Too many terrorists were released from #Gitmo



Italy: No country for young men (and women)

Mostly Economics

Prof. Paola Subacchi of University of Bologna has a depressing piece on state of affairs in Italy. Despite having a really young Prime Minister, he can’t hold on to talented young people:

Problems of plenty for the long legged country:

Over the last 20 years, roughly a half-million Italians aged 18 to 39 have moved abroad, especially to more economically dynamic European Union countries such as Germany, France, and the United Kingdom. And those are just the official figures; the actual numbers are probably much higher, possibly more than double. Why are young Italians so eager to leave?

It is not for lack of political representation. Since 2013, the share of Italy’s parliament that is under 40 has increased from 7% to 13%. Moreover, Italy now has one of the youngest governments among advanced countries (only France does better). And Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, at age 41, is Italy’s…

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California Lawsuit Seeks To Force Movie Studios To Give Films Showing Smoking An “R” Rating


gilda-movie-poster-1946-1020142589There is a curious class action lawsuit filed in federal court in San Francisco that seeks an order to force movie studios to use a minimum of an R rating for movies depicting the smoking of tobacco. The lawsuit filed by Timothy Forsyth and others strikes me as entirely meritless. The lawsuit cites various movies like The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug as warranting an R rating. Not all that gruesome decapitations and gouging mind you. It is the fact that characters like Gandalf smoke.

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UK employers pillaging Europe’s talent

Flip Chart Fairy Tales

The UK has one of the highest rates of overqualification in Europe. Research by the Institute of Public Policy Research two years ago placed Britain towards the upper end of the overqualification league table for those with both graduate and upper secondary level qualifications.

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A report last year by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, looking specifically at graduate overqualification, presented a similar picture.

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A couple of weeks ago, reflecting on the number of foreign graduates I have come across in London doing clerical and administrative jobs, I wondered how much of this might be due to immigration. Recent OECD figures indicate that, since the recession, the UK has seen one of the biggest rises in the rate of over-qualification of foreign-born workers.

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Data from the ONS, released earlier this month, supports my hypothesis. The ONS looked at the number of people with qualification levels above and below the mean for their jobs. It…

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Blogging (and statistical discrimination) explained



Top 10 best cat commercials

Is the #livingwage racist?


Questions for @grantrobertson1 on the #UBI @JordNZ

Labor Party finance spokesman Grant Robertson yesterday ruled out an income rate tax of 50% to fund a Universal Basic Income. Labour is considering a Universal Basic Income. It released a background paper for that purpose as part of its Future of Work Commission.


Source: Taxpayers’ Union rubbishes Universal Basic Income idea |

Questions arise as to how the Labour Party will fund its Universal Basic Income after ruling out a tax rate of 50%. As Brain Easton said:

Many advocates put the UMI forward without doing the sums. Those who do find that the required tax rates are horrendous or the minimum income is so low that it is not a viable means of eliminating poverty. Among the latter are New Zealanders Douglas, Gareth Morgan and Keith Rankin.

The Labour Party’s background paper already has said that the Universal Basic Income proposed by the Morgan Foundation is insufficient because many beneficiaries and all retirees will be much worse off. They receive much more in income support under the existing welfare state and they would under a Universal Basic Income of $11,000 per adult as proposed by the Morgan Foundation.

The solution proposed by the Labour Party is a supplemental income transfers to ensure no one is worse under a Universal Basic Income. This will greatly increase the cost of a Universal Basic income in comparison to the Morgan Foundation proposals.

A series of questions come to mind that the Labour Party and its finance spokesman Grant Robinson must answer if they are to go anywhere with a Universal Basic Income;

  1. Is not the point of a Universal Basic Income to replace the welfare state, not supplement it?
  2. How will the Labour Party fund its Universal Basic Income plus the supplemental income transfers without introducing a $8 billion tax on capital income  (including the family home) as in the Morgan Foundation’s proposals?
  3. The Universal Basic Income proposed by the Morgan Foundation requires $13 billion in extra taxes ($8 billion from taxing capital and $5 billion from a 30% flat-rate income tax) so how much more to that will Labour need for a Universal Basic Income plus supplemental income transfers?
  4. What is the maximum top marginal income tax rate that Labour will consider to fund a Universal Basic Income?
  5. Will the Labour Party’s Universal Basic Income be funded by a flat rate income tax or a progressive income tax system?


Source: How we pay for a universal basic income – Whiteboard Wednesday.It would have been my first point

Tax-the-Rich Delusions from Hillary and Bernie

International Liberty

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are basically two peas in a pod on economic policy. The only difference is that Sanders wants America to become Greece at a faster rate.

Folks on the left may get excited by whether we travel 60 mph in the wrong direction or 90 mph in the wrong direction, but this seems like a Hobson’s choice for those of us who would prefer that America become more like Hong Kong or Singapore.

Consider the issue of taxation. Clinton and Sanders both agree that they want to raise tax rates on investors, entrepreneurs, small business owners, and other “rich” taxpayers. The only difference is how high and how quickly.

Scott Winship of the Manhattan Institute has a must-read column on this topic in today’s Wall Street Journal.

He starts by speculating whether there’s a rate high enough to satisfy the greed of these…

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The Australian Senate’s reformed electoral system is a major improvement

The Constitution Unit Blog

Harry Hobbsperson portrait

The most significant changes to the system for elections to the Australian Senate since 1984 received Royal Assent last week. Harry Hobbs and George Williams explain the background to the legislation, which will give voters more control over how their preferences are distributed. They argue that, in reflecting the principle that candidates should be elected based on the size of their vote rather than opaque preference deals, the changes are a major improvement.

After a marathon debate lasting over 28 hours, the Australian Senate has passed the most significant changes to its method of election since 1984. The changes are contained in the Commonwealth Electoral Amendment Act 2016, which was given Royal Assent on 21 March, just in time for the upcoming Federal election – though a quixotic High Court challenge to overturn the legislation has been launched.

The Australian Senate

The Senate differs from the House of Lords…

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