November 2, 2011 in Wrapped Up
Tune in tomorrow to the live webcast of the LBJ School’s conference on the Crisis in the Eurozone. If you are interested in watching tomorrow, you should register today.
Eric Falkenstein @Falkenblog has a great post this morning about the randomness of wealth accumulation. He began by debunking an idiotic model in his local paper that sought to explain wealth inequality as the natural result of random success. This part really hit home with me:
Success is the result of randomness, effort, and ability. If you omit one of these, you will be miserable. A lot of growing up is about finding what you like that you are good at, and usually you like things you are relatively good at. Then practice that skill until you become excellent at it. The rest you can’t really worry about even though that too is important, especially in explaining things like why certain people are really rich, which is often being in the right place at the right time. This should make us content because it’s all we can control.
While talking about Falkenblog, I would be remiss not to mention this post which sheds some light on the fault line I tried to draw yesterday–between blamers of banks and blamers of government intervention. Felix Salmon brings even more perspective to the issue, with a great post on why institutional investors will still choose Too Big To Fail banks in most situations.
The main question, to my mind, is why people like Herman Cain and Rick Perry talk about transferring massive amounts of money to the rich when polls show that even a majority of Republicans think the rich should pay more in taxes.
This part of the article makes a point I try to stress each day, and I like Herman Cain.
The Cain 9-9-9 plan is breathtaking. The poorest Americans would see their effective tax rate increase from about 5 percent to 18 percent. The typical household would pay $4,000 more than today. But the top 0.1 percent would get an average tax cut of $1.4 million and would pay an effective tax rate of 18 percent–lower than any other income group. That a plan so insane could be proposed by a leading presidential candidate just shows how crazy our political system has become….
If you’re running for president, votes matter. But money matters first.
And, yes, Obama knows this as well as any GOP candidate.
Econbrowser has something to say to all those people bitching about Bernanke and the decline of the dollar. Menzie links to this blogpost which argues that “the most recent bout of U.S. dollar declines largely can be attributed to the recovery in global economic activity from the most recent recession.” Looks like the U.S. dollar is still the world’s reserve currency.
For those curious about the Obama administration’s efforts to rework the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), here is the most nuanced commentary on the issue I have come across.
Oh, the Greek government is about to collapse–and its not only our hummus plates that could be effected. Also, MF Global joins Business Insider’s list of “The 11 Largest Bankruptcies in American History.”