College: now more than ever

It’s kind of amazing how the relative value of a college degree has grown in recent years.  It is really tough out there for people without college degrees.

Unemployment rate by educational status

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3-D

Interesting article in the Times about how the initial success of 3D movies is wearing off and Michael Bay is now working extra hard to try and sell the new 3D Transformers movie.  The article quotes a studio exec:

“The consumer has had a reaction to bad 3-D and subtle 3-D,” said Rob Moore, Paramount’s vice chairman. “They’re tired of sitting in a theater thinking, ‘Wait, is this movie in 3-D or not?’

No.  I think they’re saying, “sure 3D is cool, but $3-5 extra dollars a ticket?!”  If they weren’t so damn greedy about it, it wouldn’t be so bad.  Sure 3D technology is more expensive, but I’m guessing the actual added expense cannot be more than $1 a ticket.  They’re just sticking it to movies fans and more and more are realizing the marginal added value of 3D just isn’t what the theaters are charging for it.

Voter fraud

 

 

I keep meaning to write about the ridiculous efforts of Republicans here in NC and elsewhere to “ensure integrity” in our elections against the non-existent threat of voter fraud.  Kevin Drum links to a nice EJ Dionne column on the issue and nicely sums up the evidence thusly:

Still, let’s walk through the evidence:

  1. Research showing that actual voter fraud is minuscule — perhaps 0.001% of the vote or so — is overwhelming and very well known.
  2. Republicans have nonetheless been pushing voter fraud laws for nearly two decades.
  3. This costs a lot of money and sucks up a lot of energy.
  4. Parties don’t generally spend lots of money and energy on things unless they benefit the party or its supporters in some way.
  5. The evidence that voter fraud laws reduce turnout among groups that trend Democratic is also very well known among party apparatchiks who pay attention to such things.

Maybe you can come up with some alternative interpretation for such a tenacious, coordinated, and energetic campaign. But the obvious explanation is that Republican Party apparatchiks think that voter fraud laws offer a method of reducing Democratic turnout in elections that’s both effective and deniable. I really think you have to be almost willfully blind not to see this.

To anyone who honestly believe this is about anything other than naked partisan gain, I’ve got a bridge to sell you.  My favorite anecdote on this issue: in Texas a concealed carry permit can count as official voter ID but a college student ID cannot.  I’m sure that has nothing to do with the relative partisanship of gun owners vs. college students.

Chart of the day (health care claims)

I always feel the need to mention that I think markets often are and can be a great thing.  No socialist me.  But, that’s because liberals are far too often characterized as being anti-market.  We’re not.  Rather, I would argue that conservatives are reflexively and un-thinkingly pro-market.  Sometimes free markets work great, in which case liberals support them.  Sometimes they don’t, in which case liberals don’t support them, but conservatives do anyway.  Case in point (via Kevin Drum), not only does Medicare deliver much more cost effective medical treatment, it actually is much more accurate in filing health care claims.  the latest figures show 96% accuracy whereas private health insurers are mostly closer to only 80% (which seems deplorable to me).  Sometimes the government does actually perform better than private firms.  That doesn’t mean we should have socialism.  It just means that– like liberals believe– we should look for the best solutions to our problems, whether it is the government or markets.

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