Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Taxation without Representation; or Adam Silver wants to lower the Black Youth employment rate


The NCAA and NBA are back at it again, with the NBA making noises about further tightening restrictions on who's allowed to work in their industry.

And of course, he's doing it for the kids!!

Silver said he's "rethinking" his position on the age limit. He called the process "half and done" for freshmen who turn pro after their first seasons on campus, suggesting the players in that pool fail to make academics a priority.

"I don't think it's fair to characterize them as going to one year of school," Silver said on Cowherd's show.

So some old white skeleton dude thinks young black kids shouldn't get paid. OMG, can we really still be doing this in 2017?

I was happy to see some college coaches quoted as approving kids going straight from High School to the Lig:


"I think they should be able to go right from high school if they want to," Iowa State coach Steve Prohm said. "I think it's working fine on our end. Just a part of the business. I would love to have a couple [one-and-dones]."


Seven Kansas players have turned pro in the one-and-done era under Self. Most contributed to his current streak of 13 consecutive Big 12 championships. Self says most also were ready to play in the NBA after high school.

"Andrew Wiggins, Josh Jackson ... I would say they were ready to be paid out of high school," he said. "They were certainly ready to be paid, without question."

Nice!

It's a small scale tragedy, but a tragedy nonetheless what happens to these kids. Can't go make money, so they play in college where the vast majority are not getting any realistic education, until Adam and the players' association say they can play in the NBA.

Friday, June 02, 2017

Books Cost Too Much! So I wrote a blogpost.

Academic textbooks are really expensive. The current version of Mankiw's principles text is $186 in hardcover.  I'll go out on a limb and conservatively guess that the marginal cost of producing another copy is no more than $25. Of course there are fixed costs (like N. Greg's reported $1,000,000 fee), but.........

Here's what I think is going on.

Textbooks are a type of network good. The more people use a given text, the more others will also want to use it. So the market approaches winner take all with just a few books selling well and making profits. This is probably true of all kinds of books.

Weirdly, the books that don't sell well (the losers) almost have to price high as they are trying to cover their fixed costs over a small sales volume.

The winners don't have to price high to break even, but given that demand is high and relatively inelastic, why shouldn't they? Indeed they do, and with gusto.

So the losers price high to try and stay in business and the winners price high because the network good nature of the market gives them a serious degree of market power. In a market like this, a loser cutting price is quite unlikely to receive much of an increase in market share

So how to fix the problem?

Doubly weird is the tried and true idea of "more competition" in form of a larger number of texts on the market probably isn't really going to help as will just create more losers struggling to stay alive. Competition here is "for the market" rather than "in the market" to use the terms of Cowen and Tabarrok's expensive text.

Another market solution is resale, which happens on a very large scale already. Amazingly, new text prices would likely be even higher without this form of competition, where old copies of the winning books compete against new ones. Naturally, publishers don't like resale and respond by pumping out new editions on an inefficiently fast schedule. But resale definitely is a check on new text prices already. If we want them lower, it's not a new tool to use. It's also true that resale doesn't only work to lower new prices. The fact that there is a resale market for a product likely would increase the demand and raise the price for that product. So, it's complicated.

If increased competition in terms of more textbooks is unlikely to help, and resale has already done what it can do, then what?

Well, Facebook is a network good and it's free to the end users, so maybe allow textbooks to contain paid ads? There's a free market solution for you folks!

There's another type of industry with high fixed costs and low marginal costs; natural monopolies like utility companies. We generally regulate them with the alleged aim of getting the outcome to be close to average cost pricing. Maybe the same should happen in the textbook market?

If we don't like a regulatory response, then it's going to take a big decline in demand to get prices down. There is some evidence that some schools, community colleges in particular are going to open source texts or even abandoning the use of textbooks at all. This kind of makes sense as their customers are the most price elastic ones.

Oh pity the poor publishers. If only they could price discriminate better!

So don't worry, Mankiw's days at the top are numbered (anybody remember Lotus 1-2-3?), but the new best seller probably won't be any cheaper.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Dear Angus, Dear Angus...

I didn't think crap like this still happened (if crap like this can happen, why was Jared Kushner even born?), but here are actual questions published and answered by "Dear Abby". Only this time, Dear Angus answers instead.


DEAR ABBY: I have been with my husband for 12 years, married for three. I had an affair a little over a year ago that he found out about. He has let me back into the house, but he demeans my character at every opportunity. I don’t fight back because I know I am the cause of his pain.

We have a 3-year-old daughter, and I am now six weeks pregnant with his child. I do not want to argue with him, because if I had been a better wife, he would not be so angry. But the hurt I feel from his words over the past months is weighing heavy on me, especially with my new hormones.

I’m holding it in, but should I leave? Become a single mother? How can I get him to a counselor? — NEEDS COUNSELING

Well it seems that he likes you enough to sleep with your cheating ass. So I'm sure everything will peaches and cream once the baby is born (assuming it looks like him). If not, just get your cheating ass pregnant again!



DEAR ABBY: I have been with the same man for six months. He has been separated from his wife for 10 years — but not legally.

When he finally decided to tell her there is someone else and he’s moving on, she went crazy. She said she wants alimony and half of everything, plus the house will have to be sold because she will not allow “the new woman” to live in “her” house.

It’s been a month since he told her. We talked to a lawyer about a divorce, but all he is worried about is paying alimony and losing the house.

I am getting sick of hearing about it. All he keeps saying is, “I love you, but I don’t want to lose my house or pay her money.” What should I do? — FIGHT OR FLIGHT IN MASSACHUSETTS


I really don't see the problem here. After all, he loves you! I'm positive that any day now he'll pay the money and get the divorce. Oh and can we talk about what a B*(&H the wife is? What kind of jerk want's half the marital assets in a divorce? She is so damn selfish! She's bliss-blocking you.


DEAR ABBY: We recently lost one of our cherished pets, our oldest cat, Mandy. We never had children, so our pets ARE our children.

I get that people who have never had pets don’t understand the joy and unconditional love they can bring. But I don’t understand why people we thought were close to us haven’t acknowledged our loss in any way. Some of them have — or had — pets at one time.

A few did send cards or emails, and they were so appreciated. Their kindness will never be forgotten.

Mandy wasn’t sickly. She just stopped eating one day. When we took her to the vet a few days after trying everything we could think of, the diagnosis was kidney cancer. A couple of days later we had to make the heartbreaking decision to put her to sleep.

My question is, am I expecting too much of people? After all, you wouldn’t ignore the death of a human child.
I’m not only disappointed but resentful that these so-called friends and family don’t seem to care. I suppose to some Mandy was “just a cat.” But to us, she was our beloved furry child and we are devastated.

Please inform people that a kind word or short note would mean the world to people like us who are suffering real grief. — DEEPLY GRIEVING IN ILLINOIS


What a bunch of ASS*&%(S! I would suggest kidnapping their children, mailing them death threats, and then make a point of ignoring their pain when they tell you about it. It's for their own good, really.










Wednesday, April 12, 2017

What I'm listening to


So people, here are the new (at least to me) bands that are floating my boat this spring


1. Pinegrove. I swear I've listened to "Old Friends" like 50 times and still get goose bumps when I hear it. Amazing.




2. Diet Cig. LOL for the name, OMG for the toonz.





3. Chastity Belt. These guys have been around a while but are new to me. Love it!





4. Whitney. Great pedigree on this band (Smith Westerns, UMO). Different from them though and it surprises me how much I like it!






Monday, April 10, 2017

In defense of United Airlines


OK people, before we get started, yes, UA should have raised the compensation until they got enough volunteers. And yes, the cop should have found a less brutal way to get the one pax who wouldn't comply with getting bumped off the plane. That cop should be in big trouble.

Now let's get to it.

Can we talk about the recalcitrant pax? What a jerk! Refuses to comply with an entirely legal request from the flight crew. Holds up the plane and all the other passengers because he is too important to get bumped. Refuses to comply with the cops. Causes hours of delay and screws things up for potentially 100s of people down the line.

He's the villain in this case, not UA.

Again, don't get me wrong. I don't like UA. Don't like flying them. And they should have raised the compensation to clear the market.

But, the noncompliant pax here can only be described as a mega-douche.  This incident has no bearing on my decision of whether or not use use UA when I travel. I know I can get bumped, and I'm prepared to live with it. Everyone should know this: you can get bumped even if you are a "VIP".

Plus I already know the cops these days are likely to do any old thing to us citizens, so in no way would I escalate any airline pissing contest to a cop pissing contest.

That guy screwed over hundreds of people I guess because he believed the law didn't apply to him.

He's the opposite of a hero.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Why I love New Mexico, reason #486

People there like good music!!

 From Forbes, here's the favorite vinyl of 2016 in New Mexico:

New Mexico:

1. Random Access Memories – Daft Punk

2. Violent Femmes – Violent Femmes

3. Kind of Blue – Miles Davis

Plus we are small enough that George RR Martin can literally solve all our problems, so that's cool too......

Compare to Oklahoma where the favorite record of 2016 was Fleetwood Mac's Greatest Hits.

By the way, over 13 million vinyl albums were sold in 2016.


Thursday, February 09, 2017

Gonna Snow in April!

And I am psyched.

Texas guitar legends Matt and Bubba Kadane are back with an new album "Snow" this spring. They call the band "The New Year" and it's their 4th album under that name. First two were absolute stunners.

Of course, before that, Matt and Bubba were the foundation of the greatest 90s band you've never heard of, Bedhead.  You should pick up their box set if you are not already clued in.

And, just to round things out, you can catch the Kadanes collaborating with David Bazan (Pedro the Lion) and Will Johnson (Centromatic) in an outfit called "Overseas".

All of this music is beyond essential.

This post is for Gerardo!

Monday, February 06, 2017

we have used our rule of law to create a rule of man


People. How on Trump's green earth can this be an actual law in our actual country?



"Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate."


Amazing.


We deserve a fair amount of the shit-storm we are enduring. No person should have this kind of unilateral power.

I only hope that it's not too late to do something about the incredible level of legislative deference to the executive built into our current system BY THE FREAKING LEGISLATURE.