So, I've got a more fulsome post (at long last) coming later this afternoon, but in the interim, I had to get some things off my chest:
[insert rant here]
First: if we're going to have national healthcare, particularly a program that's paid for by a small subset of taxpayers, we need to ban the sale of cigarettes yesterday. Either that, or tax 'em at like $15 per pack. Anything less creates a huge principal-agent problem. While we're at it, let's do something about Mixed Martial Arts. Do we really want kids watching this stuff on ESPN and then going out behind the trailer and practicing a sport whose usual loser's outcome isn't graceful defeat, but rather a hospital visit?
Second: Why is anyone surprised that the savings rate continues to climb (some say it might soon exceed 10%)? Sure consumers are de-levering, but savings rate is also a function of people's expectations of future disposable income, no? And disposable income is a function of income and tax rate. People may have differing expectations on income, but one thing we can probably all agree on is that taxes are going up, up, and away. As we used to say in Brooklyn: BOHICA.
Last: no matter how low my expectations get, United Airlines never ceases to underwhelm. Once, I expected courtesy, then I hoped for indifference, now I just want to get home without interacting with any more of their employees or having them bark at us over the intercom. How does an airline that treats its customers so cynically stay flying? Remember the old phrase, "one bad flight attendant can bring down an entire airline?" When did people stop caring? It's that pesky principal-agent thing again . . .