Top MR Posts of 2016

by on December 27, 2016 at 7:21 am in Uncategorized | Permalink

Marginal Revolution University grew tremendously in 2016 and I’m thrilled with our Principles of Macroeconomics course and excited about all the new videos that we will release in 2017–including videos from India where I will be working on sabbatical. It was a good year for me personally and professionally. But 2016 was a very bad year for the world and this was reflected by the posts on Marginal Revolution.

The number one post of the year said it all: What the hell is going on? As Tyler put it in that post, “Donald Trump may get the nuclear suitcase, a cranky “park bench” socialist took Hillary Clinton to the wire, many countries are becoming less free, and the neo-Nazi party came very close to assuming power in Austria.”

Looking back now, it is clear that Tyler foresaw where the world was going and he starting working hard to understand the trend long before others were forced to retrospect. All of the following posts were in the top 20:

The second highest viewed post was actually my post, Economist Removed From Plane for Algebra, which was rather clickbaity although at least it wasn’t a hoax. I had two other top-ten posts, both of which were substantive. First was India’s Demonetization–What is Next? which pointed to all the right issues on this still evolving monetary shock. A number of Indian bloggers and writers picked up on this post. Also in the top ten was the surprising, Homicide Data by Weapon.

My posts on housing, Collective Property in Palo Alto, Laissez-faire in Tokyo Land Use, and the Japanese Zoning System were all widely read. As was Economics on Buying versus Renting a House which led to Tyler and me debating the issue for Econ Duel.

Other widely read posts of mine were:

I have saved, however, the best to last. Coming in at number 50 was a strange, shocking, only Tyler could have written, post. At the time not enough people took it seriously but it bears repeated and careful reading:

Does Lucifer in fact inhabit the corpus of Hillary Clinton?

Yes, 2016 was that kind of year.

1 Bill December 27, 2016 at 7:24 am

The year 2016 is not over,


Perhaps this is a prediction of the quality of the remaining posts for the year.

Time will tell.

2 msgkings December 27, 2016 at 12:39 pm

For me 2016 sucked because of the endless litany of people we lost: Bowie, Prince, Ali, Leonard Cohen, Gene Wilder, Glenn Frey, Alan Rickman, George Michael, Craig Sager, Arnold Palmer, Jose Fernandez, Florence Henderson, John Glenn, Phife Dawg, Garry Shandling, Abe Vigoda, Nancy Reagan, Gordy Howe, Antonin Scalia, Garry Marshall, Harper Lee, Keith Emerson AND Greg Lake, Merle Haggard, Elie Wiesel, hell even Zsa Zsa Gabor.

And I could go on. Some of those were pretty old but way too many gone before their time.

3 msgkings December 27, 2016 at 1:05 pm

Breaking news, Carrie Fisher didn’t make it either. 2016 was rough on celebrities.

4 So Much For Subtlety December 27, 2016 at 7:31 am

Does Lucifer in fact inhabit the corpus of Hillary Clinton?

Was the conclusion that Lucifer doesn’t dare?

More Japanese zoning rules for the New Year please. Less “beyond meat”. Soya depresses testosterone apparently. Maybe that explains the election?

5 Jim December 27, 2016 at 11:16 am

Why don’t you read the post?

6 Post-Truth Politics December 27, 2016 at 1:00 pm

One doesn’t have to read the post in order to bash HRC, which seems to have been his objective here. This is the national pastime now– bashing the person who lost the presidential election. Very constructive activity, huh?

7 Thomas December 27, 2016 at 3:02 pm

Hillary Scandals don’t real. Truth what Huffpo say.

8 Post-Truth Politics December 27, 2016 at 3:07 pm

I don’t read Huffpo. But Hillary scandals were indeed not real. There was never any evidence that HRC did anything illegal. Even after 8 Benghazi investigations by Congress and nonstop misinterpretation of her emails by Right Wing fake news like Fox News, Breitbart etc.

But regardless of that, why continue to bash the person who lost the election? Because you can’t think of anything more constructive to do? Because you don’t actually like your own candidate, the PEOTUS, but only dislike HRC?

9 Troll me December 27, 2016 at 7:41 pm

Mountains are not molehills.

10 Heorogar December 27, 2016 at 7:50 am

Re: “Lucifer” and Crooked Hillary: No way! Lucifer would have been much more attractive and effective. “Harpy” is a more apt Hillary metaphor.

Plus, you make a common mistake. Lucifer was an attractive, brilliant angel before he rebelled against Almighty God and was transformed to the arch-demon and renamed “Satan”, i.e., the enemy. Ergo, the post would have been perfect if you replaced “Lucifer” with “Satan.” Again, Satan would have been far more attractive and effective than that screeching harridan Hillary.

11 msgkings December 27, 2016 at 12:14 pm

Fair and balanced LOL

12 Heorogar December 27, 2016 at 4:55 pm

It isn’t unfair or unbalanced. It’s true. lol

13 Heorogar December 27, 2016 at 4:57 pm

Which one of you enlightened and tolerant assholes called in the bomb threat for Trump Towers, NYC?

14 a Fed December 27, 2016 at 5:11 pm

Plenty of presidents and would-be presidents have been lumpish time-serving mediocrities. Why the special venom for this one?

15 Post-Truth Politics December 27, 2016 at 1:00 pm

More HRC bashing. What a surprise. NOT.

16 prior_test2 December 27, 2016 at 8:06 am

‘Marginal Revolution University grew tremendously in 2016’

No words of credit for Roman Hardgrave, General Manager and Chief of Product for Marginal
Revolution University at the Mercatus Center?

17 ant1900 December 27, 2016 at 8:08 am

We’ll look back on 2016 as one of the great years in recent human history. People are caught up in trivial bullshit like politics and elections, and meanwhile life is passing you by. In terms of worldwide health, wealth, happiness, crime, freedom, and creativity, things are at or near all time highs. Of course things can get worse and much suffering still exists in the world, but I suggest that it will have little to do with elections in any one particular country.

Part of being human is never being happy (in fact, to be unhappiest when things are at their best), but we need to rediscover the Stoics.

18 Brian Donohue December 27, 2016 at 9:01 am

Good year for the Cubs too. And LeBron James.

19 anon December 27, 2016 at 10:19 am

I buy all the “world getting better” data, but I think 2016 was a bad year precisely because so many rejected it.

Think about it. “Things have never been worse” won, not to mention “burn it down.”

I am confident that I can adapt to more good data when it appears, but .. right now 2016 feels a bit like drowning in a lake that averages only one foot deep. Yes, the average is good, but the average is not underfoot.

20 Brian Donohue December 27, 2016 at 10:47 am

Here are some data: The US contains less than 5% of the world’s population, Western Europe is a bit bigger. Historically poor parts of the world continue to see striking growth in living standards..

Even within the US, there are 2.25 million more people with jobs than one year ago.

Median real compensation rose 3.5% during 2015 according to Social Security data (we won’t have 2016 numbers until the middle of next year.)

Truly the worst year ever.

21 anon December 27, 2016 at 10:52 am

Was I not clear? The data was good, but progress was brought down by pessimism. Want a direct quote?

“You’re living in poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs, 58% of your youth is unemployed — what the hell do you have to lose?”

– President Elect Trump, on his rationale

22 Brian Donohue December 27, 2016 at 10:57 am

Trump talks nonsense. I thought you knew that.

If you are lamenting that telling people they’re getting the short end of the stick is a useful demagogic tool, ok, 2016 was a pretty good example of that.

But there is nothing new about this phenomenon. As usual, you seem to be describing the disillusionment of anon in 2016, in which your devotion to the wonders of democracy took a bit of a hit, rather than what is happening outside your head. Borderline solipsism.

23 anon December 27, 2016 at 11:03 am

What a weird response:

1. Acknowledge that the soon to be President of the United States talks nonsense.

2. Blame an anonymous commenter for worrying about that.

Maybe your eye is not on the ball.

24 Brian Donohue impersonating anon December 27, 2016 at 11:10 am

2016 was the worst year ever, because a guy running for office told even bigger whoppers than usual.

25 anon December 27, 2016 at 11:18 am

2016 sucked because I got more crazy Tweets from the President Elect this morning.

Where are you coming from?

You seem to be policing the internets, to make sure all anonymous commenters ignore such things .. flying cover? Trump’s wingman?

26 Brian Donohue December 27, 2016 at 11:25 am

No. I don’t like Trump. Surely you know this by now.

But I don’t like crybabies either, wherever on the political spectrum they come from.

You asked for more good data. I gave you good data. Say thank you and stop your whining for one freaking minute.

27 anon December 27, 2016 at 11:33 am

Going back to your misreading? Make you feel better?

28 Brian Donohue December 27, 2016 at 11:41 am

I never know how to handle the “curling up into the fetal position” non-sequitur response.

Look, this isn’t just you. It’s every grievance-monger, left or right, that comes along to cheer on Alex’s hip, snarky, unhelpful, wrong-headed “Yes, 2016 was that kind of year” sentiment.

We are now the United States of Bellyachers. You’re just one variety.

29 anon December 27, 2016 at 11:47 am

Look, a lot of people want to tune out politics and hope it works out. That’s fine.

But they probably should not expect to tune those out on a blog about political economy. Here, worries about leadership, trade, and prosperity are on topic.

If Alex strikes you as “hip, snarky, unhelpful, wrong-headed” maybe he is just not tuned out, and maybe he is on-topic.

30 Alain December 27, 2016 at 11:54 am

I love Trump.

a) he’ll likely roll back a number of policies that were hindering growth

b) he’ll likely enhance freedom

c) he’ll entice leftists to double down on their tactics and they’ll lose more elections. Not to mention I get to have more of their sweet, sweet tears.

8 more years of this, please!

31 anon December 27, 2016 at 11:58 am

When I re-read, my meaning seems clear. I said data was positive, so adding more positive data does not “correct” me.

My point, which is widely discussed (links below) was that pessimism came to reign in a broad swath of the electorate despite that data.

Links below.

32 Brian Donohue December 27, 2016 at 12:03 pm

I like talking about politics. I think I’m fairly well-informed.

The subject was 2016. It was a very good year for humans on planet Earth. And even for those poor souls consigned to ‘stagnation’ in the richest countries of the world.

You’re not interested in talking about 2016. You are interested in talking about projecting your fears into 2017. You may be right about 2017, but probably not.

33 anon December 27, 2016 at 12:04 pm

As I said, links below.

34 Brian Donohue December 27, 2016 at 12:21 pm

Pessimism reigned in 2016 because that’s what happens in election years. Here’s a quote from Warren Buffett from way back in January:

“It’s an election year, and candidates can’t stop speaking about our country’s problems (which, of course, only they can solve). As a result of this negative drumbeat, many Americans now believe that their children will not live as well as they themselves do.”

I will grant you that, between Trump and Bernie, we probably achieved a new record in pandering during 2016. But for those able to separate political rhetoric from life as we live it, 2016 was mostly about dating, getting married, having and raising kids, going to school or work, buying or selling a car and/or house, burying loved ones, keeping body and soul together, reading a good book or seeing a good movie from time to time, celebrating holidays, and tending one’s garden, like every other year ever, but better than most. I’m sorry if this upsets you (not sorry, actually.)

35 anon December 27, 2016 at 12:34 pm

Again, it sounds like you might be happier in a forum where the past and present state of the political economy is on topic, the topic.

You may indeed hang with the apolitical.

36 anon December 27, 2016 at 12:40 pm

Is [not] the topic

37 Brian Donohue December 27, 2016 at 12:45 pm

But doesn’t the question “Was 2016 a good year, or a bad year?” kind of require the perspective one can achieve by understanding “the past and present state of the political economy”?

2003 was a rotten year. That was the year we started an awful and unnecessary war.

2009 was a bad year for the USA. 5 million fewer people working at the end of the year than at the beginning of the year. Ouch. Lots of misery.

I’m not saying that things inevitably get better every year. But 2016 was a good year.

Now back to you, with another update on the inside of anon’s head.

38 Thomas December 27, 2016 at 3:04 pm

I can’t keep it straight, are African-Americans seriously oppressed in the United States, or is everything going swimmingly for them? I can’t keep it straight because the progressive “truth” changes depending on the context.

39 MOFO. December 27, 2016 at 10:48 am

“Things have never been worse” won, not to mention “burn it down.”

Be careful not to confuse what you want to believe was said for what was actually said.

40 anon December 27, 2016 at 10:55 am
41 MOFO. December 27, 2016 at 11:06 am

Oh, well if there is an article in *Slate* about it, it must be %100 truth. Or, maybe, they are substituting their words for the words of Trump voters the same as you are.

42 anon December 27, 2016 at 11:21 am

Accuse the outlet. That was so weak, why bother?

But for what its worth, I remember my own reaction to Trump’s RNC speech, and my shock at its pessimism.

43 MOFO. December 27, 2016 at 11:26 am

No, what im doing it pointing out that you are substituting your opinion for fact. When called on it, you ‘prove’ your claim by linking to someone else who is substituting their opinion for fact.

44 anon December 27, 2016 at 11:37 am
45 MOFO. December 27, 2016 at 11:43 am

I didnt say that it was yours alone, only that it was opinion, not fact. Reality based community and all that.

46 anon December 27, 2016 at 11:51 am

So how would you quantify it as fact? Positive vs negative words in candidate speeches? There probably is an app for that.

47 Post-Truth Politics December 27, 2016 at 1:22 pm

Hi, Anon. People are just doing the national pastime of liberal bashing here. Don’t expect it to make sense, or to be influenced by logic or facts. We are in the age of post-truth politics, after all.

When political beliefs are challenged, a person’s brain becomes active in areas that govern personal identity and emotional responses to threats, USC researchers find

Notice in the title of the article, nothing is mentioned about facts or rationality.

A lot of Libertarians like to call themselves rationalists. But that doesn’t mean it’s true. It just feels good to them to call themselves that. People’s emotional needs rule. For most people, logic and rationality and facts take a back seat– if they are in the car at all.

48 My Tribe Always Good, Your Tribe Always Bad December 27, 2016 at 1:27 pm

Facts are now considered to be anything that comes from one’s trusted news sources. Anything from a news source considered liberal is considered by Right Wingers to be non-factual. But it’s no use arguing about details there. Because Right Wingers decide that Slate is wrong first– because it’s liberal– and then make up their reason why it’s wrong afterwards.

Here are the rules:
1.My Tribe Always Good, no matter what we say or do.
2.Your Tribe Always Bad, no matter what you say or do.
3.This is the way it is, even when my tribe and your tribe do/say exactly the same or similar things.

49 msgkings December 27, 2016 at 1:33 pm

Stop spamming, Jill. It hurts your case even when you are making a good point.

50 MOFO. December 27, 2016 at 2:17 pm

“So how would you quantify it as fact?”

You cant. Something like 60 Million people voted for Trump, there is no way to know what is in all their hearts. And, no, some app that sums up how many negative words a campaign uses doesnt do that.

Look, you are entitled to your opinions, but dont confuse them with objective fact, they arent the same thing. And citing someone else who holds the same opinion doesnt ‘prove’ you correct. Despite Jill’s blabbering, this has nothing to do with *whos* opinion you are citing. Its not a dig on Slate, they are entitled to their opinion as well, but, again, its just opinion.

51 HL December 27, 2016 at 2:53 pm

Post Truth Politics of the left:

Wage Gap

Campus Rape Epidemic

Gender Identity



Maybe throw in Climate Change Alarmism too.

The left has a recent history of contorting “facts” or “studies” to make political progress. They haven’t yet adapted to the Right now doing the same thing back.

52 anon December 27, 2016 at 3:11 pm

MOFO and Brian don’t link, they don’t believe links ..

Their argument depends on the wide reader, the referrer, having it all in his head.

It isn’t solipsism, it is them believing in the importance of my personal worldview more than I do.

53 MOFO. December 27, 2016 at 3:22 pm

I dont need a link to show that an opinion is an opinion.

The really amazing thing is that you think that an opinion that is published in a major outlet must therefor be fact.

54 Post-Truth Politics December 27, 2016 at 3:09 pm

The Left isn’t perfect, but almost all fake news is Right Wing. Read the articles. The fake news creators had to give up on Trump bashing articles because they got no clicks. Only HRC bashing articles full of lies got clicks and made money for them.

55 Fake News December 27, 2016 at 11:13 am

“In terms of worldwide health, wealth, happiness, crime, freedom, and creativity, things are at or near all time highs.”

One could say that for almost every year in the past 200 years.

56 msgkings December 27, 2016 at 12:26 pm

Exactly. Which is why the ‘end of the world’ jerks from both sides of the aisle are so stupid.

57 Fake News December 27, 2016 at 1:05 pm

It’s mostly a strawman. No one literally says it’s the end of the world. They say that politician X is mismanaging things, and are right to refuse to give him credit for the last fifty years of technological progress he had nothing to do with.

58 msgkings December 27, 2016 at 1:12 pm

No, I hear and read plenty of Trump/Obama/Bush/Clinton = the end of the world/America. It’s so very stupid.

59 Alain December 27, 2016 at 11:38 am

Agreed. And likely 2017 will be even better.

60 Art Deco December 27, 2016 at 8:40 am

The Freedom Party in Austria is not a neo-Nazi organization and their candidate was running for President of Austria, who is not the chief executive of Austria. George Mason pays you two a salary and that’s what their clientele get.

61 Art Deco December 27, 2016 at 8:44 am

That being said 2016 has been a fantastic year for Cucks like me! *WINK!

62 msgkings December 27, 2016 at 11:25 am

I haven’t had a fantastic year so I’ve been reduced to stalking perfect strangers on the internet.

63 msgkings December 27, 2016 at 12:27 pm

In other words, I’m a filthy beta cuck! I’m such a cuck! Cuck a doodle doo!!!!!!

64 albatross December 28, 2016 at 12:53 pm

Jesus, imagine if *this* was the most you could contribute to the world–shitposting under someone else’s nym.

65 Thursday December 27, 2016 at 11:49 am

The commentary by Tyler Cowan on the rise of right wing populism has not, in fact, been particularly insightful. Witness his completely bungled discussion of “neo-reaction.” This new bungling from Alex Tabarrok is par for the course.

66 Troll me December 27, 2016 at 7:45 pm

Simple saying something is not neo-Nazi does not make it so.

Perhaps you can explain some of their positions which would validate this position. Most especially, are they able to express their positions with respect to immigration in a manner that is both confident and also respectful towards those others who they fear will overwhelm their culture if they come in too large numbers?

67 ladderff December 27, 2016 at 8:46 am

But 2016 was a very bad year for the world and this was reflected by the posts on Marginal Revolution.

“Waaahhh Wahh! Waaa-aaahh”

68 Michael December 27, 2016 at 9:57 am

So do you see every expressed concern through the prism of “I am sad because my team/tribe lost”? Or is it possible people thought this was a bad year because they genuinely believe (with at least some justification) that the world is going to be worse off after Brexit/the election of Trump?

I see a lot of schadenfreude, but very little explanation as to how things are going to be better.

69 ladderff December 27, 2016 at 10:35 am

What I see is a cosseted pet of the Empire, a toothless cat who thinks he’s a lion,* crying because the illegitimacy of his masters is finally being called in to question here and abroad.

As to your question, I don’t know if things will be better or if they will be worse, and neither does anyone else—including our hosts. The global dominance of this bizarre cult of ours cannot last forever, and it is hurting people. We can only hope it will die relatively graciously.

* I will explain this in case it isn’t obvious: Tabbarok’s effete libertarianism is the perfect coat for a Washington pet. He gets to feel like a maverick (but conveniently well-compensated) critic of the establishment while presenting no threat whatsoever to it and indeed lamenting genuine threats to it. His keepers get to be entertained and self-satisfied as to the range of dissent they graciously allow. Observers like yourself view this circus with misplaced pride (“In America everyone has a voice!”) while the world rots around it.

70 anon December 27, 2016 at 10:48 am

So you are the classic sort of “rejects data” madman who brought us 2016.

Thanks loads.

71 ladderff December 27, 2016 at 11:00 am

Hey Anon: screw you and the “data” you rode in on. You’re an enthusiastic dupe, nothing more.

72 MOFO. December 27, 2016 at 11:00 am

I like how that chart seems to stop right before the big attacks in Paris and Nice. I cant be 100% sure where she stops on the right hand of the chart, but seeing as the y axis is deaths in 100’s, im confident i should be able to see the 86 people who died in nice or the 130 people killed in Paris in November, at least.

73 anon December 27, 2016 at 11:06 am

I would hope that you both know Pinker, his claim, and associated discussion.

74 MOFO. December 27, 2016 at 11:11 am

Dont get me wrong, i believe the world is becoming a better place. Its just when i see a chart that seems obviously trimmed to exclude a few very important data points, i feel inclined to point it out. I mean, thats how it goes when you are part of the ‘reality based community’, right?

75 Fake News December 27, 2016 at 11:18 am

You are the classic type of strawmaning fake conservative who brought us 2016 and our glorious victory. You’re out of luck, cuck!

76 msgkings December 27, 2016 at 12:57 pm

@ladderff: you are exactly that idiot who thinks the “world rots” when in fact it’s getting better and better per usual

77 Troll me December 27, 2016 at 7:53 pm

I’m not sure that I understand you quite right.

Are you suggesting that the West should give up on the freedom projects which followed the Magna Carta, and centuries later the Scottish Enlightenment, Spanish Enlightment, and other endeavours to intellectually and politically crawl out of the cave, supercede tyranny and the rule of kings?

Give up on that, and become more “normal” – as elsewhere, ever threatened and dominated by the state unless a part of its protected classes within various hierarchies of the state?

I mean, I understand that some people legitimately hold this position. But what I don’t understand is this.

How the hell is that going to make anything better for you or anyone you know (or can imagine, for that matter)?

(If that doesn’t represent your position, I’d be curious if you could take a stab in the dark anyways, since you might understand better than me what sorts of thinking processes are behind these positions which indicate a desire to be ruled over in an illberal manner.)

78 Fake News December 27, 2016 at 11:26 am

For Tyler, the expressed concern is just “… .. –. -. .- .-.. .-.. .. -. –.”

79 Politics of Cruelty December 27, 2016 at 1:36 pm

Michael, you said
“I see a lot of schadenfreude, but very little explanation as to how things are going to be better.”

Yes, your eyes and ears are telling you the truth there. The whole think of Trumpsters is to be filled with rage and hatred, and to enjoy cruelty and liberal bashing. That’s all. That’s it. They know who and what they hate. Of course, they don’t know how things are going to be better. Because they are not going to be better. Trumpsters and other Right Wingers are too busy drinking liberal tears, to be bothered with constructive thinking or activity. It’s all about rage and cruelty– not about anything constructive.

Do you think that the people who angrily chanted “Lock her up” about the first female presidential candidate, who has done a lot of great public service in government and through her foundation, and who has not been proven guilty of anything illegal– do you think those people are going to have constructive thoughts and actions? No chance.

80 Yo! Jill! December 27, 2016 at 5:31 pm

The newer bots show more variety and originality in their output. You need to update.

81 A Definite Beta Guy December 27, 2016 at 9:39 am

The passing of Justice Scalia cast a long shadow on this year, but a swift Dawn rises.

82 Li Zhi December 27, 2016 at 9:53 am

The only “strange, shocking” thing about that post was the lack of context. Lucifer is hardly mentioned in the Bible, and when mentioned is a man, not an angel. His “fall” is believed to describe the fall from power of some Babylonian king – not an uncommon historical event. While it is indeed a sad commentary that Tyler didn’t do his research before posting, it certainly isn’t new for 2016. Given the date on the post, I suppose it can be argued that TC was predicting the result of the then upcoming election. My guess is he was attempting to stir up controversy by invoking some popular myths (an urban myth?) using code words of the Christian Right – scholarship was certainly not involved.

83 Ray Lopez December 27, 2016 at 11:50 am

@Li Zhi – you did not do your research, as this is a AlexT post, not a Tyler post 😉 But thanks for the Babylonian king = Lucifer analogy, I’ve never seen that in print before.

Also notice how many posts AlexT gets compared to Tyler, for ‘fluff stuff’ mostly, though once in a while AlexT gets deep, example below:

Alex Tabarrok December 27, 2016 at 9:09 am : “True, but floating exchange rate movements also subsidize trade all the time.”

84 Politics of Cruelty December 27, 2016 at 1:41 pm

I wouldn’t say that Alex didn’t do his research before posting. No one cares what the Bible says now. E.g. the Christian Right is totally against “Feed the hungry. Give drink to the thirsty.” The relevant thing is what people pay attention to now.

Fake news is full of stuff about HRC, and also Obama, being Lucifer, the Anti-Christ etc. If you post about that, all the fake news lovers pick up your post, and you get tons of clicks.

85 TallDave December 27, 2016 at 10:05 am

Fortunately, 2017 will be the year of realization that institutions still dominate and nothing has really changed as much as feared.

86 chuck martel December 27, 2016 at 10:26 am

Institutions have always been, are now and will be in the future subordinate to personalities. That’s why there’s a US state called “Washington”, a South American country named “Colombia” and a school known as “George Mason University”.

87 Ray Lopez December 27, 2016 at 11:51 am

@CM – in support of your theory, note that “biographical entries” seem to dominate over subjects (or so it seems) on Wikipedia. People identify with other people more than with events, though arguably the latter are more important.

88 TallDave December 27, 2016 at 1:24 pm

Washington’s been dead a while now.

89 msgkings December 27, 2016 at 1:25 pm

As have Christopher Columbus and George Mason.

90 chuck martel December 27, 2016 at 2:07 pm

You’re probably confusing apparent institutional domination with actual bureaucratic inertia. That’s why the US still has a Selective Service, a Department of Agriculture and five different military air forces.

91 TallDave December 27, 2016 at 4:14 pm

Institutions are the reason for the magic lines all over the world across which living standards change radically.

92 chuck martel December 28, 2016 at 8:44 am
93 TallDave December 28, 2016 at 11:14 am
94 Troll me December 27, 2016 at 7:58 pm

One of the kinds of reasons not to whine too much when gridlock of various sorts is getting in the way of what you think is better policy.

Things take longer, but less odds for everything to be turned upside down in one go.

95 Sal December 27, 2016 at 10:42 am

>2016 was a very bad year for the world

As it was the eighth and culminating year of the disastrous Obama presidency, few expected anything else.

We will be dealing with the fallout for a long long time.

96 MOFO. December 27, 2016 at 10:51 am

I think you give Obama too much credit, his presidency was perhaps disastrous to the Democratic party, but the country seems to have made it though mostly unharmed. Aside from Obamacare, id say his presidency was mostly unremarkable.

97 Art Deco December 27, 2016 at 11:30 am

Obamacare, and the IRS and the Department of Justice as cruddy lawfare operations, and yet more episodes of the appellate judiciary pushing people around while elected officials do nothing, and a tremendous and unnecessary increase in public debt loads, and attempts to gut welfare reform, and the harassment of white male college students at the behest of the Education department, and Dodd-Frank, and ISIS, and the Iran ‘deal’…..

98 Alain December 27, 2016 at 11:58 am


99 MOFO. December 27, 2016 at 3:25 pm

Of the things you listed, my guess is that only the pubic debt will have any lasting effect, and that was a bipartisan effort.

100 albatross December 28, 2016 at 1:02 pm

The Iran deal may also have some effect long-term–whether for good or ill, I don’t know. Otherwise, that all sounds like business as usual.

101 Troll me December 27, 2016 at 8:01 pm

You still think that more right wing “charities” losing chartiable status is evidence of witch hunts and not evidence that there was more abuse of charitable status among right wing political groups.

Let me give you a point of comparison to the slightly larger amount or right wing groups investigated than left wing groups.

In the Canadian case, a few years ago there were special investigative efforts into charitable status groups. This covered nearly all major environmental and social/poverty charities, but to date I have been unable to track down reference to a single right wing group that was investigated by the tax authorities during that time.

Your case sounds like paranoid delusions of witch hunts. The case I refer to is pretty much open and shut in as long as it takes to get the facts.

102 Lurker December 28, 2016 at 10:29 am

‘Your case sounds like paranoid delusions of witch hunts.’

You sound completely incapable of independent thought.

Imagine if you received an audit from the IRS because of your affiliation with (lets say) the Brookings Institute…

103 stephan December 27, 2016 at 12:01 pm

Tell this to the banks extorted by the DOJ .I know no one cries for them. They won’t be missing Obama

104 MOFO. December 27, 2016 at 3:25 pm

A lot of people wont be missing Obama, but most of them wont even remember him in 5 years.

105 Politics of Cruelty December 27, 2016 at 1:47 pm

Wow, more bashing of Obama. Don’t you want to bash HRC too some more?

The Trumpsters can’t find anything constructive to focus on. When Trump is in his 4th year of his presidency, will you still be bashing Obama and HRC? Probably so.

And you folks say that liberals are crybabies? You won the election but you can’t be happy. You just have to keep bashing the losers of the election, insulting them, saying how horrible they supposedly are.

Will 2016 to 2020 be the years of the incredibly sore winners?

If your team won the World Series and you couldn’t be happy, because you were obsessed with constantly bashing the losing team, people would say you were sick in the head. Why is political sore losing any different from that?

106 Lurker December 28, 2016 at 10:31 am

Now you’re just copying and pasting from your list of ’27 venomous things libtards say’.

107 JWatts December 27, 2016 at 11:35 am

“Economist Removed From Plane for Algebra, which was rather clickbaity although at least it wasn’t a hoax”

I think this post will be the most prescient:

“Trump’s America is already here. It’s not yet in power though. Personally, I will fight back.”

The basic rules of causality will disappear. Keep in mind that this comment was uttered by an assumably highly educated person.

108 Mine Is the Only Virtuous Political Tribe December 27, 2016 at 1:59 pm

The Criticism of Trump that Few Will Utter was a classic article of the type: Mine Is the Only Virtuous Political Tribe. Saying essentially: Those horrible liberals think the government should have power to keep Social Security and Medicare going, so that we don’t have homeless hordes of sick old starving people on the streets everywhere in the U.S. Those horrible liberals think the government should have power to keep corporations from poisoning the air and water and from selling adulterated food. How horrible.

If Right Wingers actually believed this line of reasoning, they would be totally against guns. Because if someone is in favor of hunters having guns, then all murders and other crimes committed with guns, would all be the fault of the hunters– because hunters wanted citizens to be legally allowed to have the power of guns.

But Right Wingers don’t generally believe that. Because they believe this line of reasoning only when it helps them to put down liberals– not when it can be used to make a case against the policies that Right Wingers themselves favor.

Now Trump is elected. And he will use the power that the liberals liked so much in government, to do bad things. It’s supposedly all the liberals’ fault for being in favor of the government having power. Shame on the non-virtuous political tribe for being in favor of the government having power so it can do some constructive things.

So the article essentially says: “All hail to the Only Virtuous Political Tribe, which is my own.”

109 MOFO. December 27, 2016 at 2:44 pm

Ladies and gentlemen, Mulp 2.0

110 albatross December 28, 2016 at 1:01 pm

The reason Trump is about to take over a presidency with all kinds of scary imperial powers is because both the party of small government and the party of civil liberties are just fine with giving the president scary imperial powers, as long as he’s from their party. This is worth pointing out, because maybe it’ll make partisans in the future slightly more careful about handing over blank checks to all future presidents when someone from their party is in office.

111 Massimo Heitor December 27, 2016 at 2:53 pm

Tabarrok is way off the mark on fake meat burgers.

Where fake meat works well is where the meat acts as a generic filler, like chicken nuggets. Chicken nuggets are basically a main course variant of french fries. The flavor is in the breading, the texture, and the dipping sauces. The meat is just filler. Kids love and even prefer fake meat nuggets to real chicken nuggets. Meat also acts as kind of a filler in a lot of asian stir fry dishes.

With a real burger, or bbq ribs or brisket or a filet mignon steak, the meat isn’t an accessory or a garnish, it’s the central component of the meal. The vegetarian revolution is happening, but it’s delicious meat free food is leading the trend more so than artificial meat substitute products.

I finally tried the Beyond Meat burgers, I ate several, they weren’t noticeably better than the other popular veggie burgers. Their fake chicken strips, OTOH, are absolutely amazing.

112 Thomas Sewell December 29, 2016 at 4:30 am

In “If Trump Wins What is the Best Theory of Why?” Reasons given 3 (economic conditions), 5 (Hillary weak candidate), and 8 (Republican Ideas vs. Dem policy proposals), which no one in the original comments called correctly as definitive, seem to have come out the best.

One very large factor completely missed in the original post but obvious in retrospect (although strangely not for Democrats?) was Scalia dying and the court vacancy sure to be filled as a result.

113 Prakash January 1, 2017 at 2:54 am

Hi Alex,

Thanks for the retrospective and the reminder of the Guru review. Here is another pro-business film.

It’s a smaller film than Guru in many ways. It is in a regional language , Malayalam. It is of a much smaller business and the trouble it gets in and is set in Dubai, not India. The trouble occurs due to cheating and not due to governmental interference. But it displays the daily hustle of a businessman very well. The characters are portrayed sympathetically and this is important for pro-capitalist messages.

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