Tag Archives: art carden

A Bit of Economics Humor

Rhodes College economics professor (and sharp wit) Art Carden created a bunch of meme pictures to accompany a talk he gives about the nine basic principles of the economic way of thinking. This article briefly summarizes them. My two favorite pictures are below. Click here to see the rest.


Economics and Christmas

Art Carden has an amusing article up at Forbes titled “Ruining Christmas: An Economist’s Guide.” Here’s a taste:

1. You Shouldn’t Have. No, Really. You Shouldn’t Have. The classic salvo in the literature on the economics of Christmas is Joel Waldfogel’s “The Deadweight Loss of Christmas,” which provides a bit of evidence that people would be happier if you gave them cash instead of an equally-expensive present. Yes, it’s the thought that counts, but how many of us have given (or gotten) gifts that have ended up in an end-of-year Goodwill donation or a Spring yard sale?

We learned this first-hand at a family holiday party that involved a white elephant gift exchange. Everyone went home happy, but one participant (an Alabama fan) opened a box of Auburn stuff, another (an Auburn fan) opened Alabama stuff, and one of the gifts I (an Alabama fan) opened was an LSU cap. Again, everything worked out in the end, but the initial distribution was incredibly inefficient.

Read the whole thing. Carden also wrote the equally amusing “How Economics Saved Christmas.” My review of Waldfogel’s book is here.

Why Is Immigration Illegal Anyway?

Art Carden and Ben Powell ask that fundamental question, and answer it brilliantly:

American immigration restrictions have a long history, but they have never been a good idea. Economist Thomas Leonard documents how even some Progressive Era economists supported immigration restrictions and minimum wages because they wanted to shut members of what they called “low-wage races” out of the American labor market…

Fears that immigrants will wreck our economy are probably the biggest reason substantial barriers to legal immigration remain on the books. But immigrants don’t take our jobs, lower our wages or depress the American economy.

Virtually all economists who study immigration find that it provides a small but positive impact on the economy. It should be obvious that immigrants don’t steal jobs from the native-born. Since 1950, the labor force has more than doubled but long-run unemployment is essentially unchanged. As we’ve added more workers, we’ve added more jobs.

Read the whole thing here.

The Simpsons and Immigration

Art Carden has an excellent column about immigration, and not just because the first third is about The Simpsons. One key point:

Also, making something illegal isn’t the same thing as stopping it. The formal barriers to legal immigration are so onerous and the opportunities in the United States are so great that there is a thriving underground market in smuggling people across the border. I fear that the institutional steps that would be required to completely stop illegal immigration would make the current excesses of the Transportation Security Administration look like child’s play. Even if we grant the assumptions of immigration opponents about the costs of immigration, it is by no means clear that Fortress USA would bear any resemblance to a “land of the free.”

Read the whole thing. My colleague Alex Nowrasteh and I made a similar point last year.

I Couldn’t Agree More

Art Carden in Forbes: Time to Close the Security Theater

Art Carden on the Broken Window Fallacy

Good stuff. If the embedded video doesn’t work, click here.

TSA Roundup

The TSA has crossed a line. Its new security procedures require employees to either touch passengers’ genitals or take pictures of them. The public backlash is loud and growing. My colleagues Michelle Minton, Brian McGraw, and Ivan Osorio have all covered the issue. Here are what other people around the country are saying:

-Tim Carney reports that the CEO of Rapiscan, a scanner manufacturer, is an Obama donor and accompanied the President on his recent trip to India.

-A group of activists has declared November 24 to be National Opt-Out Day. November 24 is the day before Thanksgiving, and will be one of the year’s busiest travel days. Since pat-downs take more time than full-body scans, the goal is to clog security until TSA removes full-body scanners from airports. I will be participating.

-The proprietor of Our Little Chatterboxes, a blog about child development issues, recounts her encounter with the TSA’s new pat-down procedures. She writes, “[The TSA employee] felt along my waistline, moved behind me, then proceeded to feel both of my buttocks. She reached from behind in the middle of my buttocks towards my vagina area… She then moved in front of my and touched the top and underneath portions of both of my breasts… She then felt my inner thighs and my vagina area, touching both of my labia.”

-The blogger at Insert Title Here tells his story, with video. He was threatened with a $10,000 civil suit.

The Chicago Tribune’s Steve Chapman wrote an excellent column, noting that “The U.S. Marshals Service recently admitted saving some 35,000 images from a [full-body scanning] machine at a federal courthouse in Florida. TSA says that will never happen. Human experience says, oh, yes, it will.”

Art Carden calls for abolishing the TSA. “The airlines have enormous sums of money riding on passenger safety, and the notion that a government bureaucracy has better incentives to provide safe travels than airlines with billions of dollars worth of capital and goodwill on the line strains credibility,” he writes.

-The Drudge Report posts a picture of a TSA agent fondling a nun’s private parts.