Assorted links

1. Five boom towns in Africa, what do you conclude?

2. Sony Kapoor on the euro summit, there are further points here, and the big winners are explained here.

3. Michael Kremer talk on RCT development economics.

4. David Brooks on John Roberts.


4. So he was clever?

1. Is likely wrong-ignores the "resource curse"- which if not true for Norway is true for Africa.

This. Someone would have to tell me how much better the institutions are these days for it to seem other than a tragic re-run of a drama we've seen before.

I conclude we'll see a few more bloody civil wars soon.

what about the five bust towns? which are they?

I liked Roberts' ruling; now, it turns out David Brooks did too. I'm now ruthlessly reassessing my values.

I wouldn't want to belong to any club that would have me as a member

Brooks' column displays the all-too-common Republican cognitive dissonance about Obamacare. He says:

"Republicans tend to believe that the perverse incentives can only be corrected if we repeal Obamacare and move to a defined-benefit plan — if we get rid of the employer tax credit and give people subsidies to select their own plans within regulated markets. "

Except, the core of the Obamacare is exactly what Brooks claims Republicans want to do: "give people subsidies to select their own plans within regulated markets." As has been endlessly noted, there's a reason for that: the idea came straight out of conservative think tanks from the 90s.

Obama and his healthcare advisers would probably agree about the employer tax credit. Indeed, the goal of the tax on "Cadillac" health care plans was to limit the tax credit; the effect would have been to slowly phase it out. But people don't want to give up the health plans that they are used to, so eliminating the employer tax credit is politically really really hard to do. Republicans won't have any more luck doing it than Obama did, unless they are unusually politically suicidal.

Republicans would really like Obamacare if it wasn't called Obamacare.


The current hyperpartisan state of the nation is on full display regarding this topic. If President McCain had put it together, the bitching and moaning would be reversed.

That's what scares me. Anything Obama proposes is automatically evil to one side, and anything say Paul Ryan proposes is evil to the other. No way to run a country like grownups.

Damn! Matt beat me to this point by 11 minutes.

Brooks is one of left-liberal "conservatives" like Andrew Sullivan that are kept around as examples of "good Republicans" but who don't actually speak for any but a tiny fringe of the GOP.

The talk about how various aspects of the law came out of GOP think tanks is just politibabble. Think tanks come up with all kinds of ideas that never see legislative light of day, and mandates were envisioned by left-wing think tanks too.

I know it's tempting to think the GOP is so irrational that PPACA wouldn't have resulted in the largest House losses in modern times if it wasn't associated with Obama, but the reality is GOP and centrist voters never liked it, and the law as written even split the Democrats.

"The talk about how various aspects of the law came out of GOP think tanks is just politibabble. Think tanks come up with all kinds of ideas that never see legislative light of day, and mandates were envisioned by left-wing think tanks too"

Never seen the legislative light of day eh? Mitt Romney and Massachussetts . . never happened. Yep.

What in the world are you talking about? Massachusetts proves that all think tank ideas are implemented?

-1 for reading comprehension fail.

Once again Tall Dave lies about everything. Par for the course.

He's a weasel more interested in grade school "my side is better than your side" bullshit than in intellectual consistency.

Best advice is to ignore him altogether, though it's difficult since he spams every topic with his incessant partisan crap.

This must be that new civility I've heard so much about!

Yes, Massachusetts, that well-known far-right laboratory for extreme Republican ideas.

Romney signed a plan crafted by an overwhelmingly Democratic state legislature. Notice that actual Republican states like Texas, Wyoming, Kansas, etc have not.

I know you guys are just desperate to pretend everything is always that crazy GOP's fault, but this one doesn't pass the laugh test.

Well, the governor is the last hurdle. He signed it into law. Let's hear your conspiracy theory as to why you think he was forced to sign it into law rather than the simple explanation that he supported it.

Because the bill was acceptable to Massachusetts voters, who are considerably to the left of the country as a whole. Notice not one single state besides MA ever passed such a law.

If mandates are an idea "straight out of conservative think tanks from the 90s" then why have no right-leaning states ever passed such a law? Why did the national GOP Congress never pass such a law from 1994-2006? And the answer is that mandates (like, say, carbon trading) were never popular with the GOP. The opposition on the right to mandates didn't just materialize with PPACA.

Of course, in fairness, mandates were never particularly popular with the left, either, which mostly wants single payer for all, but the left was generally more willing to entertain the idea, e.g. Hillary Clinton and John Edwards both ran on them in 2008.

I think that it is also true that if republicans passed this plan democrats would oppose it. Maybe it is good that they always split on issues where the electorate is split.

Only 3 laws overturned per year, down from 9 in the previous courts? Truly evidence of The Great Stagnation!

1. Good, I think they are starting to figure things out over there. I'm becoming mildly optimistic on Africa medium- and long-term, they are still largely apocalyptically ignorant but at least they are mostly headed in the right direction, unlike the Mideast which seems to be mostly heading backwards. Africa is becoming more Christian, which generally bodes well, and in fact most new African Christians are now actually the result of African evangelism.

Lately I think the resource curse is largely illusory -- there are lots of dirt-poor places with no resources, and lots of resource-rich areas (e.g. the U.S.) which don't seem to suffer the curse. Culture dominates!

4. This "he pretended the tax, which was written as a tax, was a tax" stuff is getting old

Is it weird that Tyler, and everyone he has linked to--Brooks, Krauthammer, Wilkinson, Cochrane--have substantively identical (positive) reactions to the decision? The way the outcome came about was highly unexpected, very few people (particularly on the right) specifically advocated it as the preferred resolution, and it is set in an extremely complex legal-political context that is ripe for diverse evaluations. Does the uniformity of opinon simply reflect that Roberts did something that is obviously (only in retrospect) very smart? I posted this link on the ACA thread but probably nobody is reading it any longer. Anyway, Reinhardt cuts the Gordian knot that bothers the Libertarians. What do the Libertarians on this blog think about this proposal; best of all possible worlds?

It's (almost) never bad to give people more choice. But it's obviously not even close to the best of all possible worlds, because the "non-libertarian" option is garbage and presumably will also ruin the "libertarian" option by destroying the markets it needs. Make the non-libertarian option something better like universal catastrophic insurance or just deregulate the industry entirely.

Or we could even do what Japan does: have a mandate but let 10% of the population ignore it, without penalty.

Wouldn't all those more likely to be sick and or poor take the solidarity option and the healthy more credentialed take the Libertarian option. Do the Libertarians get access to all meds without a prescription? Can non MD's/RNs do the work of MD's/RNs in Libertarian hospitals?

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