Monday, August 02, 2010

Quotes of the day

The real threat to a robust recovery on the labor side has come from employer and entrepreneurial fears that once the economic environment improves, a Democratic Congress and administration will pass pro-union and other pro-worker legislation that will raise the cost of doing business and cut profits. In this way the obvious pro-union-pro-worker bias of the present government has contributed to a slower recovery, especially in labor markets. This helps explain the depressingly slow decline in unemployment rates and in the number of workers who have given up looking for jobs.--Gary Becker

... [Mark] Zandi agreed with me on two important issues: (1) that the on-again off-again bailout policies in 2008 helped bring about the panic that year and (2) that holding off on any tax rate increases next year would be a stimulus to economic growth.--John Taylor

I was saddened to hear that Earl Thompson just passed away, at the age of 71. Although I never met Professor Thompson, I found him to be one of the most brilliant and original thinkers in the field of macroeconomics. Unfortunately for him, he was far ahead of his time, and his insights still have not been incorporated into macro theory.--Scott Sumner

As per Penn Central, it happened right after the venerable Pullman Railroad Company failed, and led many to believe that rail transportation would be dealt a fatal blow. In response Congress passed and President Richard Nixon signed into law the Rail Passenger Service Act. This gave government funding to assure the continuation of passenger trains. It also create Amtrak, a hybrid public-private entity that would temporarily receive taxpayer funding and assume operation of intercity passenger trains. Amtrak has lost money perpetually, and its onerous work rules created a bloated, inefficient industry that did not reverse rail traffic decline. The new government-owned GM, and the new Consumer Financial Protection Agency are just more permanent government agencies of irrelevance, similar to previous attempts to rectify identical problems in the past.--Eric Falkenstein

Patricia Pilz of Caithness Energy, a big company from New York that is helping make this part of Eastern Oregon one of the fastest-growing wind power regions in the country, is making a tempting offer: sign a waiver saying you will not complain about excessive noise from the turning turbines — the whoosh, whoosh, whoosh of the future, advocates say — and she will cut you a check for $5,000.--William Yardley

How long will it be before the entire [British universal healthcare system] NHS, as it was known, goes down as a collapsed model?--Tyler Cowen

The boy’s brain is decomposing, and he has no chance of recovery. Putting an end to this condition might be seen as both merciful and cost effective. Perhaps doctors really do know best; perhaps they are the impartial observers who can override parental partiality to secure a more just outcome for everyone. Yet, for many, the idea that we entrust to doctors the power of life and death over the objections of patients and their families, placing medical definitions of health and well-being ahead of other human values, is tantamount to putting absolute power into a new package. The conflict over Motl’s death is emblematic of the odd relationship that modern bioethics has with the very institution it is supposed to monitor. Bioethics, in practice, has done little more than rubber-stamp the biomedical community’s decisions, coming down against biomedicine only in the most extreme cases. Although this approach is not inherently wrong—doctors may already be making the right decisions, so who needs a watchdog?—history has demonstrated the problems associated with unlimited power, whether it is wielded by government or by doctors.--Lauren Hall

... people can rationalize violence in ways that, after the fact, seem horrifying. [Paul] Johnson finds many instances of prominent individuals who praised Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and even Hitler. I do not think that either moral relativism or moral absolutism are the answer. The moral relativist risks remaining neutral in situations where great evil is taking place. The moral absolutist risks making strong moral stands that ultimately rest on "My tribe is good, and the other tribe is bad."--Arnold Kling

I’ve certainly had the desire to disassociate from Christianity, mostly for the hyper-critical, hyper-judgmental persona the religion takes upon itself. More and more, it seems like a worldly religion. That said, though, I don’t know that publicly insulting and disassociating from a faith system as huge as Christianity and as diverse as Christianity is helpful. I am only thankful that Anne has had a wonderful encounter with Christ, and that she wisely differentiates between Christ himself and the rather confusing religion that has been organized since He walked the earth.--Don Miller

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