Some Links

Alison Frankel from Reuters asks why corporations should be shielded from disclosing political contributions.

The sheer dollars may not be big enough to warrant shareholder notice, but the potential reputational harm to the corporation from contributing to a particular candidate or lobbying effort seems to me to be exactly why shareholders should know about such spending. It’s like the old saying that if you wouldn’t want to see your conduct reported on the front page of The New York Times, then you shouldn’t do it. Besides, as Coates told me, competitors and members of the public already have access to all kinds of potentially damaging information about companies that report to the SEC, from their intellectual property to litigation against them. Corporations have learned to handle those disclosures, so why not political spending?

Becker and Posner examine how the United States government could control the costs of our social insurance programs. Judge Posner:

Which leads me to the first of the only two practical ideas that occur to me for slowing the increase in entitlement expenditures relative to the size of the economy: a shift in emphasis in medical research from length of life to ability to live independently…[and] means-test[ing] social security and Medicare.

A nice Boston Globe profile of Martin Walsh, who was subsequently elected mayor.

Today, Walsh is a candidate for mayor of Boston as the contest enters the frenzied, post-Labor Day sprint to the preliminary election Sept. 24. He remains calm amid the tumult of the race. He is smiling, always smiling, because Walsh says he has yet to have a bad day on the campaign trail. Alcoholism, bullets, and cancer can give a man perspective.

Daniel Gross at The Daily Beast tells Uber customers to stop whining about the car service’s surge pricing system. It reminded me of an old EconTalk podcast about price gouging.

During periods of normal demand, Uber delivers a great service to the drivers (who give Uber a healthy chunk of each ride) and to Uber users. The company finds and delivers drivers with spare capacity to them at a pretty low price.

But circumstances can change when demand rises very rapidly at the same timethat drivers need significantly higher incentives to get out on the road. And that was the case over the weekend. The snow and sleet discouraged people from driving their own cars, and made them far less likely to wait for a bus, or to walk, or to stand outside hailing a cab. Hence demand for Uber’s services rose. At the same time, drivers could hardly be blamed for wanting to stay at home.

In a touching Texas Monthly piece,  Jenny Kutner discusses an illicit relationship between a fourteen-year-old student and her twenty-something teacher and the fallout.

I use the word “affair” because it is malleable, because it is discreet, because it connotes something that I feel more comfortable implying than do words like “assault,” “abuse,” or “molestation.” When I say that I had an “affair,” I feel I have the agency and the control that I never had when the whole affair happened.

Kutner also wrote an awesome cover letter:

It is likely that I will make a number of mistakes in this role, but I assure you that I will make up for those mistakes by producing stellar work every once in a while. I will complete most of that work after thinking about the project at hand for an extended period of time during which is just looks like I’m on Pinterest, or for approximately ten minutes. I can promise you this: you and the rest of the staff will find me infinitely more impressive than I am actually.

After Sandy Hook, I read Dave Cullen’s comprehensive account of the Columbine massacres. It’s chilling and toward the end I couldn’t help but wonder how I would react if my son was a school shooter (and I don’t even have kids!). An LA Times article examines the fallout from the Arapahoe shootings for the assailant’s parents and the community:

Parents of school shooters commonly face intense pressure after the incidents. Eighty-five percent of respondents to a 2000 Pew Research survey said it was parents’ responsibility to prevent school massacres.

The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson looks at household chores and married couples.

But here are three facts about housework and married couples that should probably drive the discussion:

  1. There’s less and less housework to do: The amount of housework has declined by 23 percent in the last half century, according to the American Time Use Survey, which is the gold standard for measuring how we spend our days. Some of this decline might be dirtier houses. Much of it is new technologies, like better washer dryers and vacuums, that save time.
  2. Men do more of it than they used to: They’ve more than doubled their share of housework since the 1960s.
  3. But women still do most of it: 18 hours a week for mothers vs. 10 hours a week for fathers in the 2011 ATUS.

 

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