Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Quotes of the day

Little Franklin Delano Roosevelt sits primly on a stool, his white skirt spread smoothly over his lap, his hands clasping a hat trimmed with a marabou feather. Shoulder-length hair and patent leather party shoes complete the ensemble. We find the look unsettling today, yet social convention of 1884, when FDR was photographed at age 2 1/2, dictated that boys wore dresses until age 6 or 7, also the time of their first haircut. Franklin’s outfit was considered gender-neutral.--Jeanne Maglaty

What do you do when a cathedral of capitalism becomes antiquated? You turn [the NYSE] into New York's best party space.--DAVID K. RANDALL

To my Republican friends: take back your party. So that it doesn’t matter so much who wins the election ...--Nancy Pelosi

Apparently, the phrase "angry left" contains a redundancy.--Arnold Kling

If these reports are correct, the bill contains only about $11 billion in hard cuts. Basically, it looks as if the tea partiers may have gotten snookered by their own side.--Tyler Cowen

The best candidates for the GOP will be the anti-Obamas. That rules out Romney (too good-looking and too unwilling to attack his own health care reform in Massachusetts). That elevates Daniels and Christie. Both are dramatically less elegant and Ivy-League than the President and both have a track record for fiscal responsibility. It looks like Daniels will run. i think Christie will run if no one jumps out early. He will be “talked into” running.--Russ Roberts

Why haven’t our leaders been frank with us? Well, because they believe, not unreasonably, that the political costs of frankness are too high, and that they’re better off waiting for the other guys to put their cards on the table first. So against that backdrop, how would you describe a party leadership that decides to risk the backlash and be honest about the long-term implications of its own vision for the federal budget? Even if this honesty doesn’t produce a completely optimal policy proposal, I think you have to call that leadership … brave.--Ross Douthat

France's bureaucracy is very good at inventing new forms of taxes, and most of them are awful, but two of them are actually great: the value added tax and the wealth tax. And realizing this is incumbent on understanding the Econ 101 difference between a stock and a flow. In practice, in general, it's better to tax stocks than flows, because stocks are capital that should be deployed in the economy, and flows are almost always returns on investment (whether that investment is money or work). If you've been following you realize why the plan proposed by President Sarkozy, who was elected on a slogan of rewarding hard work, is stupid: the wealth tax is one of the few economically efficient taxes in France. The country already has high rates of corporate and personal income tax, and absurdly high payroll taxes. What's more, France is actually a really wealthy country. There are tons of really rich people in France. The reason it doesn't show is because everything in the tax code encourages that wealth to be used for rents instead of productive investment that would create growth, innovation and jobs.--Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry

Philosophers often use state-of-nature thought experiments to help illustrate how politics contributes to the common good... [W]e can also imagine an "inverse state of nature" - a political society that lacks private, nonpolitical activity. In the inverse state of nature, people try to gather together for public deliberation, voting, and law creation, but no one engages in private actions. In the inverse state of nature, life would also be nasty, poor, brutish, and short, because there would be no food, music, science, shelter, or art.--Jason Brennan

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