« September 2006 | Main | November 2006 »

October 2006

The Sports Guy remembers Red Auerbach:

Now the Celtics are celebrating in their locker room and pouring champagne on one another. Everyone crams onto a makeshift podium so the commissioner can present the NBA trophy. He makes a little speech and hands the trophy to Red, who's sucking on a victory cigar, as always. And after hearing about the Lakers' "dynasty" from every broadcaster and writer for two weeks, good ol' Red can't resist rubbing it in.

"Everyone keeps talking about the Lakers dynasty!" Red yells at Brent Musburger. "Well, here's your dynasty, right here!!!!!!"

He holds the trophy up as the locker room explodes. He's holding it like a hunter would display a deer's head. Here's your dynasty. Right here.

Lileks: great, as usual

I resolve to link to Lileks more often.

Look, everyone's in favor of children, but it's not as if the Bush administration shuttered schools and whipped the waifs back into the coal mines. Many people with children, moreover, believe children are a personal responsibility. They believe the federal government should devote itself to things it is better equipped to do, like building an anti-missile shield to keep squat Korean sociopaths from dropping nukes on elementary schools. (Pelosi is opposed to missile defense, apparently preferring to deploy teachers who would scold the missiles off target.)

Recommended: Winston's Government Failure Versus Market Failure

I recommend Clifford Winston's new book--actually, booklet: it's only 107 pages not including the preface, references, and index--Government Failure Versus Market Failure. (It's free.) Beginning economics courses typically discuss, at length, possible causes of market failure, including externalities, public goods, asymmetric information, and market power.

But these courses rarely offer a matching discussion of causes of government failure. And even if they do, they usually do not discuss the last several decades of experience and academic empirical work on the issue. Winston does, compactly, straightforwardly, and compellingly. He concludes (p. 3):

An additional thirty years of empirical evidence on the efficacy of market failure policies initiated primarily by the federal government, but also by the states, suggests that the welfare cost of government failure may be considerably greater than that of market failure. More specifically, the evidence suggests that policymakers have attempted to correct market failures with policies designed to affect either consumer or firm behavior, or both or to allocate resources. Some policies have forced the U.S. economy to incur costs in situations where no serious market failure exists, while others in situations where costly market failures do exist, could have improved resource allocation in a much more efficient manner.

Barone and me on why Americans are "negative"

Michael Barone tries to explain why Americans are in such a "negative mood".

But he fails.

Here's my explanation: the Baby Boomers are getting older. Old age is challenging enough, but some of my generation thought they were going to Save the World through political action. And they have recently discovered, to their horror, that they are not going to. As Adlai Stevenson quipped about a different political party in 1952, they are "out of patience, out of sorts and out of office."