Pursuit of Truthiness

my gut tells me I know economics

Archive for the ‘self-righteous moralizing’ Category

Just the Economics of Contraception Mandates

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Today the Supreme Court ruled that closely held corporations like Hobby Lobby cannot be compelled to cover contraception as part of their health insurance. Most people will interpret this decision in terms of respect and status- they like it because they think it shows respect for religious beliefs, or dislike it because they think it lowers the status of women.


If you are one of the people for whom politics is more about policy than status (there are dozens of us!), you will probably find these papers by me and RomneyCare/ACA architect Jonathan Gruber enlightening. Rather than insisting that the decision should make you happy or outraged, I will leave it to you to connect the dots on what these papers mean for contraception mandates as policy.

Written by James Bailey

June 30, 2014 at 3:57 pm

Two months to the Ceremony: Its not too late to earn that Peace Prize

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As far as I can tell, no one has actually accepted the Nobel Peace Prize while they were prosecuting a war, much less two.  Lê Ðức Thọ was offered one while involved in the invasion of / civil war with South Vietnam, but refused to accept the award.

I see three logical possibilities for this year’s prize.   Obama could accept the award while dodging accusations of hypocrisy.  Or he could pull a Lê Ðức Thọ/ Jean-Paul Sartre and refuse it.

But the most intriguing possibility is that Obama could earn his award, and end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in time for the ceremony on Dec 10.  While he’s at it, he could sign a pact with the other nuclear powers to destroy all of the world’s weapons.  And veto any renewal of the PATRIOT ACT.

Don’t say it’s politically impossible, Obama has the power to everything except the arms treaty unilaterally, with approval from no one.  But if anyone out there believes he will really end the wars soon, all I ask is that you put your money where your mouth is.  If the wars will be over in two months, you could make a fortune shorting the stock of every publicly traded U.S. defense contractor.  Let me know how that goes!

Written by James Bailey

October 9, 2009 at 2:52 pm

What to do with $

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Now that I have a real job, and may or may not have some other significant revenue streams/assets, this is now a question with more than theoretical importance to me.

Being back home, I’ve been confronted by the examples of my family members.

Some can only measure their net worth with significantly negative numbers; another measures wealth by how big the numbers in the bank account are, constantly worrying about spending money. Some measure wealth by how sweet their cars are and how many toys they have. (If said family members ever read this, you know who you are; but nobody else will).

I fear I’ve gotten rather out of practice at being self-righteous (let me know if you think otherwise), but I believe this is a proper occasion for some good, old-fashioned accusatory moralism.

I hope I never follow the examples my family has set for me in how they spend; I hope they will find a new path as well.

Some trade-offs to consider:

Will having this thing I’m buying make me happy enough to forget about interest payments, debt collectors, and never being able to retire? Is this purchase worth the financial insecurity bundled with it?

A: maybe. The point is, think about it.

If I spend most of my disposable income on personal entertainment (sweet cars, movies, expensive dinners, electronics, drugs, hookers, et c), will I really be any happier?

A: well yes, if you’re entertained by seeing how your life looks as it crumples and folds in on itself as the meaning drains out of it…. this doesn’t sound fun, but I’m sure its better when you’re watching it on a plasma TV, while high and accompanied by said hookers.

If I make saving money one of the primary goals of my life, seeking to accomplish it in everything I do and making it the cornerstone of how I relate to people, will I end up with lots of money in the bank?

A: You sure will!

And then I’ll be happy?!?

A: Hell no! Saving money is a never-ending struggle, bound to end in death; a struggle which will rob you and those around you of the ability to enjoy anything you spent money on. Unless you have a fetish for green paper, money is only valuable for what you can spend it on! Save when you have something to save for, or nothing to spend on. Don’t spend your life worrying!

So know that you’ve shared your priceless wisdom about what not to do with $, what do we do with it?

Great question!

Answers anybody?

Written by James Bailey

June 28, 2007 at 1:27 am