Walter Mead

Non-Keynesian economists might be mistaken. But the plausibility of their arguments and the prominence of many in their ranks mean that [Robert] Reich’s summary dismissal of them is, well, facile.--Don Boudreaux

... the Fed has some sort of implicit nominal target, and if the economy seems to fall short they’ll pull out all the stops and flood the economy with liquidity. That’s why the $800 billion dollar fiscal stimulus was a complete waste of money; the Fed wasn’t going to allow NGDP to fall much further than the actual 2.5% it fell. Shame on us for not figuring that out, and shame on the Fed for not explaining that to us. Oh, and shame on the Fed for not having a more aggressive policy even with the stimulus. And shame on me for writing this post just one day after I resolved to be less opinionated.--Scott Sumner

Without exception, every time I've seen someone advocate means testing, he uses income as his measure of means. This completely ignores wealth. Although income and wealth are highly positively correlated, the correlation is not close to 1.0. Therefore means testing would discriminate in favor of wealthy people with low income. Because the most expensive programs for which means testing is advocated tend to be for the elderly, this is an even bigger problem.--David Henderson

Facebook was successful early on because it didn't depart significantly from how its audience interacted, and because it started at the top of the social hierarchy. Zuckerberg distinguished his site through one innovation: Facebook, initially at least, would be limited to Harvard. The site thus extended one of the primary conceits of education at an elite university: that everyone on campus is, if not a friend, then a potential friend, one already vetted by the authorities. Most previous social networks, such as MySpace and Friendster, had been dogged by the sense that, while one might use them with friends, they were to a substantial degree designed for meeting strangers.--Charles Petersen

Rationing happens today! The question is who will do it? The government? Or you, your doctor and your family? ... I have a lot of respect for [the Wyden-Bennett] plan. If I were a Democrat, it’s the bill I’d be on. He’s got more mandates than I’d like. But if Ron Wyden and I were in a room, we could hammer out a deal by tomorrow. ... This is my 12th year. If I lose my job over this, then so be it. In that case, I can be doing more productive things. If you’re given the opportunity to serve, you better serve like it’s your last term every term. It’s just the way I look at it. I sleep well at night. ... I don’t want a closed system that will gravitate towards more government control. I want it to be decentralized that has regulatory competition and market competition. You can be in or out of the exchange, which keeps everybody honest. That to me is very important.--Paul Ryan

I pay off the debt completely [with my legislative roadmap], and over time I wipe all these unfunded liabilities off the books. But if we do half that, that’s fantastic. ... I’m not interesting in winning by default. And I’m worried that if we get the majority back by default, we’ll screw up again.--Rep. Paul Ryan

There are hundreds of Republican politicians in Washington, but Ryan is one of the few worth taking seriously on substance — and one of the few, as a result, who can critique the Obama administration without resorting to gimmickry or sloganeering. And in a party that’s suffering from deficits of both leadership and substance, that’s pretty good position for a young congressman to occupy.--Ross Douthat

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