Wagster's blog

Why I'm Skeptical About Piketty

Like many of you, I am yet to read Capital in the 21st Century but have grazed a number of reviews and write-ups about it. Here’s why I’m approaching the book with some skepticism.


The book’s thesis is that returns to capital (r) have been greater than growth of the economy (g), and that this relationship will continue, causing wealth (and thus inequality) to continue to grow.


Fat Boy's Shoe Drops

An aide from his office is tied to lane closings.


How bad is this? Bad. If Kelly or Wildstein had acted independently, they would already have been let go. The fact that Christie has held on to them tells us that he can't afford to tick them off, for fear they will turn on him. (Either that or he is unable to get to the bottom of this, which I find hard to believe.)


Who Wins the Internet TV Race?

There has been a lot of interesting speculation on blogs such a Fred Wilson's on who will win the race to provide TV over the internet. (Read the comments to get the full flavor.)


Optimum Inequality?

Both left and right seem to agree about one thing: rich people tend to invest more, and consume proportionally less than middle class or poor people do.


This is the right's argument for tax cuts for the rich: it lets them invest more, and that creates jobs.


It is also the left's argument for various kinds of stimulus spending like unemployment extensions: get the money into the hands of people without money, who have to consume. It is demand that our economy needs now, not supply.


The Buildings Are Too Damn High!

In The Rent Is Too Damn High!, Matthew Yglesias makes a case against regulating population density in metropolitan areas. He argues convincingly that building higher in our cities will lower rents, raise disposable income, improve productivity, and provide considerable environmental benefits.

Where he loses me is in this sentence:

Weekend Open Thread

Try to be agreeable.  And if you have to be disagreeable, at least be disagreeable about stuff that matters.


Oh, and by the way. I'll be in LA from Wednesday the 15th through the morning of the 20th. Harley, Traveller, any one else that's in the area... drop me a note and maybe we can have a drinkie (will at homebakedfilms dot com.) I'm staying with some friends in the mid-City area.

Headin' for the Weekend Open Thread

I just don't get it. A few days ago Joe Nocera wrote a great column about underpriced IPOs. This is something I wondered all through the 90s boom. How do companies let Wall Street get away with that? I went through the comments trying to find a decent justification... I couldn't find any. Yet I also suspect that there's smart people on the other side of the deal, and I find it hard to believe that they are all naifs. Any ideas?


Or say whatever's on your mind.

Fantasy Enterpreneurship

There are some kinds of cranks that gush about the world-changing inventions they have conceived. Not me. I’m the kind of crank who comes up with business ideas I’ll never try. Here’s just a couple…


Game Theory and Sitting It Out

There’s been some talk in this forum about the advisability of sitting out an election as a political strategy that might force Democratic leadership to not take its base for granted. I thought it might be instructive to apply a very simple game theory model to this action.


Mid-Week Open Thread

'Cause I said so.

Which First: Immigration or Energy?

Bill Clinton once said that one of the worst mistakes he made in his presidency was tackling health care before welfare reform. The sequencing of bills in the legislative pipeline is a very important factor in enacting an agenda. Has the Obama administration erred by prioritizing immigration, as Jonathan Chait suggests?

Obama Diplomacy

Fifteen months into the Obama administration, perhaps it's time for a very quick overview of our foreign posture.

Most Influential Books

I'm late to the bloggy viral party (I believe Tyler Cowen kicked it off), but here are my most influential books (except they're not all books). I've sincerely tried to avoid intellectual pretension. These are not the greatest books, not the most important books, nor are they my favorite books... these are the books that have bent my life or thinking. I've organized them into subsections.

Triumph at the Starting Line

I interrupt my African sojourn (where last week we felt the full brunt of a harmattan) to make a few comments on the passage of health care reform.

What a great day! As has been amply noted elsewhere, this bill will make a huge difference in millions of people's lives and will enshrine the concept that health care is a right and a responsibility, not a privilege. However, as my title indicates... this is only the beginning. Fine tuning this bill will be a task that will engage this and future administrations for many, many years.

Mid-Week Open Thread

Talking about Forvm wagers... look what I found cleaning out my bookmarks. I had forgotten all about that. Hmmm. Looks like I have an Amazon gift certificate coming my way (even if it was a bit of an eke-out.) Makes me regret that I didn't set the stakes at a bottle of Hank's Glenmorangie instead.

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