Would you believe this came in an e-mail forward from my mother? I laughed at a few of them so here you go.
A paraprosdokian is a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the reader or listener to reframe or reinterpret the first part.
Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.
Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.
If I agreed with you we'd both be wrong.
We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.
War does not determine who is right - only who is left.
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
Evening news is where they begin with 'Good evening', and then proceed to tell you why it isn't.
How is it one careless match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole box to start a campfire?
I thought I wanted a career, turns out I just wanted pay checks.
I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.
You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.
Hospitality: making your guests feel like they're at home, even if you wish they were.
I discovered I scream the same way whether I'm about to be devoured by a great white shark or if a piece of seaweed touches my foot.
There's a fine line between cuddling and holding someone down so they can't get away.
When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water.
You're never too old to learn something stupid.
To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.
If you are supposed to learn from your mistakes, why do some people have more than one child?
Economists are often accused of believing that everything – health, happiness, life itself – can be measured in money. What we actually believe is even odder. We believe that everything can be measured in anything.
There you have it: it isn’t about how we measure, it’s about the fact that we measure comparatively: everything is relative.
That actually might be a test for whether someone you’re arguing with is open to the economic way of thinking, or whether that mental door is already closed: do they object to making certain relative valuations?
In a nutshell, that’s the problem with our two measures of poverty: absolute poverty is measured by comparing to a standard of what someone had, while “relative” poverty is measured by comparing only to those we can see right now.
In a nutshell, it also addresses the political problem about how to interpret the scale of Obama’s stimulus package. Is it large relative to some standard stimulus package. Yes, so the Republicans are pushing something analogous to absolute poverty. But, Is the Obama stimulus large relative to recently observed stimulus packages (like Bush’s). Not so much. Thus, the Democrats position is more akin to relative poverty measurement.
Cross-posted from SUU Macroblog, which is required reading for my macro students.
As I was in bumper to bumper traffic this morning, I got stuck behind a fellow Alexandrian with a “Buy Local” sticker on his car.
How ironic, a buy local sticker on an imported Land Rover LR2! Now, Land Rover was a British company, recently owned by Ford (until 2008), but they sold it to Tata Motor Company along with Jaguar. Tata is an Indian company.
What exactly was going through the mind of the person who did this? My motivations are more important than your consequences, perhaps?
… The life choice that Mark’s outlines and that is advocated as prudent and reasonable by society is in fact incredibly risky.
… Imagine the choice of a poor teenage girl deciding whether or not to have unprotected sex and possibly become pregnant, or to study hard, make good grades and stay in school.
Forget the unprotected sex itself, which we almost all find enticing.
The key is the pregnancy. For a 16 year-old girl regular unprotected sex will result in a full term pregnancy in the modern world with roughly probability one. There is little chance she will die in child birth. Late term miscarriages at her age are rare.
Now, just like any other parent the birth of that child will be the most important event in her life. And, the love of that child will be the most valuable thing she experiences. Some people say that looking back their career was more important than their children, but those people are few and far between.
So, if the girl has unprotected sex she gets right here, right now, the most important and valuable thing in life will happen immediately with PROBABILTY ONE.
Its difficult to get better than that. Waiting at all creates a risk that something will happen to prevent this. Even, if you can be sure it won’t – and many couples find out unfortunately that you can’t be so sure – you still have to discount the time. You have wait for the most valuable thing in your life.
Mark’s would have her set all that aside. Put away time that she will never get back – you must remember that no matter what you will never get these days back – for the chance that supposedly she will go on to college and get some job and meet some guy and then later have a different child under what might be better circumstances.
This is a risk. Taking Marks advice means that you lose a sure shot at the greatest thing in life. It means that you potentially waste time and time is the currency of life. He wants to convince you that the gamble might pay off.
Yet, how is a Bayesian supposed to tackle this problem?
I look around in my neighborhood and by definition none of the folks here have done what Marks suggests. These people are like me. I have no reason to believe that I am different.
What kind of sense would it make for me to take this gamble when no else does? No, it makes more sense to play it safe and take the sure thing.
Now, of course teachers, parents and helpful people like Marks will tell me to do otherwise. Should I believe them?
Not on your life.
By their own admission they want to see me “succeed.” That is, they benefit from my gamble. Yet, they incur none of the risks. They don’t lose time with their child. They don’t risk their fertility. They don’t experience the disutility of social climbing.
Heads they win. Tails I lose.
Listening to them would be nothing short of foolish.
And, so of course the teenage girl does not listen. Not because she is irrational, but because she is rational.
Indeed, strategies to get her to change her mind hinge on coercion or leveraging irrationality. Parents may threaten as poor parents do not have the resources to bribe.
Some teachers will try to convince students that they can do anything if they try. Clearly they can not. Others will significantly downplay the disutility of social climbing. They will cast crossing into the cultural unknown as uplifting, not depressing and possibly deeply lonely. These kind of stories border on outright deception.
Everyone will try to get her to “believe in herself.” This is an attempt to induce Caplan-esque rational irrationality. That is, to attach an emotional preference to a belief about the natural world. This is epistemologically equivalent to the nationalistic fervor that accompanies “America First.”
And, if that doesn’t work some teachers will resort to honest guilt: “We took a chance on you, now you take a chance on yourself.”
However, all of these strategies come down not to encouraging prudence and rationality, because the prudent and rational thing to do is to get pregnant. They instead hinge on emotional appeals to irrationality, noble lies and social, and sometimes physical coercion.
If you were a poor black kid, that’s what you would face.
I see much the same thing with (liberal-culturally poor) Mormon kids. Non-Mormons in Utah frequently complain about these kids getting married young, having more kids, and abandoning their hopes and dreams. Nonsense. What hope and dream is there that’s bigger than having your own kid?
Anyway, back to what I say about equal pay. This is also nonsense. Roughly half of our society has a window of about a third of their life to create something of near-infinite value to them. Yet creating that infinite value imposes externalities on surrounding stakeholders: employers, coworkers, spouses and the extended family, neighbors, schools, and other institutions.
What woman wouldn’t want to take off from all of those to increase her (non-monetary) wealth by a near-infinite amount? For a woman in the right position, this is a no-brainer; and frankly, as Karl points out, it’s a no-brainer for a woman in just about any position in modern society.
So, what exactly is the beef if stakeholders want some of the costs they bare internalized by the person creating the near-infinite wealth?
The green panel on the left shows that America takes less from someone making $25K than any other G-8 country except Japan, and the difference there is $50 per year.
The panel on the right shows that America does not tax the rich as much as other countries.
You can also get some interesting information about progressivity from the two charts. A rough measure of that is the difference in the (average) tax rate shown on the two charts. A bigger difference shows a more progressive tax system:
Not surprisingly, England tops the list: that’s why all their rock, movie, and sports stars live in other countries.
The original source data is here, and here’s the table of all 19 countries surveyed:
* This chart shows strictly income taxes. In Europe, the wide use of VATs changes the picture, while the wide use of sales taxes in the U.S. will do the same. Also, international comparisons like this are always fraught with problems because of the relatively larger burden placed by states in America, which if often not included in international comparisons.
Cross-posted from SUU Macroblog, which is required reading for my macro students.
And compared to other developed countries, the rich pay a bigger share here.
The chart on the left shows the proportions of taxes paid by each quintile of the income distribution: the share paid by the rich has always been big, and is getting bigger. This is mostly by reducing the share of taxes paid by those in the 20th to 60th percentiles: the lower middle-class.
The chart in the middle shows the share of pretax income by quintile. Yes, there is a moderate trend of the rich getting richer, but it is not as big a trend as that of “the taxed getting taxer” or … um … something catchier than that. There aren’t any big losers in income, but the biggest is the middle fifth of the population.
Those two charts establish my first statement. The chart on the right addresses the second statement. When we divide the share of taxes paid by a quintile by the share of income that it brings home, we see that the taxes are more disproportionately paid be the rich in America.
* There are a couple of caveats to this. First off, this is only income taxes. The rich pay a lot of other taxes too, but they also get their cash flow from a lot of other sources that aren’t taxed as income. Even so, most of our discussions about “making the rich pay their fair share” focus on income rather than cash flow. Second, this ignores that most of what makes the tax burden in America heavier on the poor is that our FICA is taken out of (primarily paycheck) income and has a cutoff in the low 6 figures.
Cross-posted from SUU Macroblog, which is required reading for my macroeconomics classes.
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