Tuesday Links: Scrubbed Dirty, Game Theory, Taxes

Charles Duhigg’s investigation of the state of the nation’s water continues today with an excellent piece on page one of The New York Times. Those scrubbers keeping emissions from going into the air? Yeah, out of the air, into our water.

— The WSJ’s Dennis Berman has an interesting column on a game theorist’s insights into The Game. “In this cruel, rational world, ‘getting the best deal possible doesn’t mean the best for shareholders, says Dr. Bueno de Mesquita. “It means the best for the people making the decisions.”

— The Los Angeles Times’s excellent Michael Hiltzik has a good take on the poor-don’t-pay-taxes myth—this one in California. The poorest fifth of earners in the state paid 11.7 percent all-in (sales, property, state-income) tax rate. The richest 1 percent? They paid just 7.1 percent.

I’ll throw in another mythbuster, this time encompassing all state, local, and federal taxes: The total tax rate for the top 1 percent of earners in the U.S. is 30.9 percent. The all-in rate for the rest of us: 29.4 percent.

The Pragmatic Capitalist takes on Barron’s for its cover puffery of mutual-fund king Bill Miller, calling it “highly misleading” especially because it doesn’t consider risk-adjusted returns. “Miller is a part of an industry that has been proven to underperform a standard index fund (more than a handful of studies show that over 80% of all mutual funds underperform a comparable apples to apples index).” (h/t Business Insider)

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Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at rc2538@columbia.edu. Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum.