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January 2019

"‘We Can’t Afford It’"

Another very fine piece by Kevin Williamson.

When progressives such as Representative Ocasio-Cortez propose to create new benefits such as a single-payer health-care system or a universal college-tuition benefit, the most frequent conservative rejoinder is: “That’s a nice idea, but we can’t afford it.” The reality is something closer to the opposite: We can afford these things, but they are terrible ideas for other reasons. The United States has a GDP per capita substantially higher than that of Sweden or Denmark — we could easily afford a Nordic-style welfare state if the U.S. middle class were willing to accept Nordic levels of taxation. (It isn’t, and that, rather than the machinations of plutocrats, is what actually stands in the way of the Democrats’ daydreams.)  

Two good pieces on why behaviorial economics should *not* be emphasized

Scott Sumner: "Let's not emphasize behavioral economics".

For the economics profession, our “value added” comes not from spoon feeding behavioral theories that the public is already inclined to accept, rather it is in teaching well-established basic principles of which the public is highly skeptical.  Thus we should try to discourage people from believing in the following popular myths . . . 

David Gal, professor of marketing: "Why Is Behavioral Economics So Popular? The recent vogue for this academic field is in part a triumph of marketing."

"Early Super Bowl Preview: Belichick’s Old-School Plan for a New Rams Juggernaut"

Interesting short piece on a key to McVay's Rams offense. The thesis:

The second-year head coach’s system is defined by condensed formations. The Rams don’t have wide receivers so much as “tight” receivers, with Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods and Josh Reynolds almost always aligning just a few yards outside the offensive tackles.

This has several benefits. One is that it puts receivers close to one another, where their routes easily crisscross and intertwine, creating traffic for man-to-man defenders and poor leverage for zone defenders. Another: A receiver aligned tightly inside, uninhibited by the sideline, always has a two-way go. And crossing patterns, which are huge for L.A., are deeper since there’s less ground to cover horizontally. But perhaps most importantly, a tightly aligned receiver is better positioned to block on run plays.