Friday, May 06, 2011

Quotes of the day

If it was a real recession and not a bubble, then clearly the policy response has failed. If instead it was a bubble, then the policy response has been an obscene waste of money. There is no way out for Keynesians now.--Tim Kane

... 47% of adults (more than 200,000 individuals) in the City of Detroit are functionally illiterate, referring to the inability of an individual to use reading, speaking, writing, and computational skills in everyday life situations.--Detroit Regional Workforce Fund

Teachers unions and their political allies argue that market forces can't supply quality education. According to them, only our existing system—politicized and monopolistic—will do the trick. Yet Americans would find that approach ludicrous if applied to other vital goods or services.  Suppose that groceries were supplied in the same way as K-12 education. Residents of each county would pay taxes on their properties. Nearly half of those tax revenues would then be spent by government officials to build and operate supermarkets. Each family would be assigned to a particular supermarket according to its home address. And each family would get its weekly allotment of groceries—"for free"—from its neighborhood public supermarket.  No family would be permitted to get groceries from a public supermarket outside of its district. Fortunately, though, thanks to a Supreme Court decision, families would be free to shop at private supermarkets that charge directly for the groceries they offer. Private-supermarket families, however, would receive no reductions in their property taxes.  ... Being largely protected from consumer choice, almost all public supermarkets would be worse than private ones. In poor counties the quality of public supermarkets would be downright abysmal. Poor people—entitled in principle to excellent supermarkets—would in fact suffer unusually poor supermarket quality. ... Recognizing that the erosion of their monopoly would stop the gravy train that pays their members handsome salaries without requiring them to satisfy paying customers, unions would ensure that any grass-roots effort to introduce supermarket choice meets fierce political opposition.  In reality, of course, groceries and many other staples of daily life are distributed with extraordinary effectiveness by competitive markets responding to consumer choice. The same could be true of education—the unions' self-serving protestations notwithstanding.--Don Boudreaux

Public education: Unions, inferior teachers, Democratic candidates raising campaign funds, and poverty win. Kids and economic growth lose.--Cav

A realistic way to gauge the fairness and financial sustainability of retirement benefits for government workers is to estimate how much it would cost if everyone in the U.S. received the average pension granted a state or local worker in California. How much would each active worker need to pay to support these retirees? ... If every American over the age of 55 received a pension of $55,000 per year, it would cost current workers $4.45 trillion per year, an amount equivalent to nearly one-third of America’s annual GDP. Put another way, it would cost every one of the 128 million Americans of working age $34,800 per year to support retirees. ... California’s generous public-employee pensions yield awards that are, on average, more than three times the standard Social Security benefit. And given the earlier retirement age, workers will necessarily pay into the system over a shorter period of time. Understood this way, the ratio of workers to retirees would change from roughly two to one (40 years working, 20 years retired), to a more perilous one to one (30 years working, 30 years retired). Apologists for California’s current public-pension schemes insist that there is no crisis, and that despite the financial collapse and late recession, future investment returns should easily cover the costs. But it’s hard to imagine stock market dividends alone funding California’s unfunded liability of more than $500 billion, let alone the $5 trillion in pension payouts we’re imagining. When more than 100 million people are withdrawing funds on that scale each year to fund their retirements, the market has too many sellers to permit meaningful rates of return.--Ed Ring

In threatening not to buy drugs from Forest Laboratories unless it fires its CEO, the feds are taking a major step toward taking over companies. What was Forest's other sin? Promoting off-label uses. Who else does that? Almost every doctor in America--and the federal government.--David Henderson

150 years ago today, both Tennessee and Arkansas voted to secede. Both were border states, and did not secede because of Lincoln's threat to slavery. They remained in the Union until Lincoln said that they must raise troops to attack their neighbors in the South.--Joshua Horn

Properly speaking, there is no such thing as revenge. Revenge is an act which you want to commit when you are powerless and because you are powerless: as soon as the sense of impotence is removed, the desire evaporates also.--George Orwell

Willie Mays turns 80 years old today.--Joe Posnanski

Photo links here and here.

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