Monday, December 31, 2012

Top Ten Blog Entries for 2012

As we approach the end of 2012, it's nice to look back to see how the year progressed, and this blog is no exception. After taking a look at my blog entries from 2012, I chose ten blog entries that I thought were my best (based on such factors as readership, content, and number of comments), and have thus listed them in chronological order:

1) With the fiscal cliff discussions, the current debt situation has been brought up more than once. To be able to grasp the extent to which debt is an issue is important in policy discussions, which is why back in January, I wrote this blog entry about debt and Paul Krugman's misunderstanding thereof.

2) We've gone through the Internet bubble and the housing bubble. The next bubble on the horizon is the student debt bubble. When that moment happens, I'm sure there's going to be some genius who recommends that we forgive student debt. Read here to find out why that would be a bad idea.  

3) I had to throw at least one religiously related blog entry on here, and I decided to include the one with the most pageviews. A recently developed Jewish practice is to include an orange on the seder plate, which primarily represents the marginalization of the LGBT community [in Jewish communities], but can also represent any other marginalized individuals. Although this blog was initiated by my frustration with a rabbi on the Religious Right, it was nevertheless a nice project to find out whether items can be added to the seder (the answer is a resounding "yes") and the extent to which one can create a new custom while staying within the Jewish framework.

4) This entry received the most pageviews in 2012. Back in June, Californians voted on Preposition 29, which would have increased the cigarette tax by a dollar. Fortunately, the initiative did not pass. My entry goes into why this specific initiative would have not worked, as well as the more general issues with sin taxes.

5) The word "sweatshop" is very emotionally charged. It seems as if given the conditions of "sweatshops," one could not possibly defend these factories. However, when you extract the emotional element from the argument, not only could one make an argument for "sweatshops", but it should lead us to the conclusion that "sweatshops", at least in the short-to-medium run, are the best option for many individuals in developing countries.

6) The sin tax on cigarettes was not the only idiotic policy that Californians attempted to pass via referendum. California was actually looking to require that labels be put on all genetically modified foods letting consumers know which foods are genetically modified. There is nothing wrong with genetically modified food and the labeling process would have been a nightmare, which is why I was glad to see another ridiculous initiative get rejected.

7) "Made in America" is one of those phrases in which many Americans think that it's better to keep jobs in America, as opposed as to sending them overseas, because it's the "patriotic thing to do." As it turns out, "outsourcing" is not a dirty word, and Americans should actually embrace the idea of more free trade.

8) Washington and Colorado were two states that were courageous and intelligent enough to pass referenda that allowed for the legalization of marijuana. I think this an idea that makes perfect sense and should be enacted by all 50 states (Read Part I and Part II).

9) For those of you who were looking to invest in France, I provide a summary of France's politics and its economy to assess the amount of credit risk of France. It's not too bad at the moment, but if they don't get their act together, it'll get worse.

10) Gun control has been a hot-button issue in light of the recent shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut. As unfortunate as these tragedies are, any call for further gun control should not be based on a small subset of gun homicides, especially when gun violence has been declining for the past twenty-plus years. Here I provide an analysis of pertinent gun control measures and see whether they can provide the solace and safety that gun control advocates claim.

I hope you enjoyed this blog in 2012, and hope you continue to enjoy it in 2013. I hope that 2013 brings you even more joy and success in your lives!

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