18 January 2016

Mutual Funds Enrich the Financial Services Industry at Your Expense

Channel Warren Buffett and invest in low-cost index funds instead.

Helaine Olen and Harold Pollack

Retiring members of Congress illustrate the problems with the campaign finance system

And here's the problem: Regardless of what you think about the influence of campaign contributions on policy outcomes, or about the free speech value of money, fundraising clearly takes up an awful lot of members' time.
This is time they could be spending reading briefing binders, attending hearings, getting to know colleagues — exactly the kinds of things you'd expect members of Congress to do. Instead, they spend countless hours depressingly dialing for dollars, listening sympathetically to wealthy and generally partisan donors.
Perhaps even worse, who the hell wants to sign up for this job in the first place? Who wants to self-telemarket for hours on end? It takes abnormal amounts of narcissistic hubris, which most thoughtful people just don't have. Frankly, Congress could probably use a little more self-doubt. It might open up members to more alternative viewpoints.

11 January 2016

Making And Using Models

What, after all, are economic models for? They are definitely not Truth. They are, however, a way to make sure that the stories you tell hang together, that they involve some plausible combination of individual behavior and interaction of those plausibly behaving individuals.

Paul Krugman

Marco Rubio’s terrible new idea

Paul Waldman

07 January 2016

06 January 2016

The elusive 2% inflation target

The FRED Blog

To anyone who believes that the inflation target of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve is actually 2%: Conscience Warrior has a bridge for sale in Brooklyn...

Long Road to Hell: America in Iraq [audio]

01 January 2016

This is a crucial and underappreciated point about why defeating ISIS is so difficult

"Every country in the Middle East is at war with ISIS. Yet none of them see ISIS as their primary enemy. In their view, Knights explains, the war against ISIS is merely a precursor to what they believe will be far more important battles to come, often against one another. 'In many cases actors are fighting the Islamic State purely to better position themselves for these other conflicts,' he writes. 'The many wars within the war against the Islamic State ... are already beginning.'"

Max Fisher

Why medicine costs so much in America

Julia Belluz