September 27th, 2010

(no subject)

The Empirical Case against Government Stimulus

[I]t's a good exercise -- as well as just plain fun -- to look at Keynesian economists trying to reconcile their outlandish policy prescriptions with the historical record. No matter how you slice it, "fiscal austerity" has a track record of success, whereas pump-priming "stimulus" spending has never delivered.

When you look at the arguments made by Keynesians (or at least Krugman), I'm reminded of the arguments made by geocentric astronomers, adding multitudes of epicycles in order to make things "work" rather than just accepting that the theory is wrong. There's plenty of excuses and "if only's" but no actual supporting evidence.

A response to Ben Stein from a fellow top tax-bracket citizen

I saw this from a friend's journal:


So how about that?   A person in the top tax bracket who not only acknowledges an obligation as a citizen to pay taxes
into the system that benefitted her, but who also doesnt try to pretend a 3% increase on funds **above** $250,000
is a punishment...

At a time when people are losing their homes, savings are at a low, and people are nervous about their jobs  -- someone not complaining that
taxing the money above the 1st quarter-million will make them poor and have them eating franks n beans every night.   How refreshing...



Another election cycle, another demonstration of the failure of plurality voting

via Electoral Vote: an AP article summarizes the current third-party situation. Third parties, of course, have a reputation for the "spoiler effect", where they attract enough voters that would have otherwise voted for the leader that an upset occurs. This requires a certain degree of ideological similarity to the leader, but with enough difference to draw away disgruntled partymates (such as a Libertarian in a race lead by a centrist or socially conservative Republican, or a Green candidate in a race lead by a conservative Democrat). It also requires that the Big Two candidates be fairly close in number of votes — if one candidate has a twenty-point lead, it's not likely that a third party candidate will spoil anything.

Of course, that third parties are punished with a bad reputation as just for existing is downright undemocratic, and is a clear sign that the system needs to be fixed. Mounting massive PR campaigns for the minor parties isn't going to fix anything, as this is simply another symptom of the broken system. The actual causes are threefold: restrictive ballot access laws, winner-takes-all (mostly only a concern in presidential races), and plurality voting (aka "first-past-the-post"). Addressing the latter would do the most to eliminate the spoiler effect and the undemocratic backlash that comes in response to it.

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Cross-posted from journal