Enough links to keep anybody happy for at least an hour:
Personal Finance: Sonya
Smith-Valentine says that auto loans are a better idea than home-equity
lines of credit if you want to buy a car, even if they carry a higher interest
rate. It’s a question of discipline, you see. I’m not convinced: the
important thing is how much interest you pay in aggregate, on all your debts,
rather than how much interest you pay on your car payments specifically. And
the extra money you make in car payments could be better used to pay down more
debt at a lower interest rate.
Andreessen finds an old
Q&A with Kenyan economics expert James Shikwati, who
wants we in the West to stop sending aid to Africa. I’d be interested to know
whether there’s much of a difference between Shikwati’s views and those
of Andrew Mwenda.
Economics I: These two arguments follow a similar argument:
sometimes cheaper (or free) isn’t always a good thing. Steve Waldman,
with an assist
from Dani Rodrik, teases
out the argument further:
If the best thing a teenager could do with a couple hundred thousand dollars
is to turn it into a four-year annuity for college, the utility maximizing
teenager will do that. If she chooses to do something else, by revealed preference,
that must be the better choice. Right? No.
Economics II: Alex
Tabarrok, riffing on a proposal
from John Edwards, likes the idea of prizes for healthcare
research, but says that "in fact, optimal prizes must increase
the profits of US drug companies". Why is it that whenever an economist
uses the phrase "in fact," one must always be on one’s guard against
crazy and baseless assertions?
Economics III: Tabarrok’s co-blogger Tyler Cowen,
the incentive of a prize to get people to buy his book
at Amazon and propel it up the sales charts there. The trick seems to be working:
it’s #236 in books, and it doesn’t even come out until August! The prize is
very bloggy indeed, and quite clever in the way Cowen trusts his readers.
Economics IV: Brad
DeLong vs Paul Krugman,
who’s moonlighting at the essential-for-highbrows new website Vox
Cities: The falling dollar means New
York is cheap! Or cheaper than 14 other world cities, anyway.
Banking: Can US Trust’s Frances Aldrich Sevilla-Sacasa
maintain her brand’s reputation now that it’s being
renamed U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management? Or USTBOAPWM
for not-very short, I guess.
Heilemann on Steve Jobs. It’s long, I haven’t read it.
But Paul Kedrosky is unimpressed.
Media: The Wall Street Journal’s cover price is going
up by 50% to $1.50. Subscribers are not affected, except that now the Journal
gets to trumpet Even! Bigger! Savings! for people who take out a subscription.
punch on tax rates in the private equity industry. Well worth reading.
Leonard bemoans the fact that Sierra Nevada Pale Ale has moved from twist-off
to pry-off caps. Apparently this is better for the beer and more environmentally
friendly to boot. But it’s less convenient. Not to worry, Andrew, sooner or
later the entire wine industry will move to twist-off caps, which are similarly
better for the wine and more environmentally friendly to boot. The loss of beer
convenience will then be made up for with the gain of wine convenience.