Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Quotes of the day

Potential teachers out there- beware! You are blamed for everything and children and parents and administrators get away with murder. Prepare yourself to not be respected or appreciated ever. Teachers are under so much pressure to perform that there is a huge emphasis on test prep. You are lucky if you get to do projects.--former Teach for America teacher

I suppose [congressional representatives yielding significant positive abnormal trading returns] are good at stock investing for the same reason Hillary Clinton was a savvy commodities trader, and Obama was good at playing poker with Illinois lobbyists.  If the guys who set my property taxes want to bet on something, anything, I'm willing to post great odds. Just be sure to remember me, you know, later--Eric Falkenstein

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood unveiled new fuel-economy window stickers for cars and trucks, saying "we're not just sitting around waiting for high gasoline prices to come down." His ride of choice to the unveiling: This 12-mpg Chevy Suburban SUV.--Justin Hyde

For months now top economic officials in Washington have been arguing that the Congress should vote to increase the debt limit without any reductions in the growth of spending—in other words a “clean debt limit hike.” Just last Thursday Ben Bernanke compared linking the debt limit and spending reductions to playing a game of chicken with U.S. credit worthiness, adding “I think using the debt limit as a bargaining chip is quite risky.” CEA Chairman Austan Goolsbee and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner have been saying much the same thing. But these arguments do not take account of important economic advantages of linking the debt limit to spending reductions. Such a link is good economics in theory and in practice. It is essential to a credible return to sound fiscal policy and an end to the ongoing debt explosion. Here’s why. In the current political and economic environment—where more people than ever in the United States and around the world are aware of, and paying attention to, the country’s debt problem—the decision about the debt limit will be precedent-setting. They also know that government spending has increased rapidly in recent years, rising from 18.2 percent of GDP in 2000 to over 24 percent now. If Washington does not change the budget game now, people will sensibly reason, it will never change the game. If politicians just increase the debt limit now when spending has been growing so rapidly compared to revenues without correcting that rapid growth of spending, then they will be expected to do so in the future. In contrast if they tie any increase in the debt limit to a halt in the explosion of spending, then people will be more likely to expect them to control spending in the future. Linking the debt limit vote with spending establishes a precedent and valuable credibility.--John Taylor

Economies of scale in fonts, as often in the corporate world, do not seem to stand in the way of diversity for long. There have never been so many alternatives to Helvetica, and new fonts are created at an unprecedented rate. There is always demand for the next forward-looking font. Barack Obama used a 21st century font, Gotham, for his 2008 election campaign. Evidently some people think it helped his fortunes: Gotham has now been adopted by Sarah Palin.--Tim Harford 

Asian-American success is typically taken to ratify the American Dream and to prove that minorities can make it in this country without handouts. Still, an undercurrent of racial panic always accompanies the consideration of Asians, and all the more so as China becomes the destination for our industrial base and the banker controlling our burgeoning debt. But if the armies of Chinese factory workers who make our fast fashion and iPads terrify us, and if the collective mass of high-­achieving Asian-American students arouse an anxiety about the laxity of American parenting, what of the Asian-American who obeyed everything his parents told him? Does this person really scare anyone?--Wesley Yang
Photo links here and here.

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