I will be having a Conversation with him December 4th, by the way, you can register here.  His forthcoming book is spectacular, but we will talk about everything under (and above) the sun, what should I ask him?

Way back when, I considered the ten books that influenced me most, a list I still stand by.  In response, someone asked me to name the books that influenced me, but whose influence I probably was not aware of.  Let’s ignore the semi-contradiction in that request and plow straight ahead!  Here goes, noting that if memory serves I read most of these between the ages of 10 to 12:

1. Alexander Kotov, Think Like a Grandmaster.  From this book I realized you could think you understood a chess position, but then later learn you didn’t really understand it at all.  A huge lesson, one I learned again and to a higher degree when high-quality chess computers came along.  Most of the commentariat on economic and social affairs could use a reminder on this one.  This book also taught me that you learn by doing — trying to solve actual problems — not so much from pure reading.  Or the two in close conjunction.  It may be the distortions of memory, but still I feel this is one of the best books I ever have read.  Hail the Soviet training system!

2. Bobby Fischer, My Sixty Memorable Games of Chess.  Reflects a certain kind of classicism in thinking and method.  Later, it was revealed much of the analysis was faulty and in part was from Larry Evans and not Fischer himself.

3. Reuben Fine, Basic Chess Endings.  I wasn’t influenced so much by this book itself as by a long series of articles in Chess Life and Review, showing the analysis was full of holes.  See my remarks on Kotov.

4. David Kahn, The Code-Breakers, The Story of Secret Writing.  I read this one quite young, and learned that problems are to be solved!  I also developed some sense of what a history could look like and what a history should report.  I recall my uncle thinking it deeply strange that a boy my age should be reading a book of such length.

5. Rudolf McShane and Jakow Trachtenberg, The Trachtenberg System of Basic Mathematics.  From this I learned how powerful the individual human mind could be, and also how much school wasn’t teaching me.  It began to occur to me that the mainstream doesn’t necessarily have the best or only methods.  That said, non-mainstream approaches still have the responsibility of coming up with the right answer.  Query: does it these days ever make sense to actually use this stuff?

6. The Baseball Encyclopedia, or something like that.  From this book I began to figure out statistics and how they fit into broader patterns of historical explanation.  I spent a lot of time with this one even before the age of ten.  It helped me understand my baseball cards in terms of a much longer perspective and also, if I recall correctly, it explained the underlying meaning of many of the statistics, albeit in what would today count as a very naive, non-Moneyball manner.  I still know that Chief Wilson hit 36 triples in 1912.

Honorable mentions: Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, and The Joy of Sex, all given to me by my mother.  I believe they helped inculcate some of the 1960s-70s ethos of individual freedom into my thinking.  I also consumed numerous sports memoirs, such as Jerry Kramer’s Instant Replay: The Green Bay Diary of Jerry Kramer and also the war memoir Guadalcanal Diary.  From those I began to think about the relationships between character, work habits, teamwork, and success.  The Making of Star Trek helped me master the details of what was then my favorite TV series, and also to think about cosmopolitanism across different kinds of intelligent beings.  In addition to chess I also was influenced by playing paper and dice war games, most of all Barbossa (the exact title may differ slightly), a really scary game where you have to consider the possibility the Nazis could have won and thus think about the contingency of history.  I began to understand that violence could be a reality that stood above all else and how important it was to avoid such a scenario.

Then there is youthful science fiction, though perhaps that someday gets a post of its own.  I read a lot of books about music too, many about jazz solos and chord composition, including in American popular music.  Much earlier, maybe ages 5-8, it was maps and books full of facts about the world (ahem) and animals, most of all the taxonomic arrangement of the animal kingdom.

Finally, at the time I was fully aware that I wasn’t getting a single one of these titles through my formal school system.

It should be collaborative rather than adversarial:

Integration is a common policy used to reduce discrimination, but different types of integration may have different effects. This paper estimates the effects of two types of integration: collaborative and adversarial. I recruited 1,261 young Indian men from different castes and randomly assigned them either to participate in month-long cricket leagues or to serve as a control group. Players faced variation in collaborative contact, through random assignment to homogeneous-caste or mixed-caste teams, and adversarial contact, through random assignment of opponents. Collaborative contact reduces discrimination, leading to more cross-caste friendships and 33% less own-caste favoritism when voting to allocate cricket rewards. These effects have efficiency consequences, increasing both the quality of teammates chosen for a future match, and cross-caste trade and payouts in a real-stakes trading exercise. In contrast, adversarial contact generally has no, or even harmful, effects. Together these findings show that the economic effects of integration depend on the type of contact.

That is from a new paper by Matt Lowe, and Matt is a job market candidate coming out of MIT.

And here is a recent paper by Devesh Kapur, Chandra Bhan Prasad, Lant Pritchett and D. Shyam Babu, on the benefits of modernity for Dalits, here is one short bit of the abstract:

The survey results show substantial changes in a wide variety of social practices affecting Dalit well-being—increased personal consumption patterns of status goods (e.g. grooming, eating), widespread adoption of ―elite‖ practices around social events (e.g. weddings, births), less stigmatising personal relations of individuals across castes (e.g. economic and social interactions), and more expansion into nontraditional economic activities and occupations.

That said, please do not confuse “big improvements” with “no serious problem.”

Greg Irving emails me:

Hello Prof. Cowen,

I wonder if you might be tempted to create a blog post, at your convenience, of Spanish language works, ideally read in the original, that have most impacted either a) your appreciation for some till then unknown nuance or beauty in the language or b) your knowledge of/appreciation for some aspect of life in general. Might you?

Quizás obviamente, soy alguien que va aprendiendo el idioma poco a poco sólo de interés y no de necesidad. Si usted se digna a crear una respuesta por este correo electrónico, o en su blog, me alegraría mucho. Gracias por todo el conocimiento que nos da en sus escritos y por leer mi nota.

My Spanish-language reading is slow, but these are the works I found it profitable to devote a great deal of time to.  They have influenced me significantly, and mostly I found the English-language version a poor substitute.  Here goes:

1. Jorge Luis Borges, Ficciones.  This was super-slow going, but it is one of my favorite books of all time, philosophical and conceptual and in Spanish deeply hilarious.  OK in English, but this book alone is almost reason enough to study Spanish.

2. Juan Rulfo, Pedro Paramo.  Imagine redoing parts of Dante, with more narrative, in rural Mexico and with lots of comedy.  The English-language version does not come close.

3. Julio Cortázar, Rayuela [Hopscotch].  One of my very favorite 20th century novels, again unsatisfying to me in English, I would not recommend that you try at all.  Also try his short stories, most of all Bestiario and Historias de cronopios y de famas.

4. Jose Donoso, El obsceno pájaro de la noche [The Obscene Bird of Night].  A masterpiece, quite neglected in the U.S., I found this one so hard I often had to juxtapose it with the English-language text to read it at all.

5. Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Noticia de un Secuestro [Notice of a Kidnapping], and Vivir para contarla [Living in Order to Tell It].  Oddly, I think his greatest works are the non-fiction.  But these are at least pretty good in English too, unlike what is listed above.

6. Pablo Neruda.  Non-Spanish readers certainly have heard of him, or maybe like him, but don’t really have a sense of how he is one of the very greatest poets of all time.  It is Canto General, a book-length narrative poem retelling of the story of the New World, that influenced me most, but I love all the classic Neruda poems.

I don’t find it so profitable to read 17th century Cervantes in Spanish, though the defect is likely mine.  The Savage Detectives and One Hundred Years of Solitude I find as good in English as in Spanish; Marquez himself suggested that was true for this work.  Vargas Llosa is “good enough” in English, except perhaps for the inscrutable Conversation in the Cathedral, which I cannot follow in either language.  Javier Marías I find “good enough” in English.  The Goytisolo brothers are often too hard for me, not fun in English but I can’t quite manage the Spanish, perhaps in my dotage.  Fuentes has never clicked for me, period.  Hombres de maíz, by Asturias, is especially good in Spanish and pretty much neglected in the English-speaking world.

What else?

Samuel Bazzi, Martin Fiszbein, and Mesay Gebresilasse have a new NBER working paper on that theme, here is the abstract:

In a classic 1893 essay, Frederick Jackson Turner argued that the American frontier promoted individualism. We revisit the Frontier Thesis and examine its relevance at the subnational level. Using Census data and GIS techniques, we track the frontier throughout the 1790-1890 period and construct a novel, county-level measure of historical frontier experience. We document skewed sex ratios and other distinctive demographics of frontier locations, as well as their greater individualism (proxied by infrequent children names). Many decades after the closing of the frontier, counties with longer historical frontier experience exhibit more prevalent individualism and opposition to redistribution and regulation. We take several steps towards a causal interpretation, including an instrumental variables approach that exploits variation in the speed of westward expansion induced by national immigration inflows. Using linked historical Census data, we identify mechanisms giving rise to a persistent frontier culture. Selective migration contributed to greater individualism, and frontier conditions may have further shaped behavior and values. We provide evidence suggesting that rugged individualism may be rooted in its adaptive advantage on the frontier and the opportunities for upward mobility through effort.

I am very much a proponent of this line of reasoning.

Here is the transcript and podcast, I enjoyed this chat very much.  Here is part of the opening summary:

Sujatha Gidla was an untouchable in India, but moved to the United States at the age of 26 and is now the first Indian woman to be employed as a conductor on the New York City Subway. In her memoir Ants Among Elephants, she explores the antiquities of her mother, her uncles, and other members of her family against modern India’s landscape.

Our conversation considered the nature and persistence of caste, gender issues in India, her time as a revolutionary, New York City lifestyle and neighborhoods and dining, religion, living in America versus living in India, Bob Dylan and Dalit music, American identity politics, the nature of Marxism, Halldor Laxness, and why she left her job at the Bank of New York to become a New York City subway conductor, among other topics.

Here is one sequence:

GIDLA: Actually, the only relation I have with my family members is political views.


GIDLA: If we have to connect on familial links, we will always be fighting and killing each other. All that we talk about with my mother is politics and untouchability and caste and Modi and things like that.

It’s the same thing with my sister also. This is where we connect. Otherwise, we are like enemies. My brother, we’re completely alienated from each other, firstly because he goes to church now. We never used to go to church before. He’s into this Iacocca. Is there a name . . . ?

COWEN: Iacocca?

GIDLA: Yeah.

COWEN: Lee Iacocca?

GIDLA: Yeah.

COWEN: The former Chrysler chairman?

GIDLA: Yeah. He reads that kind of books.

COWEN: Management books.

GIDLA: He’s into that kind of stuff.

COWEN: You don’t?


GIDLA: He read Freakonomics and he liked it. I don’t relate to that stuff.

And this toward the end:

COWEN: Your most touching memory of your mother?

GIDLA: I don’t know. When I was arrested, she was very worried. She said, “I wish I could take you back into my womb.”

Strongly recommended.  I was pleased to see that Publisher’s Weekly named Sujatha Gidla’s book as one of the ten best of 2017, you can order it here.

The dystopia of Malcolm Harris

by on November 14, 2017 at 1:56 am in Books, Economics, Education | Permalink

He is the author of the new and interesting Kids These Days: Human Capital and the Making of Millennials.  Most of the book is about millennials as the generation that invests in itself.  Towards the end he lays out a somewhat separate discussion of what a future dystopia might look like, I am very briefly summarizing his seven points, noting that some of the headings are my rewordings:

1. The equitization of human capital.  This will start out as “win-win” transactions, but eventually will become “subprime human capital.”

2. The professionalization of childhood.  Kids will start preparing for fairly specific and very locked-in careers at quite young ages, and find it difficult to deviate later on.

3. “Climate privilege.”  The ability to live somewhere insulated from most of the costs of climate change will become a major marker of class and privilege.

4. Discrimination by algorithm.

5. “The Malfunctioning.”  “America will need institutions for people who just can’t make it….I don’t think this will be “funemployment” of a guaranteed minimum income.  It’s more likely to be an unholy combination of mental asylum and work camp.”

6. Misogynist backlash.

7. Fully tracked.  The “data self” will increasingly approach the “real self.”

Worth a ponder.

My commentary here is late to the party, but I had not visited a branch before.  Here are my impressions, derived from the Columbus Circle outlet in Manhattan:

1. It is a poorly designed store for me, most of all because it does not emphasize new releases.  I feel I am familiar with a lot of older titles, or I went through a more or less rational process of deciding not to become familiar with them.  Their current popularity, as measured say by Amazon rankings, does not cause me to reassess those judgments.  For me, aggregate Amazon popularity has no real predictive power, except perhaps I don’t want to buy books everyone liked.  “A really smart person says to consider this again,” however, would revise my prior estimates.

2. For me, the very best bookstore and bookstore layout is Daunt, in London, Marylebone High St.  You are hit by a blast of what is new, but also selected according to intellectual seriousness rather than popularity.  You can view many titles at the same time, because they use the “facing out” function just right for their new arrivals tables.  Some of the rest of the store is arranged “by country,” much preferable to having say China books in separate sections of history, travel, biography, and so on.

3. I am pleased that fiction is given so much space toward the front of the store.  I do not see this as good for me, but it is a worthwhile counterweight to the ongoing tendency of American book markets to reward non-fiction, or at least what is supposed to be non-fiction.

4. I have mixed feelings about the idea of all books facing outward.  On the positive side, books not facing outward tend to be ignored.  On the downside, this also limits the potential for hierarchicalization through visual display.  All books facing outwards is perhaps a bit too much like no books facing outwards.

Overall I am struck by how internet commerce is affecting Christie’s and Sotheby’s in a broadly similar fashion.  The auction houses used to put out different genres, such as Contemporary, European Painting, 20th Century, and so on, for 3-4 day windows, and then they would display virtually everything up for auction.  Now they have a single big display, with highlights from each area, and the rest viewable on-line.  That display then shows for about three weeks.  Like Amazon, they are opting to emphasize what is popular and to let on-line displays pick up the tails and niches.  In all cases, that means less turnover in the displays.  That is information-rich for infrequent visitors, who can take in more at once, but information-poor in relative terms for frequent visitors.  As a somewhat infrequent visitor to auction houses, I gain, but for bookstores I would prefer they cater to the relatively frequent patrons.

5. I am most worried by the prominent center table at the entrance, which presents “Books with 4.8 Amazon stars or higher.”  I saw a book on mixology, a picture book of Los Angeles, a Marvel comics encyclopedia, a book connected to the musical Hamilton, and a series of technique-oriented cookbooks, such as Harold McGee, a very good manual by the way.  Isabel Wilkerson was the closest they had to “my kind of intelligent non-fiction.”  Neil Hilbon represented poetry, of course his best-known book does have a five-star average, fortunately “…these poems are anything but saccharine.”

Unfortunately, the final message is that Amazon will work hard so that controversial books do not receive Amazon’s highest in-store promotions.  Why not use software to measure the quality of writing or maybe even thought in a book’s reviews, and thereby assign it a new grade?: “Here are the books the smart people chose to write about”?

6. I consider myself quite pro-Amazon, still to me it feels dystopic when an attractive young saleswoman says so cheerily to (some) customers: “Thank you for being Prime!”

7. I suspect the entire store is a front to display and sell gadgets, at least I hope it is.

8. I didn’t buy anything.

My view is not exactly that of Bryan’s, but this will be one of the most interesting and important books of the year, pre-order it here.

Here is Bryan on the book.

About one-sixth of India is Dalits, or “Untouchables.”  And while Western criticisms of caste segregation are a long-standing observation about India, I hardly hear serious complaints over the last two decades or so.  In contrast, the apartheid system of South Africa met with demonstrations, boycotts, campus activism, frequent dialogue, and so on.  Why don’t we see some modified version of the same for the Indian caste system?  No matter how you compare its relative oppression to that of South Africa, it still seems like a massive system of unjust and opportunity-destroying segregation, and an efficiency-loser as well.  Here are a few hypotheses, not intended as endorsements but rather speculations:

1. The caste system is simply too difficult for most Americans to understand, whereas apartheid could be represented more readily in what I dare not call simple black and white terms.

2. Most of the Indians who migrate to the United States are higher caste or at least middling caste, and they sway American opinions of India in a way that South African migrants to the USA never did.

3. Libertarians don’t want to focus on the caste system because it persists without active government support being the main driver.  Democrats don’t want to focus on the caste system because Indian-Americans are often leading supporters and donors.  It doesn’t feel like a Republican issue either.  So who is there to push this one for domestic ideological reasons?

4. Talking about the caste system makes harder the (justified, I should add) program of raising the status of non-minority whites in America.

5. Talking about the caste system would focus light on caste-based discrimination in the United States, and distract attention from other domestic issues.

What else?  Overall I find this a disappointing topic to ponder.  Perhaps all politics, like envy, really is local after all.

I am indebted to Sujatha Gidla for a useful conversation on this topic.  My formal Conversation with her will be up in a bit, I still recommend her book on caste, Ants Among Elephants: An Untouchable Family and the Making of Modern India.

Over the next few weeks our Principles of Macroeconomics class at MRUniversity will offer four “mini-classes” on theories of the business cycle. Today, we begin with the Keynesian theory.

Here is some basic info, in 2011-2012 145,000 graduate students received tuition waivers.  Monday I suggested such a tax is a bad idea, but who would bear the burden?  Let’s say there are three parties, the universities, the graduate students, and third-party funders who support research and graduate students.  Those third parties may be for instance Harvard donors or the National Science Foundation.

The short-run, first-order effect is that the grad students pay tax on their waivers and fewer of them pursue postgraduate studies.  And if grad students are dead set on attending no matter what, they bear a relatively high burden of the tax.

That said, there is more to the story.  Universities seek to attract graduate students for multiple reasons, with two possible options being “to enhance their prestige” or “to boost revenue,” or some mix of the two.  It will matter.

To make up for (some of) the tax, and maintain the flow of students, universities will opt for some mix of lowering their tuition and increasing stipends and increasing non-taxed forms of aid, such as quality of office space or teaching opportunities for grad students.  If universities seek to boost their prestige, they will be quite keen to keep up their “Q,” and not eager to lower Q, even with higher P as recompense on the revenue side.  In that case a relatively high share of the burden will fall on universities.

In contrast, if universities pursue revenue, they are more willing to live with a lower Q if accompanied by a higher P.  More of the burden will fall on students, because the accompanying enrollment-maintaining compensations from the universities will be accordingly lower.

I don’t know of a paper estimating the effects of taxing student fellowships, an innovation from the Reagan tax reforms of 1986.  Can any of you lend a hand here?  It didn’t seem to much slow the growth of graduate education as far as I can tell, so perhaps the burden there was born by universities.

Now enter the third parties.  Donors might give more funds to universities to help make up for taxed tuition waivers.  If you are a Harvard alum, for instance, you might wish to see Harvard carry on its great traditions with yet another generation of Ph.d economists who initially received tuition waivers.  In other words, you want prestige as an alum and that requires keeping up the flow of Q, number of quality students, through the program.  Donors will give more resources to the universities, or to the students (through other vehicles), to help make up for the new tax.  In words, to the extent the donors covet prestige, more of the tax will fall on them.  This is a tax on prestige-seeking!

My intuition is that the schools with a strong donor base will put in much more effort to raise money for graduate students, and they will meet with a fair degree of success.  (Note that Harvard’s now-bigger fundraising campaign will to some extent distract the attention of the president and other senior leaders from other programmatic activities at Harvard; in the longer run that could harm Harvard stakeholders.)  But schools below the top tier don’t so much have this option, so they will decline in resources and status relative to the very top schools.  This is p classic case of how imposing new burdens leads to higher market concentration and cementing in the status of the elites, in this case the educational elites.

Throughout, I am assuming the universities cannot evade the tax outright, for instance by relabeling the categories of tuition and tuition waiver to avoid the bite altogether.  But that is another possible equilibrium, if the details of the law so allow.

China degree of the day

by on November 6, 2017 at 1:42 am in Education, Sports, Web/Tech | Permalink

Competitive video game tournaments enjoy a huge following in China, and now, 18-year-old Feng is among 60 students enrolled in the country’s first-ever college program specializing in esports.

Last year was a landmark year in the world of esports. In September, “esports and management” was added to the Ministry of Education’s list of permitted college majors. Three months later, the Communication University of China, Nanguang College, in Nanjing announced the launch of its own esports-related degree: Art and Technology (Esports Analysis), a four-year undergraduate program teaching event organizing, data analysis, gaming psychology, video content production, and esports team coaching. According to the school, graduates can expect to carve out careers in China’s booming esports industry as tournament organizers, online show producers, commentators, strategy analysts, and club managers.

Here is the full story, from the consistently interesting Sixth Tone. And note:

Staffordshire University in the U.K. will offer an undergraduate esports program starting in September 2018, while a number of U.S. colleges now provide esports scholarships for talented gamers.

Just don’t tax their tuition waivers!

My overall opinion here is the same as with taxes on private university endowments: no.  The federal government needs to stick to a budget, and broadening the tax base in this way would only postpone that needed development.  At some margins, “starving the beast” is a good idea, even if it doesn’t always work.

That said, some tuition waivers should be taxed, in particular those that accrue to faculty members when their children attend the same college or university.  That is simply a benefit to the well-off and well-educated, and it would not seem to fit the canons of optimal tax theory.  If you wish, let the government make it easier to borrow money to go to school.  In the meantime, treat this as in-kind pay to faculty and tax it.

What about tuition waivers that universities offer independently to deserving students, often graduate students?  Even apart from the public choice considerations, I don’t see why the efficiency case for taxing these is so strong.

Let’s say I can either self-educate at great effort (but perhaps little upfront expense), or I can invest a lot of resources convincing someone I am worth taking under their wing and tutoring, for free.  I will reflect glory on my tutor for many years to come.  In equilibrium, the rates of return to these two strategies should roughly equilibrate.

Now, if I self-educate, few would say I should be taxed on the benefit I give to myself from all the reading and learning.  It would be odd, to say the least, to call it “self in-kind compensation.”  (On top of that, it would bankrupt me in particular.)  Similarly, if I persuade someone to stuff book knowledge into my ears for free, why should I then be taxed?  Haven’t I done more or less the same thing, just using an intermediary and applying the effort at a slightly different stage of the education process?  Unlike the faculty member enrolling his or her children, it is not a surreptitious way of delivering in-kind income to somebody.  Rather, the tuition waiver is helping someone make an investment more cheaply.  What if I sit down and patiently explain to you why “buy and hold low cost diversified funds” are a better investment option?  Should you be taxed on receiving that wisdom?  Again, I say no, noting that you will be taxed on any later financial payoff from that wisdom.  We needn’t count the input as a taxable form of income.

Similarly, when it comes to education, if the tuition waiver helps you earn more, you will be taxed on that income later on too.

Alternatively, you might think there are too many graduate students in the system, a kind of Malthusian crowding when it comes to queuing for jobs.  That might describe the world even for a lot of STEM jobs (NYT).  Nonetheless, even if a legal/tax solution is required (debatable), taxing tuition waivers as in-kind income seems like the wrong approach.  That change falls most heavily on the graduate students judged by the school to be most qualified.  Those are also the people most likely to be future innovators.  Instead, a paring back of more general tuition and tax subsidies would fall on the graduate students more evenly and I suspect more efficiently.

Maybe I’ll write a separate post on the most likely incidence of taxing tuition waivers as in-kind income — it’s a tricky problem, a good test of your micro mettle.

This NYT story has some background detail:

The House Republican tax plan released on Thursday includes a 1.4 percent tax on the investment income of private colleges and universities with at least 500 students and assets of $100,000 or more per full-time student. It would not apply to public colleges.

The endowments are currently untaxed, as they are considered part of the nonprofit mission of the colleges. The new tax, if it passed, would bring in an estimated $3 billion from 2018 to 2027, one of many new revenue sources Congress is considering to pay for broad tax cuts.

Note that this would apply to about 140 schools, and also that private foundations already pay tax on their investment income.  Greg Mankiw writes:

If my rough calculations are correct, the tax would cost schools like Harvard between $1,000 and $2,000 per student every year.

I am opposed to this change, mostly because I don’t like to see the government deciding to go after a new source of wealth for its tax base.  The focal point of non-interference ceases to be focal, and excesses and politicization too often follow.  Slippery slope!

But if you are otherwise not so keen on this Brennan-Buchanan argument, what exactly are the grounds for opposing this?  It taxes the relatively wealthy, and it taxes income from wealth.  It taxes finance.  I haven’t heard anyone oppose the tax on the investment income of private foundations, other than diehard anti-tax types.  That tax has hardly vanquished the private foundation form.  On top of all that, university endowments seem to have long time horizons, and to play the g > r game pretty well.  As early as 1958, Paul Samuelson taught us we can transfer resources out of g > r games at no real cost.

So, you’ll hear a lot of caterwauling on this one, but the only good arguments against it are the libertarian ones.  Broadening the base isn’t always good.  Don’t be suckered by the “give up education for tax cuts for millionaires” non-rigorous rhetoric you will hear.  With or without those tax cuts, you still have to ask yourself whether this tax hike is a sensible way of paying off our huge and growing debt.

I wonder if there are people who think a corporate income tax falls mainly on capital, but that this levy would fall mainly on students.  Actually…I don’t wonder.