Conservative Economist

Conservative Economist

Thursday, May 30

First Strike?

Defiant Pakistan threatens to use nukes if India attacks. If India does plan on attacking it would be in her interest to hit Pakistan with a surprise pre-emptive nuclear strike. Knowing this, Pakistan has as strong incentive to keep her weapons on a hair trigger, which increases the chance of an accidental launch. Of course, this chance of a Pakistani accidental launch gives India more incentive to attack first and keep her own weapons on a hair trigger.

Pakistan's public threat also provides India with a justification to launch a first strike. Pakistan would have been better off making this threat in private to India so India could not use it, after an surprise atomic attack, to justify her actions.

Wednesday, May 29

India, Pakistan and Atomics

As this STRATFOR article shows a nuclear war between India and Pakistan might be imminent. I'm amazed that this isn't getting more press coverage. Historians consider the 20th century to have begone with the outbreak of WW I. I fear that future historians will consider a nuclear war between India and Pakistan to have marked the start of the 21th century.

My ideas on how to avoid this:

1) The families of the India and Pakistani elites should move to each other's countries.

2) If India does intend on destroying Pakistan it will first attempt to eliminate her atomic weapons. The U.S. might want to actually help India do this in return for India promising not to use atomics against Pakistan.

3) The U.S. could promise to attack the country which uses atomics first. This would give a massive advantage to India, but it might save millions of lives.

Friday, May 24

India, Pakistan, Saddam and Atomics

Pakistani terrorists with the probable support of their government have repeatedly attacked India. India has a much stronger army and could easily defeat Pakistan in a conventional war. Pakistan, however, has atomics and these atomics will probably deter India from at least conquering Pakistan. The lesson that other nations will draw is that nuclear weapons give you a shield which you can use to attack your more powerful enemies. Surely, Saddam is jealous of Pakistani terrorists and is thinking that if only he have atomics he would be free to openly sponsor terrorist attacks against the U.S.

Thursday, May 23

Might Jewish Professors Challenge Anti-Americanism On Campuses?

DailyPundit.com thinks that 9/11 will cause a "sea change" in higher education that will reduce the dominance of the looney left on college campuses. The best hope might come from Jewish professors who make up a large percentage of College teachers.

The majority of college professors (of all faiths) pre-9/11 believed that America was a destructive force in the world. The enemies in our war against terrorism, however, have expressed intense hatred of Jews. Many on the left blame Israel for nurturing this hate, but I can't imagine that Jewish professors will think that anti-semitism can ever be justified. Also, the terrorists' hatred of Jews will hopefully convince leftist Jewish professors that America is currently using her military force for good.

There is a shocking amount of sympathy for the 9/11 terrorists on U.S. campuses. Given these terrorists' beliefs this sympathy should sicken everyone, but should especially bother Jews. Furthermore, the looney left on campuses have become irrationally anti-Israeli. I'm certain that this hasn't escaped the notice of Jewish professors.

I predict that 9/11 will cause a left wing religious split on college campuses with many Jewish professors abandoning their old political allies.

Wednesday, May 22

Annoying Internet Ads

Most Web surfers balk at online fees MSNBC
Internet ads are becoming increasingly intrusive. We deserve them, however, if we are not willing to pay for content.

Digital TV

Digital Video Recorders Give Advertisers Pause NYT
"Digital successors to the VCR that eliminate the frustration of recording television programs have crossed a popularity threshold, raising alarm among advertisers and TV executives who see the devices as a threat to the economics of commercial television."

I have a TiVo, love it and never watch commercials. I agree with this article that if digital recorders proliferate, then free TV will end. Since viewers pay for network TV by watching advertising, TiVo users like myself are free riders. When enough people free ride off of other's efforts, others will stop putting in the work. Digital TV recorders are to TV what Napster was to music. Technology is making it increasingly difficult to profit from intellectual property rights.

Sunday, May 19

Give Dems Top Secret Reports but

Democrats want top secret information to determine what Bush knew pre- 9/11 about terrorist attacks. Bush should give it to them only if they agree to enhanced penalties for leaks. If a congressman leaks he should go to jail. If a congressman's staff member leaks, the congressman should resign. All congressman and staff who have access should agree to take polygraphs and be interviewed under oath if there is a leak.

I suspect that the dems would rather not have the information then be accountable for leaks.

Saturday, May 18

Democrats Hurt By False Enron Claims

The Democrats went on and on about how the White house new stuff about Enron pre-collapse but weren't disclosing it. There claims were boring and have largely proved to be false. Now the Democrats are claiming that Bush is covering up 9/11 stuff. The public, I suspect, remembers the Dems false cover up claims about Enron and is thus less likely to believe the Dems claims about 9/11.

Friday, May 17

Optimal Iraqi Sanctions

We should impose a tax on Iraq's oil exports or somehow get some Iraqi assets. We should then use this money to air drop food and medicine into Iraq. This way Saddam doesn't get the credit for the goods.

Bush Was At Fault

It has been obvious for years that the U.S. was the target of many terrorist organizations. It's very pathetic that we had to wait until they actually killed several thousand of us before we struck. Islamo-fascist terrorists have been quite open about wanting to destroy America. Sure, if Bush had launched a preemptive attack before 9/11 we would have been condemned by everyone in the world save Israel, but so what. Of course, the Democrats would also have condemned Bush so they have no right to criticize him now.

Thursday, May 16

Krugman prefers government regulation over the free market

"Standard & Poor's, the private bond rating agency, announced that it would do something unprecedented: It will try to impose accounting standards substantially stricter than those required by the federal government." Krugman is upset by this and would prefer that the federal government impose the needed accounting rules. This is a strange position for an economist to take. Normally we believe that the free market does a better job than the government does at managing private enterprise. It's true that in some cases there are market failures which require the government to act. I don't see, however, what market failures exist that necessitate the government setting accounting standards.

Bush Should Accept Responsibility

The best political move for Bush would be to accept all responsibility for failure to stop 9/11. He should proclaim that the highest duty of government is to protect it's people from external enemies and on 9/11 the U.S. government which he runs failed in this obligation. The American people will forgive Bush for not protecting us against a very low probability threat. They will not accept, however, Bush trying to hide and minimize his responsibility even if almost none of the fault lies with Bush.

Wednesday, May 15

Let Women Studies Professors Exclude

Women's studies mandates seen as threats to free speech -- The Washington Times
"A women's studies program at the University of South Carolina says students must acknowledge that racism, sexism and heterosexism are existing forms of oppression before they can participate in class discussion — a move critics say threatens students' rights to free speech."

Conservative publications have been attacking leftist professors who exclude ideological enemies from their classes. These publications need to learn the importance of second best. Often, the best outcome, like intellectual diversity in women's studies programs, is unobtainable. When you can't get your first best outcome you need to ask, what is the next best thing we can achieve. I believe that with leftist professors the second best outcome is for these professors to openly label themselves.

Let's say you have a woman studies professor who believes that anyone to the right of Ted Kennedy is racist, sexist and homophobic. Given that she is going to be teaching a class, wouldn't you want her to write "no conservatives allowed" in her syllabus?

Slate's Conflict Of Interest?

On April 1st 2002 Slate ran an article called "Testing at-home teeth-whitening products." This was a consumer reports type article that compared different tooth whitening products and determined that Crest Whitestrips were the best. Today in Slate there is an ad for Crest Whitestrips. If you click on the ad it takes you to a new page which includes the original article. The ad doesn't link to the original article rather it includes it in the ad. Crest must (or at least legally should) have gotten permission to use the article in their ad. This ad would seem to create at least the appearance of a conflict of interest for Slate.

Tuesday, May 14

Cuban Embargo

We should offer to end the Cuban Embargo as long as Cuba imposes no restrictions on the sale of U.S. papers in Cuba.

The Future of Blogging?

Bloggers should set up some massive interactive web magazine that adjusts itself to each individual. Imagine that a large number of bloggings are fed into some single web site. When an individual goes to this web site he can rate the bloggings he reads. His ratings determines the order of the bloggings on his screen. The rating program would work like Amazon's custom book recommendation program. I'm not a programmer so I don't know for certain that such a program is possible, but I suspect it is. The program could obviously use how the reader has rated the blogging's author's past writings. Also, the program could determine that say person X and Y have similar tastes so if person X liked this blogging so will person Y. Furthermore, authors who submit bloggings could be forced to categorize them. Bloggers would want to participate because each blogging entry would have a link to the author's homepage.

Monday, May 13

Abolish Corporate Taxes

KRUGMAN The Great Evasion
Krugman writes about how easy it is for U.S. corporations to avoid paying taxes. Why, however, should corporations pay any taxes? Corporations can't really pay taxes any more than cars can. Rather their customers, owners and workers pay the taxes. Imposing taxes on corporations, however, increases administrative costs compared to just having individuals directly pay taxes. The situation is similar to what would happen if Americans had to fill out a tax form for each of their cars.

Deep Links

My Tech Central Station article Deep Links? No Way has just been posted. Arnold Kling has an article in Tech Central Station taking the opposite position.

Sunday, May 12

How to get High Definition TV

A "chicken, the egg problem (WP)" makes it difficult for the market to provide high definition TV. Here is a solution. If cable stations don't offer some stated amount of digital TV signals then satellite TV providers can offer local stations in the given market. This would provide a massive incentive for cable and local TV stations to offer high definition signals to limit their competition from satellite providers.

Sharon's Political Victory

Sharon Suffers Political Defeat (washingtonpost.com)
"Prime Minister Ariel Sharon tonight suffered a major defeat when his own Likud Party voted for a resolution saying there should never be a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip."

I disagree. Sharon's position is strengthened if he can argue that it would be politically difficult for him to support a Palestinian state. The resolution will force the Palestinians to give more. Consider this issue in the abstract. I'm trying to sell you a car. I want to sell it to you for $8,000 and you only want to pay $4,000. If I can prove that my wife won't let me sell it for less than say $7,000 my position is obviously strengthened.

Saturday, May 11

The (Robo) Birds

You have probably read about remote controlled rats. I suspect someone has already thought of this, but wouldn't it really help the military if we could have remote controlled birds. You could put a camera on the bird and use GPS to help guide it. The birds would be undetectable by radar and would be much cheaper than the spy drones we currently use. If we could mass produce them we could have thousands of birds looking for Bin Laden. Perhaps we could even get the birds to attack. Imagine, each bird has a small computer with a face recognition program. If the program recognizes Bin Laden , Saddam or some other enemy it commands the bird to attack. The birds could have poison in their claws so one scratch would be deadly.

In fact, the birds would not even have to have their own face recognition program. They could record faces and send the images back to some base computer. The base computer could check the faces against a list of enemies and if it matches order the bird to attack.

Friday, May 10

What Is Saddam Doing?

Imagine that you are Saddam and are desperate to stay in power. You know that the U.S. intends on invading if you don't allow in inspectors. You have only two ways to survive:
(1) give up your weapons program and allow in inspectors or
(2) deter the U.S. from invading.

The only way to accomplish (2) would be if Saddam had weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them. What if Saddam could prove that he could kill 100,000 people in Israel or Rome? Would we still be willing to invade Iraq and accept these losses? I suspect we might not and would instead negotiate some more.

Thursday, May 9

Self-labeling Professors

The Angry Clam (via Campus Nonsense) presents a Berkeley course description which states that conservatives should take other courses. I think this is great. We have a vast number of leftists on our campuses who don't respect conservatives. It's inconceivable that they will become more tolerant, so the best we can hope for is that they clearly disclose their bias and intolerance.

On the first day of my game theory class, I told my students that a prerequisite for the course was a willingness to tolerate a politically incorrect professor. I knew my class would greatly offend certain types of Smith students. They are paying massive amounts of money to take classes, and thus they had a right to know what kind of class I planned on teaching. Interestingly, one student told me that many in the class loved it when I made politically incorrect comments for apparently this was a source of great amusement to them.

Why We Need Troops In Japan

The War on Terror Flounders (KRISTOF NYT)

Kristof writes: "Is there any explanation other than inertia to account for the United States' maintaining 47,000 troops in Japan, despite the lack of any threat there except perhaps from extraterrestrials, yet refusing to provide a few thousand troops to keep the swamp drained in Afghanistan?"

North Korea still poses a large threat and she's pretty close to Japan. Also, (I think) Japan pays the full yen costs of our troops stationed there. Thus, it is fairly cheap for America to have bases in Japan. Furthermore, there is no threat to (or from) Japan because of American troops. Remember, Japan is a rich country surrounded by nations which hate her. If we left, Japan would instantly develop atomic weapons to protect herself from China. This would cause China to increase the number of nuclear missiles she has and would also probably induce South Korea to go nuclear. American troops in Japan do a truly massive amount of good in the world besides protecting the Emperor from alien invaders.

If we keep too many troops in Afghanistan they will probably get caught in tribal warfare. It is unfortunate, but American would lose popularity with Afghans if we stayed and fought to build a nation.

Stupidest MSNBC Article Ever

Ex-East Bloc grows, but at a cost? (MSNBC)

Apparently there is a massive problem in the Ex-East Bloc. The people there want western growth and don't put a high priority on sustainable development. According to the article if Eastern Europe isn't careful they will end up with the "American dream run amok" and have "suburban strip mall sprawl." The brave environmental activists are fighting for organic agriculture and are trying to "[persuade] millions of people who spent 40 years in arrested development to slow down their giddy consumption." You see "Advocates of slower, environmentally friendly progress say they are trying to prevent history from repeating itself." They don't want Eastern Europe to become like the rich West.

Wednesday, May 8

S.E.C. Adopts New Rules for Analysts (NYT)

Here is a much better rule that would guarantee consumers were fully informed about their stock market analysts:

All stock market analysts must offer their services exclusively through psychic hotlines.

Israeli Retaliation

Israel Approves Retaliation For Bombing (washingtonpost.com)

Israel should announce that they will seek to "punish" the rulers of countries who fund, support and reward suicide bombing. I can't imagine that Saddam and the Saudi dictators would put themselves at risk to support the Palestinians. If we knew that some country were supporting suicide bombing against the U.S., wouldn't we consider this an act of war worthy of retaliation?

My Blogging Prediction Comes True

Kausfiles Sells Out (InstaPundit)

Forgive my bragging but I predicted this in my TechCentralStation article. I wrote:"I predict that the best bloggers will eventually join branded, heavily advertised web sites."

How we should have handled the Nuclear Waste Problem

The House just voted to store nuclear waste in Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Nevada residents are unhappy. What we should have done was hold a negative auction. First, the energy department should have certified sites that were capable of handling the waste. Next, there should have been a negative auction with the State willing to accept the least to keep the waste winning the auction and getting the radioactive materials. This way, we wouldn't be using the power of the Federal government to impose unwanted material on just one State.

Tuesday, May 7

The Long-Run Influence of Blogging

Dynamist.com: The Scene (vpostrel.com)Postrel writes "The blogosphere is interesting and growing. It has an intensely involved readership. And it's orders and orders of magnitude less influential than whatever nonsense Anna Quindlen decides to spew on the back page of Newsweek, which in turn is nothing compared to the audience of a network TV show with lousy ratings."

She is right that bloggers don't have much influence today. In the long run they will, however, because blogging provides excellent training for future journalist. Blogging gives one practice in writing and causes you to see journalism from an editor's perspective. I predict that in five years many of the best new non-TV journalists and commentators will be long time bloggers.

Christina Hoff Sommers on Campus Political Bias (noticed on Campus Nonsense)

Student, 21, Is Arrested in Nevada in 5-State Bombing Spree (NYT)

The Europeans will probably criticize the U.S. for creating the conditions that caused this bomber to act. The Europeans will probably object to the bomber's arrest. They will probably demand that we negotiate with him and find out what we need to do to get him to voluntarily give up bombing.

Arrest Everyone

What would happen if the Israelis arrested all the Palestinian leaders and denied them access to the press. Would the Palestinians still be able to organize suicide attacks?

Monday, May 6

My 1st amendment right not to recycle

Environmentalism has become a religion. (OpinionJournal)
In a month I will be moving to a town where recycling is required. Since most types of recycling actually harm the environment, I believe that support for recycling exists for religious reasons. It represents returning sacred objects to the goddess earth, or something. I'm considering suing, claiming that forcing me to recycle violates my religious freedom by forcing me to practice a pagan ritual.

Sugar pills beat antidepressants

Against Depression, a Sugar Pill Is Hard to Beat (washingtonpost.com)
A new analysis has found that in the majority of trials conducted by drug companies in recent decades, sugar pills have done as well as -- or better than -- antidepressants.

Let's say your loved one is depressed but is being helped by some expensive drugs. Since antidepressants have side effects, wouldn't it be ethical for you to secretly replace her expensive antidepressants with sugar pills?

The Convention on Biological Diversity

Biologists Sought a Treaty; Now They Fault It (NYT)
I don't know all the details of the Convention on Biological Diversity but I assume it prevents companies from taking full commercial advantage of the biological materials they discover in third world countries. The treaty (I think) assigns property rights to biological materials to the country they reside in.

The disadvantage of property rights is that the property right holder will often restrict use to increase his profits. For example, by giving property rights in books to publishers, publishers set prices well above costs and reduce output. If we abolished copyrights on books, their price would plummet and their circulation would expand. The advantage of assigning property rights, however, is that it can increase incentives to create new property. Authors often write books in a hope to profit from their sale, so if we abolished copyrights we would have fewer books.

No one is creating new natural biological resources. Consequently, there is no efficiency benefit to assigning property rights to these resources. All the Convention on Biological Diversity does, I suspect, is cause nations to restrict use of natural biological resources. This is one case where property rights actually restrict economic activity.


Update


Mark Byron makes some interesting comments on this topic. I agree with some of what he writes, but not all of it. He says "The genome isn't that much different from oil or gold deposits since they are no new gold or oil deposits being made either ...applying a mineral-rights paradigm to bioprospecting isn't as screwy as it sounds to a free-marketeer's ears."

As an economist I believe that mining is very different from bioprospecting because gold and oil are rival while biosamples are really not. A good is rival if one person's use of a good stops others from using the good. A can of Pepsi is rival because if I consume it you can't. In contrast, an idea is not rival because if I think it you still could.

Bioprospecting is basically a search for knowledge while mining is a search for a finite rival resource. Consequently, there are benefits to using property rights to restrict how many people can mine or else all the miners would get in each others' way and probably do an inefficient job of mining. When one company bioprospects, however, it doesn't restrict the ability of other firms to bioprospect. Forests are so vast that if other companies are bioprospecting, it doesn't make it harder for my company to do the same. Therefore, there are no efficiency benefits to using property rights to restrict bioprospecting.

Liberate young doctors from collusion


Medical Students Sue Over Residency System NYT
The hospitals basically admit to colluding to keep low wages and long hours for new doctors, but the hospitals think it's justified. Almost all organizations believe that they are special and should be exempt from antitrust laws. The magic of the marketplace, however, works for all sectors of the economy, whether for profit or not. I suspect many talented people avoid medical school because of the sacrifices that residents have to incur. Consequently, if competition improved their condition perhaps medical schools would attract people who would otherwise go into other professions like the law.

When an organization gets labor at sub-market rates it has incentives to waste that labor. For example, imagine that a hospital had to pay nurses more than residents. This hospital would have a financial incentive to get the residents to take on duties that should be performed by nurses. The hospitals will argue that they need to pay low wages to subsidize training. This is a silly argument for residents would be willing to accept lower wages in return for better training. Consequently, allowing the market to set resident's wages would give hospitals a greater incentive to improve training for improved training would permit hospitals to pay lower wages to young doctors.

Residents are in a similar position to graduate students in that both groups work in return mostly for training. The plight of graduate students shows that the free market would not necessarily set a high wage for residents. Just as hospitals rely upon residents' labors, universities are desperately dependant upon graduate students. Universities do not, however, collude to keep down wages for graduate students. The market, all by itself, keeps these wages very very low. Graduate students are willing to sacrifice and put in long hours to get quality training. Consequently, I believe that the market for graduate students shows that hospitals could survive a free market for residents.

Sunday, May 5

The Saudis Should Sell America Terrorism Insurance

The Saudis are running those commercials claiming to be our friend in the war against terrorism. Let them prove it by selling terrorism insurance to U.S. companies. I bet the Saudis would put far more effort into stopping terrorism if their billions were at risk.

Strange WP Headline

Iraqi Cabinet Votes to End Oil Embargo (washingtonpost.com)
Why would the Post run such a misleading headline implying that the Iraqi Cabinet has independent authority and that votes in Iraq matter?

Why it's better to give college students loans rather than grants.

Public Colleges, Broken Promises NYT
The NYT favors giving college students grants over loans. They write: "A national policy once based primarily on need-based grants is now dominated by loan programs that often require Americans to assume unmanageable debts."

Attending college greatly increases an American's future income. Indeed, since it's so profitable to graduate from college, educational differences are the greatest source of inequality in the U.S. Giving college students grants is thus a reverse Robin Hood wealth transfer. The NYT wrote that loans can force Americans to take on unmanageable debts. This is silly as government loans can often be paid off over 30 years, and over these 30 years a college graduate will make far more than his non-college educated counterparts do. The extra income a college graduate will make will be far far more than needed to pay off any loans.

Saturday, May 4

Give Every American $700

The House passes a $180 billion farm subsidy bill. The cost to Americans will be far greater than this since farm subsidies cause inefficient land use and drive out exports. Consequently, we would save money if we abolished farm subsidies and instead gave every American $700. While this tactic would anger millionaire farmers, I suspect it would be politically very popular.

Why Gore/Lieberman Would Lose The Black Vote In the Dem Primaries

Robert Novak writes "Well-placed Democratic sources report plans for Al Gore and Sen. Joseph Lieberman, the party's 2000 ticket, to make an unprecedented bid for the 2004 presidential and vice-presidential nominations as a team."

Currently, since running mates are picked by candidates after they have won the nomination, running mates are chosen to appeal to people outside of the nominees' party. If running mates are now to be chosen before the convention, they will be chosen to appeal to loyal party members. This will reduce the benefits of selecting moderates and favor the selection of conservative Republican and liberal Democratic running mates.

Since blacks are such loyal Democratic voters, there is little benefit to a Democratic nominee of picking a black running mate. If the choice is made before the primaries, however, there would be a significant advantage to a Democratic candidate picking a black running mate. Indeed, given Gores strength among blacks, I predict that some prominent Democratic hopeful will choose a black running mate well before the convention.

Friday, May 3

Government Subsidies for Bloggers

DailyPundit suggests federal subsidies for pundits (He cites this article)

While I suspect he is joking, it just might work. Economic theory predicts that the most successful special interest groups are the ones that can best organize. Blogger pundits could easily mount a campaign to get federal funding. We could easily organize e-mail and telephone campaigns. I propose that we first get the government to give bloggers free access to a reliable server. Next, we should get tax credits for all the time we spend/waste blogging.

Put New York Times reporters on trial

The New York Times wants the U.S. to submit to the authority of an international court. If the NYT believes that the U.S. should surrender its sovereignty to an international criminal court then I propose the creation of an International Journalism Court. This court would prosecute journalistic crimes and bias reporting. Consistency would of course dictate that the New York Times accept my court's authority.

The NYT wrote of the international criminal court "The fear in Washington is that American soldiers abroad could be charged unjustly with war crimes. Such a possibility is remote." Consequently, I'm sure the NYT wouldn't mind if its journalists were subject to imprisonment based upon the findings of my International Journalism Court. Sure, there is the possibility that judges appointed by, say, Arab dictators might imprison a NYT columnist for pro-Israel writings but surely the NYT would accept the remote chance of this happening in order to further international justice. After all, newspaper libels cause serious harm in our world. (Consider the anti-Semitic rantings of much of the Arab press.) If the NYT feels it's necessary to subject U.S. solders to the whims of an International Court, then surely they would be willing to subject their own reporters to an international authority.

Too many Internet ads

I understand why free Internet sites need annoying ads. Given the low advertising rates, however, why do sites that charge still have ads? Blogger allows you to pay a little to not have ads on your site. Why can't all news sites take an analogous approach and let readers pay for ad free content?

The Benefits of Linking Restrictions

In the future there might be great benefits to a paper from restricting the right to link to their content. Let's say that in 2 years the Internet ad market takes off and popular bloggers make lots of money. Might it not be in the interest of papers to try and get some of this money by selling the right to deep link to their content. There would be no easy technological way (I assume) to allow only those who have paid to deep link. Consequently, to allow Internet sites to maximize the economic value of their property rights it's necessary to permit them to restrict linking.

Sell The Beaches

Malibu's rich and famous fight to keep beach private State draws a line in sand for public access.

Ordinary Americans have the legal right to use the Malibu beach, and Hollywood homeowners don't like it. The stars have been walling off access to the beach so folks can't get access. California is thinking about creating right of ways. This has, of course, caused liberal stars to discover the virtue of property rights.

My solution is to sell exclusive access to the beach to the homeowners. If the Hollywood elite want exclusive access to the beaches near their property, fine, but make them pay.

Thursday, May 2

My girlfriend is worried that my political writings could bring me some unwelcome Salman Rushdie like attention. My stuff is so mild compared to Ann Coulter's work, however, that I'm pretty sure I'm safe.

Simple Spam Solution

We should all have to pay to send e-mail. Imposing a cost of just one cent to send an e-mail would significantly reduce the amount of spam.

Spam is really an environmental issue, for it is informational pollution.

Welfare and Immigrants

Welfare Backsliding (Hillary & Joe Lieberman)
"Nationally, every year legal immigrants contribute approximately $50 billion more to our nation in taxes than they receive in government support. Yet they are denied benefits unless they have been in this country for five years. For reasons we cannot fathom, the Bush proposal turns its back on legal immigrants and the states that incur the costs of supporting their struggling families"

Someone comes to America for a few years and loses his job. Why is it so terrible to ask this person to go back to his home country since things are obviously not working out very well for him here, and he has lived in the U.S. for less than five years?

Nader ignores the cost of lawyers

By James Fallows and Ralph Nader (Slate)
Ralph Nader: "Try this one out, Jim. Next time you're speaking to a large audience, ask for a raise of hands by people who have ever filed a single lawsuit (apart from a divorce action). Surprisingly few—even from upper-middle-income people."

How about asking:

1) How many of you pay more for health insurance because of lawsuits filed by others?
2) How many of you are part of a consumer class action lawsuit that you never consented to join?
3) How many of you were forced to hire a lawyer to draw a will or close on a home purchase because of legal restrictions designed to profit lawyers?
4) How many of you make less than 1/2 of what the average American lawyer makes even though lawyers distribute wealth rather than create it?
5) How many of you couldn't become a lawyer (had you the desire) because of the restrictions on entry into the legal profession lawyers have enacted to protect their incomes.
6) How many of you have a greater fear of crime because of the expansion in criminal rights lawyers have judicially enacted over the last 50 years?

Wednesday, May 1

Deep Links

Site Barks About Deep Link

The normally libertarian web community should not object to restrictions on deep linking for there could be valid economic reasons for prohibiting it. Perhaps, as a form of forced advertising, a paper would want all viewers to see their home page. The primary problem with Internet content is that almost no one has figured out a way to profit from it. We should give maximum flexibility to content holders to allow them to experiment with different business models.

Also, it's possible that the viewers a paper would receive from deep linking are not economically beneficial to the it. Perhaps an online paper only benefits from having local viewers. It seems likely that the surfers it would get from deep links are non-local people that maybe aren't worth the cost of the bandwidth.