Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

The Advantage to Sin Taxes is Relatively Low IED

My Loyal Reader notes that the economic survival of Zimbabwe’s current government is now largely dependent on sin taxes: As he presented his revised 2009 budget to parliament, Finance Minister Tendai Biti noted that “indirect taxes made up of customs and excise duty have contributed 88 percent of government revenue, which means that the government […]

Stimulus Update

Brad DeLong has the breakdown of things taken out of the no-longer-possible-to-defend-as-stimulating stimulus bill. Nice to see that no Republican, and precious few Democratic Senators, believe in following even Andrew Samwick’s tepid endorsement: Congress and the Obama Administration should be very discriminating in what they will spend money on. Bailout money for banks and large […]

Word to be Eliminated: "Symbolize"

Several recent events have been described as “just symbolism,” which apparently is a method of dismissing uncomfortable statements of fact, such as ‘Sarah Palin is the nominee for Vice President’ or ‘Rick Warren will give the invocation at Barack Obama’s inauguration.’ Apparently, these moments are supposed to have a lifespan closer to that of Britney […]

Random Notes, or, More Posts I Don’t Have to Write

Greg Mankiw presents Yet Another Reason to regret skipping the AEA this year, though somehow the word “intentional” was left out of the description. Stan Collender, of all people, does the job I wished someone would do on Martin Feldstein’s WSJ op-ed. I may have beaten him by a day in calling it out, but […]

The Point at which I stopped giving Barry O the benefit of the doubt

As quoted by Greg Sargent: I am fierce advocate for equality for gay and — well, let me start by talking about my own views. I think it is no secret that I am a fierce advocate for equality for gay and lesbian Americans. It is something I have been consistent on and something I […]

A Collective "Aw, Gee" is in order

CNN works hard for its money: Although ex-presidents in Adams’ day quickly descended into obscurity after their years in the Oval Office, today the transition away from serving as the leader of the free world is high-profile, potentially very lucrative and, above all, a difficult job in itself. This is especially true for Bush, historians […]

Canadian Content

There are three regular AB posters who currently are residents of the Great White North. So, naturally, it’s a Brooklyn boy who breaks the news that a plurality is not always a majority: The Liberals and New Democrats signed an agreement on Monday to form an unprecedented coalition government, with a written pledge of support […]

Waiting for the DeLong-Fish Cage Match

While I’m trying to decide whether unmanaged funds are preferrable to mismanaged ones, and wondering whether any discussion of Mark Cuban (I like the picture better than CNN’s) belong here,* the NYT decides to continue its determined destruction of its reputation. Stanley Fish manages to forget—or, more accurately, ignore, since he mentions it in the […]

Hey, Big Spender!

by Tom Bozzo Look who’s into big government now, via TrafficWorld: “We need to spend an enormous, massive amount of money in rebuilding America’s infrastructure, not only in the short term, but in the long term to underpin the economy once it’s up and growing again,” said R. Bruce Josten, the [U.S. Chamber of Commerce]’s […]