The Stingy News Weekly (11/20/2011)
Stingy News Flash
I've been invited to give a talk to the University of Toronto Faculty Association this Friday, November 25, from 4 pm to 6 pm. If you're in the area, you're welcome to stop by. It's being held in Room KP-108 (small auditorium) at Koffler House, 569 Spadina Crescent, Toronto. If you plan on attending, let me know.
The talk is aimed at a fairly basic level and you can peruse a preliminary copy of the slides via the link below. I expect that most of the time allotted will be devoted to the first 11 slides.
A model for Ontario
"California has long been among America’s most extensive taxers and regulators of business. But at the same time, the state had assets that seemed to offset its economic disincentives: a famously sunny climate, a world-class public university system that produced a talented local workforce, sturdy infrastructure that often made doing business easier, and a history of innovative companies. No more. As California has transformed into a relentlessly antibusiness state, those redeeming characteristics haven’t been enough to keep firms from leaving. Relocation experts say that the number of companies exiting the state for greener pastures has exploded. In surveys, executives regularly call California one of the country’s most toxic business environments and one of the least likely places to open or expand a new company. Many firms still headquartered in California have forsaken expansion there."
I was wrong, and so are you
"The new results invalidated our original result: under the right circumstances, conservatives and libertarians were as likely as anyone on the left to give wrong answers to economic questions. The proper inference from our work is not that one group is more enlightened, or less. It’s that “myside bias”—the tendency to judge a statement according to how conveniently it fits with one’s settled position—is pervasive among all of America’s political groups. The bias is seen in the data, and in my actions."
Congress: Trading stock on inside information?
"The next national election is now less than a year away and congressmen and senators are expending much of their time and their energy raising the millions of dollars in campaign funds they'll need just to hold onto a job that pays $174,000 a year. Few of them are doing it for the salary and all of them will say they are doing it to serve the public. But there are other benefits: Power, prestige, and the opportunity to become a Washington insider with access to information and connections that no one else has, in an environment of privilege where rules that govern the rest of the country, don't always apply to them. When Nancy Pelosi, John Boehner, and other lawmakers wouldn't answer Steve Kroft's questions, he headed to Washington to get some answers about their stock trades. Most former congressmen and senators manage to leave Washington - if they ever leave Washington - with more money in their pockets than they had when they arrived, and as you are about to see, the biggest challenge is often avoiding temptation."
What Graham thought of IBM
"The word that Warren Buffett has bought 5.4% of International Business Machines came as a surprise to most of his followers, as Buffett has long scorned investments in technology. Buffett’s mentor, the great value investor Benjamin Graham, had a long history with IBM."
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