Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Quotes of the day

We have the best government that money can buy.--Mark Twain

... the financial system only gets tested in times of crisis — at which point regulation comes too late.--Andrew Ross Sorkin

Currently there are about 246 drugs that are in short supply, a record high. These shortages are not just a result of accident, error or unusual circumstance, the number of drugs in short supply has risen steadily since 2006. The shortages arise from a combination of systematic factors, among them the policies of the FDA. The FDA has inadvertently caused drugs long-used in the United States to be withdrawn from the market and it’s “Good Manufacturing Practice” rules have gummed up the drug production process and raised costs.--Alex Tabarrok

... how far can disorder extend? We have a tendency to think that the intrinsic state of a protein is a more or less orderly one, which we just refer to (if we do at all) as "folded". (You can divide that into two further classes - "properly folded" when the protein does what we want it to do, and "improperly folded" when it doesn't. There are a number of less polite synonyms for that latter state as well). Are all proteins so well folded, though? It's becoming increasingly clear that the answer is no, they aren't.--Derek Lowe

Mitt Romney and (gulp) Michelle Bachmann gave the strongest performances. That's not a good sign for the GOP, since I don't see a realistic path for either of them in the general election. Romney is going to have a hard time running against "Obomneycare" and Bachmann will frighten off anyone to the left of her tea party supporters, which includes the whole country.--Megan McArdle

I love von Mises [like "Human Action" and "Bureaucracy].  When I go on vacation and I lay on the beach, I bring von Mises.--Michelle Bachman

Not all government spending is created equal, for Keynesian purposes or otherwise.  There is plenty of spending we could cut without creating a Keynesian disaster, even if you accept the Keynesian framework straight up.--Tyler Cowen

I thought I was looking at a Saturday Night Live script [reading Larry Summers' FT column]. Who was in charge the past two years?--Steven Schwarzman

One Democratic financier invited to this month’s dinner, who asked for anonymity because he did not want to anger the White House, said it was ironic that the same president who once criticized bankers as “fat cats” would now invite them to dine at Daniel, where the six-course tasting menu runs to $195 a person. The donor declined the invitation.--NICHOLAS CONFESSORE

When a lot of hedge fund guys looked at Obama in 2007 and 2008, they saw themselves. He was a guy coming out of nowhere, rising quickly to the top. He was obviously smart. He embodied a promise of bringing America to a place beyond partisanship, beyond the stale politics of race and class. Hope. Change. Fire it up! When Obama seemed to turn against them, he broke this illusion. Suddenly, he was labeling the financial sector as “the other.” This betrayal was taken as a sign that Obama either was never as smart as he seemed—or that he had been corrupted by partisan politics.--John Carney

I've been lucky enough at various times to be associated with the White House and Harvard and all sorts of august institutions, and I always thought: I'm going to find Mozart at one of these places. It turns out, in my career, I've never found a Mozart. The Mozart of economics or of politics or of writing theatrical works. What I find is we've got a lot of Salieris out there trying to pluck out a reasonable tune. And that's probably good enough.--Todd Buchholz

If you were to ask these visitors, they would tell you that they came here only to admire the beauty of the town. And, to be fair, this is a beautiful town. Why shouldn’t it be? It is like a harlot who never soils her hands with useful work, and whose only occupation, outside of harlotry, is to preen and primp—at the expense of her admirers. Washington is, and ought to be, the most beautiful city in the country; it is also the most useless.--Frank Chodorov

Today, according to the statistics people look at, even with California’s bountiful resources, the most equitable climate in the entire continent, and with every blessing that God could bestow upon a land, people are finding a better place to live and work and raise their families out in the desolation of the Arizona and Nevada deserts. No conceivable act of God could ever wreak such devastation upon our state. It takes a government to do that. And it has.--Tom McClintock

I realize, now, the enormous special obstacles put in my path by my supposed colleagues, obstacles that over the years made earning a living or a quiet pursuit of my trade so unusually onerous, were not a matter of political difference; they were a declaration of my unworthiness to be one of them. The rejection was not of my ideas, but of my person. ... The next is my immediate community: Until now, the Hollywood culture kept mean-spirited and odious persecution carefully discussed out-of-earshot of we lepers; now, however, there appears to be no problem in openly admitting to cheap and easy prejudice. Few cancers are more lethal to a civil society than ideological bigotry. And no one can spread disease better than our industry.--Lionel Chetwynd

Wolfers has a disconcerting habit of publicly correcting others. If I had an unlimited budget, I'd hire Wolfers to preview everything I write to spare me potential embarrassment. ... If you simply want to predict fertility in a country that's modernizing - experiencing simultaneous increases in income, education, secularization, etc. - Wolfers' evidence is quite relevant. But if you want to predict families' fertility in response to an exogenous income shock - like a sudden inheritance or lottery win - my admittedly simple regressions are more informative. This brings us back to my original disagreement with Betsey Stevenson. My claim: When people discover needlessly laborious and painful forms of parenting, they enjoy an exogenous income shock. Consider a parent who discovers the Ferber method, gaining years of extra sleep. In a sense, he's suddenly richer. But who on earth would see this sharp reduction of sleep deprivation as a reason to have fewer kids?--Bryan Caplan

Maybe you think there is no moral obligation to keep your promises. Try it in the context of your personal life: it's okay for my boss to stiff me out of that raise they promised, because I can always quit. It's okay for my wife to cheat on me, because I can always get a divorce. It's okay for my roommate to neglect to pay her half of the rent on the first of the month, as long as she's willing to move out. It's perfectly fine for my son to default on that car I cosigned, because the lender has the option to sue me for the balance . . . hey, wait a minute! Suddenly it turns out that you think promises create a moral obligation--as long as those promises are made to you.--Megan McArdle

Rosemary Hunt Todd sang the alma mater and the school fight song and was greeted by a standing ovation from four returning reunion classes at Cornell University. And why not. Soon to be 102, Todd represented the Class of 1931 at Cornell's first 80th class reunion on Thursday evening, and she was struck by the adulation.--JOHN KEKIS
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