A handy dandy couple of charts on traffic fatalities over the decades. It’s not just fatalities, though. Injuries and accidents are down as well.

If comic books are so big, why don’t they pay? There’s a lot of words there to state the relatively obvious: Too much supply, too little demand. When you have an excess of talented people, it’s pretty easy to expect them to work for practically free. It is interesting that, unlike similar creative fields (novel-writing, acting, etc) even the really successful ones don’t get paid very well.

Will the Tampa Bay Rays become victims of contraction? A real bummer, if true, as someone that believes that the major sports should be expanding rather than contracting. Relocation seems like a better deal, but there are some contractual problems with that. Given how the major leagues do not typically like odd numbers of teams, it seems that folding the team and then creating a new one a couple years down the line is going to happen. Worst-case, another team is dropped along with them. The Oakland Athletics have been mentioned.

Subaru’s apparent desire to shed its quirky image is a puzzler. They have two niches and its quirky image is one of them. They have a smallish, but pretty loyal, following. Back when they were just another carmaker, they were doing so poorly that they almost had to exit the North American market.

An interesting article in the New York Times about physicians choosing work-life balance over more money. I’ve commented before that physician wages have stagnated over the past decade or two, but that’s not entirely accurate. They’ve actually gone down in total, though when you account for the fact that they work fewer hours (an average of 51, compared to an average of 55 years ago) it evens out. This is something to keep in mind when we consider taxing the income of those who make too much money (when we define it beyond the top 1% of earners, at any rate). It makes taking a pay cut for leisure time more attractive.

Speaking of which, a good example of why you shouldn’t use wealth distribution as being comparable to income distribution. It makes even Sweden look bad.

We need fatter crash test dummies.


Category: Newsroom

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9 Responses to Linkluster XXXIV

  1. Brandon Berg says:

    I remember thinking, when leftists were touting that paper as proof that Americans really want a Swedish-style welfare state, that all it really proved was that the typical American has no understanding of the mathematics of wealth accumulation, or of the nightmare-dystopian policies that would be necessary to achieve a distribution in which the top quintile has only a third of the total wealth.

    Not sure how I missed the fact that so many people thought that Sweden actually had a wealth distribution like that.

    Even if everyone had exactly the same lifetime income and savings patterns, you’d end up with the top quintile having at least 40-50% of the wealth due to having had the most time to save and benefit from compound interest. Add in even a modest degree of income inequality, differences in savings habits, and differing household sizes, and it’s just not reasonable to expect the top quintile to have less than 2/3 of the wealth without really harsh redistributive policies.

  2. David Alexander says:

    Subaru’s apparent desire to shed its quirky image is a puzzler.

    I see that somebody has become a Subaru fan. FWIW, I suspect that ultimately, Subaru management in Japan and its investors would like to see a greater return on their investment and thus want greater sales, and they feel that the only way to increase market share and sales is to appeal to more mainstream markets. As some would note, moving from a niche brand into a mainstream brand isn’t easy, and may end up scaring off loyal customers permanently. Some have argued in private forums that Saturn’s shift diluted the brand for its core buyers and never transitioned well into a mainstream brand leading to its demise. It remains to be seen if Volkswagen’s current attempt to pander to more mainstream buyers with conservative designs and decontented models will appeal to new buyers without chasing off the core buyers who were loyal and willing to put up with the quirks of their sometimes questionably assembled cars.

    FWIW, the current Impreza is appealing, but I’d rather go for the Mazda 3 as AWD isn’t that necessary around here and those models don’t have skid plates and snow tires to really go drive in extreme snowy conditions, my Toyota loyalties would push me to the RAV 4 over the Forrester, and the current Legacy is unattractive in a class that has questionably looking or bland cars. The previous generation, OTOH, was perfect.

    Will the Tampa Bay Rays become victims of contraction?

    Contraction seems to be the buzzword du jour of sports leagues these days under the theory that they consistently unprofitable teams can be dumped leaving a better product. I remain skeptical about that given that the alienated cities may not show further interest in the sport, but one could argue that the player salaries and other expenses like massive stadiums and over dependence of high TV revenues may cause some of the failings in the current marketplace. Judging by the comments, it seems that Florida’s sports marketplace is screwy in general due to the high numbers of out of state residents who show allegiance to teams in their old towns, something that doesn’t seem to be too much of a problem in other locales.

  3. Peter says:

    Attendance at Rays games has been improving over the last several seasons. It’s still low, but not quite as abysmal as it had been. One thing I’ve read is that Tropicana Field is not in a convenient location for most people in the Tampa metropolitan area. A new stadium in a better location would boost attendance even further.

  4. trumwill says:

    David, as long as we live in the part of the country where we do, Subaru will be of interest. They’re the only ones that cater specifically to us (functionally – image-wise, they cater specifically to others as well). I’ve been pleased with the Forester and will definitely consider Subaru for our next car, though unfortunately they don’t exactly cater to what we might want our next car to be.

    I looked at the RAV4, but it was simply too expensive if we wanted it equipped with the things that Subaru offers across-the-board. If we didn’t care about AWD or towing, we might have gotten a RAV4, but we would have been looking at a lot of different vehicles we didn’t really look at.

    I have no problems with the Legacy’s appearance, either in their current or previous iteration. There’s no question, though, that sales reflect a problem. I don’t see the appeal of an Impreza, unless one specifically needs AWD in a compact. Without needing AWD, it would be near the bottom of my list.

  5. trumwill says:

    Re: Rays

    I’ve read a few things about what Peter is talking about with regard to the location of the stadium. By all rights, it would have been better if they’d put the stadium in Tampa, but St. Pete put together a better stadium proposal and the Rays have been paying for it ever since (and since they’re under contract, they can’t move). As I mentioned before and elsewhere, different sports have different needs when it comes to locations. With baseball, 80+ home games means that you need it to be conveniently located. Downtown baseball stadiums make a lot more sense than downtown football ones.

    As Dave mentions, sports like the idea of contraction and (alas) oppose expansion. A paucity of teams allow them to extract better and better stadium deals. And with the TV nature of the sport, they could probably get by with fewer teams than they have now and be more profitable. But with professional sports and their monopolies, I think it’s more important to look at the bigger picture.

    Tampa was the wrong choice. I said so at the time. The astounding success of the Denver team and the disappointment of Miami’s demonstrated this. Then the same thing occurred again with Phoenix and St. Pete. When the Montreal Expos were on the market, I was rooting for it to go to a western city. San Antonio or Las Vegas (for kind of opposite reasons) came to mind.

  6. trumwill says:

    Brandon, being in a high-income but low-wealth category definitely helped me understand why the distinction between wealth and income is important. Before, I never fully understood and thought that there was a lot of hairsplitting going on.

  7. Mike Hunt says:

    being in a high-income but low-wealth category

    What, are you N rich?

    Will the Tampa Bay Rays become victims of contraction?

    It is worth noting that the OP doesn’t have any evidence of this happening; it is pure conjecture.

  8. trumwill says:

    We’re people that have suddenly found ourselves making good money, but we haven’t been making good money for long enough to have a whole lot in assets compared even to people making decent but less money over a long period of time.

    It’s speculation, but it’s not just this author speculating. There was talk of Minnesota being contracted several years ago, but that was mostly about (a) the commissioner being from Milwaukee and really (b) a stadium deal. This has nothing to do with Milwaukee, but it could be an attempt to do something with the stadium problem. Or it could be nothing at all.

  9. ? says:

    “We’re people that have suddenly found ourselves making good money, but we haven’t been making good money for long enough to have a whole lot in assets compared even to people making decent but less money over a long period of time.”

    That’s the problem with medicine. You spend 8 to 15 years after college either hemorrhaging money (medical school) or making minimum wage per hour (residency and fellowship), all with the expectation of being able to dig out of the debt and accumulate savings later. Except that now the government and private insurers are going to clip us bigtime without much of a nod to the poor financial situation in which the training system leaves us. Some of us have put off literally everything on account of our training – outside interests, friends, dating, marriage, family. It’s extremely embittering.

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