Today’s Links: September 4, 2012


JOHN H. COCHRANE: “CBO Demands a Leap of Faith on the Fiscal Cliff
“How does the CBO come up with these numbers? Its projections are Keynesian. If the government borrows $1 billion and spends it, the CBO will project that this action raises gross domestic product by $1.5 billion. Government workers are counted as ‘producing’ what they cost, so borrowing money to keep them employed generates the same GDP as building a bridge. If the government just gives the money to people, this also raises the CBO’s GDP estimate. Reducing government spending and transfers has the opposite effect. If, like me, you think that spending less money on useless projects is good for the economy, or that taking money from A and giving it to B has little overall effect, you would come to much different conclusions from the CBO’s.”

CARRIE LUKAS: “Is A ‘War On Women’ The Best That President Obama Can Do?
“The substance to Democrats’ “War on Women” charge—to the extent there is some—is that Republicans seek to reduce government spending and roll back aspects of this safety net.  Women evaluating this claim should start by weighing the benefit of government freebies against the costs they create.  After all, Democrats may sell new programs and regulations (such as those that require insurance to make contraception ‘free’ to users) as manna from heaven, but their costs reappear elsewhere.  We pay for government’s generosity through higher insurance premiums, more government debt, higher taxes, lower economic growth and fewer jobs.”

WILL OREMUS: “Email and Phone Number Targeting Keeps Facebook a Step Ahead of Twitter in Race To Capitalize on Your Data
“[Facebook’s] next step: using your phone number and email address to connect you with advertisers. This isn’t as sinister as some have made it out to be. The company won’t actually share your contact info with advertisers, as Anthony Ha explains in TechCrunch. Rather, it will allow companies that already have your email or phone number—theoretically because you gave it to them voluntarily—to send that information to Facebook, in encrypted form. Facebook will then scan its own database for a match, also using encryption. So if you’ve provided the same contact info to Facebook, it will add you to an anonymized list of targets for that company’s ads on the site.”


EDUCATION – Hong Kong protest over school ‘brainwashing’ by China
“Chanting ‘No to brainwashing education. Withdraw national education’, some 8000 people denounced a Hong Kong government-funded booklet entitled “The China Model” they say glorifies China’s single Communist party rule while glossing over more brutal aspects of its rule and political controversies. ”

TRACKING – Attorney General makes case for widespread internet tracking
“Privacy advocates and some people in the internet industry are today accusing the Federal Attorney General of proposing laws that they would only expect to see in a police state.”

WOLVES – Federal Government Ends Wyoming Wolf Protections
“Visitors to Yellowstone National Park on almost any given day can glimpse packs of wolves and hear their iconic howls, thanks to a yearslong effort to revive the species that once neared extinction in the United States.”