When Stupid Ideas Go Mainstream: Algebra on the Chopping Block

When you own a website, sometimes you need to type out an article and complain culture.  Usually, this coincides with hitting a certain age and believing "that wasn't the case when I was a kid".  I don't have any excuse like that; my cynicism is a reaction to a perfect storm of articles over the last few months which, far from moving the Overton … [Read more...]

The Definitive Guide to Protest Voting!

In The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror VII, you can find one of the most poignant cultural references ever made by a cartoon: Homer: America, take a good look at your beloved candidates. They're nothing but hideous space reptiles! Kodos: It's true, we are aliens... but what are you going to do about it? It's a two-party system; you have to vote for … [Read more...]

Who Is My Representative?

Most people don't know who their representatives are. Let's correct that oversight, at least for those of you who come to this website! On this page you'll find some code which identifies the politicians representing a given address. You can either enter an address in the search box or "alt-click" on the map (option-click on a Mac) to get … [Read more...]

Does Paul Ryan Really Scare Seniors?

Spoiler alert for anyone who is still ignoring the Presidential race,  Republican Mitt Romney has picked Paul Ryan (a Representative from Wisconsin) as his running mate in the 2012 elections (and President Barack Obama and Joe Biden work out some kinks).  The battle has already begun as each campaign has pivoted from talking about the economy to … [Read more...]

What Presidential Race? (Read: When to Start Paying Attention…)

I've made the warning before... and I'll make it again: be wary of false precision.  This time, in particular, I'm talking about political odds - yes, of the very sort I now display prominently on the right sidebar of this very site! Horse Racing and Political Calculations Some people, present company included, are dedicated political observers … [Read more...]

How Much Would Your IRA Be Worth if You Invested As Much as Mitt Romney?

In a case of great timing, DQYDJ's article guessing how Mitt Romney has so much money in his IRA is now the third most popular article on the site!  While I hold no belief that this situation will continue past November of this year, I think that, in the moment, it's interesting to ask how a retail investor (read: the rest of us) might have fared … [Read more...]

Inflation is Good! (Or not horrible)

Media and fellow bloggers alike enjoy bemoaning the hazardous plague of inflation. The argument generally centers around the idea that inflation lowers the real rate of return and thus discourages savings at the expense of debtors. I will show that not only is this argument not grounded in reality, but that it also ignores many ancillary benefits … [Read more...]

Mortgage Interest Deduction A Good Idea?

It has been mentioned here and elsewhere that the mortgage interest deduction in the tax code is a roundabout way of subsidizing banks. If interest rates are determined by supply and demand then the demand for interest rates is only dependent on what a taxpayer's "effective interest expense is". For example, if interest rates are at 4.0% and you … [Read more...]

Things That Don’t Matter: Congressional Approval Polls

If there is anything in politics sillier than Congressional Job Approval polls, I've yet to find it - yet here I am writing about it.  Ostensibly, these polls are set up to gauge the public's trust in Congress - to get an idea about the public mood regarding our elected leaders. In reality, the entire setup of the poll is a sham.  Here's the thing … [Read more...]