If you’re still fuming over taxes this year, take a look at Mike Duncan and Jason Novak‘s (slightly biased) cartoon explanation of the history of taxes. The income tax really got its start in 1913:
Congress immediately passes the Revenue Act of 1913, creating the first permanent income tax. No one really notices because the vast majority of incomes are taxed at just 1%. The mustache twirling robber barons get pretty grumpy, though. Then Wilson plunges us into WWI and unleashes the awesome potential of the new income tax. The top end rate jumps to 77% and revenue increases 635%.
Following my #lovedata challenge this morning, the first few attempts at explaining love around the world are already trickling in.
But first, the finding that blew my mind. Commenter Renarspointed out that the very data I had plotted—the proportion of people feeling love in a country on a typical day, versus a measure of GDP per capita (a measure of average income)–form a heart-shaped cloud. Really. Take a closer look at it. This may be the most amazing chart I’ve ever drawn.
At McSweeney’s, Josh Freedmanbreaks up with his girlfriend, economist-style:
Susan, we need to talk. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately. About us. I really like you, but ever since we met in that econ class in college I knew there was something missing from how I felt: quantitative reasoning. We can say we love each other all we want, but I just can’t trust it without the data. And after performing an in-depth cost-benefit analysis of our relationship, I just don’t think this is working out.
Please know that this decision was not rash. In fact, it was anything but—it was completely devoid of emotion. I just made a series of quantitative calculations, culled from available OECD data on comparable families and conservative estimates of future likelihoods. I then assigned weights to various “feelings” based on importance, as judged by the relevant scholarly literature. From this, it was easy to determine that given all of the options available, the winning decision on both cost-effectiveness and comparative-effectiveness grounds was to see other people.
Today is the last day on the Mayan calendar, which, according to some, means the world is going to end. This seems about as likely to occur as any economic forecast. And so in preparation, economists on Twitter have been making their end-of-the-world confessions, using the hashtag #EndOfTheWorldEconfessions.
From a friend, who got them from a friend, who got them from someone else, here’s a collection of newspaper headlines that don’t quite accomplish what the writer set out to accomplish. Anyone who has ever written or published anything can surely sympathize — and laugh.
From the Onion, “Nation’s Economists Quietly Evacuating Their Families”:
As employment stagnates, manufacturing continues its slump, and overall confidence in the U.S. financial system wavers, the nation’s economists have begun abandoning their homes and sending their loved ones overseas. “We’ve noticed a trend among the leading economic thinkers, be they Keynsians, supply-siders, or students of the Austrian school—they’re putting their families on one-way flights out of the country, often leaving half-finished survival bunkers behind them,” Paul Klement, an analyst with the Brookings Institute, told reporters Tuesday.
This, meanwhile, is not a joke: Economists for Romney today announces that its statement in support of Mitt Romney for President has been signed by more than 400 economists, including Nobelists Gary Becker, Robert Lucas, Robert Mundell, Edward Prescott, and Myron Scholes.
Like most economists, I spend much of my day analyzing data, distilling it into the perfect charts. And I also like to listen to music, while doing this. The brilliant Elisabeth Fosslien has found a way to combine the two. Yes: Rap Music in Charts. Brilliant! Here’s a chance to test your pop culture knowledge and chart reading skills. (Answers at the bottom.)
Thousands of economics majors head off to industry each year to work as analysts. They’re lured by the promise that they’ll learn a lot, work hard, play hard and get ahead. But is it true? Who better to ask than the brilliant young analyst Elisabeth Fosslien. And as a good young analyst, she’s distilled her portrait of life as an analyst into charts. Having once lived the analyst life—my first job out of college was at the Reserve Bank of Australia, crunching numbers and making charts—all of these resonated with me.
You might think that the dismal science has very little to offer on matters of the heart. But I disagree. And so does Elisabeth Fosslien. She’s a brilliant young analyst interested in design, math, and economics. Yes, she’s the sort of person who dressed up as a bear market for Halloween. All this makes her the perfect person for economics-themed data visualization. And so when #FedValentineslit up Twitter last week, she decided to go a step further, and provide the perfect valentine for the economist in your life. Make your selection, below:
One of the most wonderful things about Twitter is the spontaneous conversations that start around almost anything. And so, inspired by the hilarious #HealthPolicyValentines, I began a new hashtag on Twitter this morning: #FedValentines. Folks are tweeting all sorts of Fed-themed valentine’s wishes. As I write, it’s the second-top trending hashtag in the U.S.
Jeff Mosenkis, a freelance producer with Freakonomics Radio, holds a Ph.D. in psychology and comparative human development. Cracking the F&#%ing Humor Code
By Jeff Mosenkis
Just in time for Father’s Day, imagine rocking your little one to sleep with the lines:
“The windows are dark in the town, child
The whales huddle down in the deep
I’ll read you one very last book if you swear
You’ll go the F–k to sleep.”
The lines are from the new “kids” book Go the F**k to Sleep, by Adam Mansbach, which became a runaway hit after a PDF of the book was circulated online widely. It’s fully illustrated and written like a kids’ bedtime book, except for the exasperated expressions most kids might not quite understand. If you know anybody with kids, you probably got the e-mail (if not, refresh — it’s probably there by now). Months before publication, it shot up to No. 1 on Amazon, prompting its tiny publisher to move up its publication date.
As of this writing, it’s still ranked No. 2 overall on Amazon, and first in both humor and parenting & families sections. The movie rights have been optioned.
It might seem like a long shot that a profanity-laced purported kids book from a niche publisher should be such a runaway hit, but one clue why might come from humor researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder Leeds School of Business.