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Economics

September 08, 2014

"Cowell’s Alternative, Part 1: High Fees, Secrecy Surround Pension Investments"

Discouraging news about the North Carolina state pension fund. (Part 2.)

"Right now we have about 26 people," he says. "And that is by far the smallest staff of any pension fund that’s comparable in size in the country. By far."

I kinda don't see why they need 26 to manage the fund. Some equity index funds, some ETFs, a bond fund or two, maybe a REIT or two, and you're done. A couple of my former colleagues and some graduate students at NC State could probably do it. 

Link via one of the those former colleagues, Richard Warr. (If you get tired of being a prof and administrative honcho, run for state treasurer, Richard.)

They're still spending lotsa money in Detroit

"Is Detroit's New Light Rail Line America's Greatest Boondoggle? A $137 million three-mile train is coming to a nearly deserted avenue in a bankrupt city."

"Sucking the Life Out of Detroit—With a New Sports Stadium".

See also Kevin Williamson's savage piece, "The Corrupt Bargain: Detroit’s bankruptcy, a rogues’ gallery".

September 04, 2014

"The Republican Obamacare Battle Plan for 2015"

I've thought for a while that the Republicans should never, ever say they want to "repeal" Obamacare. No, no, they just want to "fix" it. (Fix it real good.) This article argues along that line.

"Uncle Stupid’s Sugar Buzz"

Among the many, many fine candidates for most indefensible federal program, I'd rank the long-running sugar program right near or at the top

"What Did We Give Up With the Big Red Cars?"

An article by the recently deceased UCLA econ professor George W. Hilton putting to rest, if it is needed, the claim that GM destroyed mass transit in Los Angeles.

September 03, 2014

"Fact Check: A $500 million education cut that isn't quite what it seems"

WRAL-TV analyzes the Thom-Tillis-cut-nearly-$500-million-from-education ad that's been running here in Raleigh. Most charitable interpretation: it oversimplifies

September 02, 2014

Tell me something I don't know

"Most Americans are Financially Illiterate".

Sigh.

August 28, 2014

"Why Are Rotisserie Chickens So Cheap?"

The answer sounds right, if a bit . . . icky.

August 26, 2014

"A Fiscal Reckoning for Oregon's 'Pay It Forward'"

My advice: never ignore "fundamental laws of finance".

Surely, many are wondering: How could Pay It Forward be so expensive if students would be paying for their own educations, perhaps even more than they do now? The answer is that it costs money to move money through time. Pay It Forward enthusiasts often ignored this fundamental law of finance.

Two from Professor Gordon

Fine posts.

"History lesson".

But this California history shows once again that in times of boom, people were too busy to fall into the hole of zero-sum hatreds. Its the old story. Prosperous people or people who take seriously the prospect of prosperity are nicer and more tolerant.

"Three or four-hundred years?"

The story ends with the predictable "give us more money." More money has been going to employee pension funding -- and even then there is a reported unfunded pension fund gap. We get the gap, high prices, floods, and questionable service. There is never enough money when there is a politically influential and unionized workforce.

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