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Conflict of Interest

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From CNN earlier this year:

Bill Clinton has most lucrative year on speech circuit

July 03, 2012|By Robert Yoon, CNN Political Research Director

In 11 years as a private citizen, Clinton has delivered 471 paid speeches and earned an average of $189,000 per event. 

Former President Bill Clinton commanded the largest speaking fees of his career in 2011, earning $13.4 million and exceeding his previous record by 25%. 

The successful efforts in 2011 of Bill Clinton’s wife, the Secretary of State, to start a war with Libya and kill Col. Muammar Gadafi, a colleague of Bill’s leading rival on the international lecture circuit, Tony Blair, couldn’t have been bad for business.

Clinton’s fees were detailed in Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s annual financial disclosure report, released Monday. A CNN analysis of those records shows that the former commander-in-chief has earned $89 million from paid speeches since leaving the White House in January 2001. …

Clinton delivered 54 paid speeches in 2011, roughly the same as his 2010 workload, but the marked increase in income can be credited to six overseas events that earned him the largest single paydays of his career. 

The most lucrative was a November speech in Hong Kong to Swedish-based telecom giant Ericsson — $750,000. Clinton also earned $700,000 for a March speech to a local newspaper publishing company in Lagos, Nigeria [Huh?], and $550,000 for a November speech to a business forum in Shanghai, China. He earned $500,000 apiece for three events in Austria and Holland in May and in the United Arab Emirates in December. 

… The former president’s previous record for speech income earned in one year was in 2010, when he earned $10.7 million for 52 events. His speech earnings last year were nearly double the $7.5 million he earned in 2009. 

Almost half of the former president’s speech income last year, $6.1 million, came from 16 speeches delivered in 11 other countries, ranging from Canada to Saudi Arabia. The remainder was earned in 38 domestic speeches delivered in nine states and the District of Columbia.

The concept of “conflict of interest” is slowly dying out, especially when it  could be applied to two-career couples.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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Here’s the abstract of a paper in press by economist Ted Joyce, followed by Joyce’s cogent explanation of why it’s important to keep harping on this subject.

A Simple Test of Abortion and Crime
Ted Joyce
Baruch College and Graduate Center
City University of New York
National Bureau of Economic Research

Forthcoming in Review of Economics and Statistics

A Simple Test of Abortion and Crime


I replicate Donohue and Levitt’s results for violent and property crime arrest rates and then apply their data and specification to an analysis of age-specific homicide rates and murder arrest rates. The coefficients on the abortion rate have the wrong sign for two of the four measures of crime and none is statistically significant at conventional levels. In the second half of the paper, I present alternative tests of abortion and crime that attempt to mitigate problems of endogeneity and measurement error. I use the legalization of abortion following the 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade in order to exploit two sources of variation: between-state changes in abortion rates pre and post Roe, and cross-cohort differences in exposure to legalized abortion. I ind no meaningful association between abortion and age-specific crime rates among cohorts born in the years just before and after abortion became legal.

I. Introduction

The debate as to whether legalized abortion lowers crime leaped from academic journals to mainstream discourse with the huge success of Freakonomics.1 In the Chapter titled, “Where Have All the Criminals Gone?” Levitt and Dubner summarize academic work by Levitt and coauthor John Donohue, which shows that a one-standard deviation increase in the abortion rate lowers homicide rates by 31 percent and can explain upwards of 60 percent of the recent decline in murder.2 If one accepts these estimates, then legalized abortion has saved more than 51,000 lives between 1991 and 2001, at a total savings of $105 billion. But the policy implications go beyond crime. If abortion lowers homicide rates by 20 to 30 percent, then it is likely to have affected an entire spectrum of outcomes associated with well-being: infant health, child development, schooling, earnings and marital status. Similarly, the policy implications are broader than abortion. Other interventions that affect fertility control and that lead to fewer unwanted births—contraception or sexual abstinence—have huge potential payoffs. In short, a causal relationship between legalized abortion and crime has such significant ramifications for social policy and at the same time is so controversial, that further assessment of the identifying assumptions and their robustness to alternative strategies is warranted.

The New York Times more or less sets the agenda for the rest of the news media. If the NYT decides a story is fit to print, much of the the rest of the press will soon decide, what do you know!, that the topic deserves coverage. But if a tree falls in the forest and the NYT doesn’t cover it … This means the NYT has a particular responsibility to avoid giving in to conflicts of interest, which they have clearly succumbed to over the last two years in their refusal to report on any of the controversies swirling around their star columnist turned blogger Steven D. Levitt.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
Steve Sailer
About Steve Sailer

Steve Sailer is a journalist, movie critic for Taki's Magazine, columnist, and founder of the Human Biodiversity discussion group for top scientists and public intellectuals.

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