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EconLog 10/21/2019 23:27
In the 2018 midterms, my congressional district in southern Orange County elected a Democrat named Katie Porter. Although she is quite progressive, she the new cap on deductions state and local taxes (SALT). Southern Orange County is mostly upper middle class, and this tax change hits our area harder than many other parts of the US. Nonetheless, the cap on SALT deductions is a progressive provision in the tax code, with the higher tax burden falling overwhelmingly on the top quintile. It also makes the tax code more efficient. As an aside, this was part of a GOP bill that also cut tax rates for affluent taxpayers. So the net effect of the tax bill was probably positive for my district. It was certainly positive for me, and I’m a fairly typi.
EconLog 10/21/2019 11:41
DEKORNFELD: But nothing would prepare him [James Massey] for what he would find in Von Ormy because all those classes were about building city government. And in Von Ormy, the sole goal seemed to be the opposite. This is from “,” episode 945 of Planet Money, October 18, 2019. The whole thing is interesting and, at times, hilarious. How Von Ormy, Texas started as a city:. DEKORNFELD: Art [Martinez de Vara] told people, look; San Antonio is a growing metropolis. And in the near future, they are going to try to annex us, and that will come with big city taxation. And you know what it won’t come with? Representation. FOUNTAIN: Or, Mayor Art says, we could see the writing on the wall and come together and do this our own way. DEKORNFELD: He says
EconLog 10/20/2019 11:16
The key is high saving. about a worker on Wall Street making $40,000 a year and saving $10,500 a year in a 401(k) for 12 years. By the end, he was a millionaire. Sam Dogen went to extremes to save that much money in such a short time. And I don’t condone his stealing food from his employer, although that “theft” [he puts it in quotation marks and so I don’t know if it was really theft] saved him only a small amount of money. But what I always take from such stories is that if you really start to focus on what you spend and make some careful decisions, you can save a lot. Let’s say, for example, that you really do want your own room and you split a one-bedroom with a friend, paying $1,300 a month (remember that this was in 2000) rather than
EconLog 10/19/2019 20:05
Before getting to today’s post, I’d like to correct my on Brexit. When discussing the impact of Brexit on British growth, I forgot the evidence from asset prices. The British pound falls on news that Brexit is more likely, and falls even more on “no deal Brexit” becoming more likely. It’s hard to quantify that evidence, but it certainly counts for something. discusses research by the recent winners of the Nobel Prize in Economics. This comment is worth thinking about:. Michael Kremer wrote two of my favorite papers ever. The first is which you can find in . The idea of a patent buyout is for the government to buy a patent and rip it up, opening the idea to the public domain. How much should the government pay? To decide this they can hold an.
EconLog 10/19/2019 11:00
Marc A. Thiessen :. With , Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) may soon eclipse former vice president Joe Biden as the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination. That’s great news for Republicans, because Warren has a problem: The central message of her campaign is that the economy is working for the very wealthy but it is not working for ordinary Americans. Unfortunately for her, ordinary Americans disagree. That is great news for Republicans. But that doesn’t mean it’s great news for people who support Republicans because they don’t like left-wing economic policies. In fact it’s bad news for them. And the reason has to do with the median voter theorem. Here’s what William F. Shughart II writes in “,” in David R. Henderson, ed., T.
EconLog 10/18/2019 18:33
We’ve now had over two and a half years of President Donald Trump’s economic policies. While that time is relatively short, it gives us some basis for judging those policies. I judge him in two ways: (1) as a believer in economic freedom and (2) as an economist who cares about people’s economic wellbeing. By those criteria, some of Trump’s policies have been very good indeed and some have been horrid. Specifically, the former have been the 2017 tax cut and his substantial deregulation and holding off on new regulations. The horrid policies have been those on trade, immigration, and federal government spending. In this essay, I’ll discuss the very good indeed. Part Two, in a fortnight, will focus on the horrid. These are the opening paragrap.
EconLog 10/18/2019 12:24
Courtesy of a lovely little article in Lapham’s Quarterly titled ". " I have recently discovered the incredibly useful. developed in 1992 by the physicist John C. Baez as a way of computing precisely how nutty the nutty theories of various amateur mathematicians are. Mathematicians apparently have a particular need for this kind of rating system.
EconLog 10/17/2019 15:40
What’s the importance of truth in economics? Has the presidency of Donald Trump taught us anything in that respect? By “us”, I mean we libertarians who have been tempted by populist enterprises. The Economist writes (“,” October 10, 2019) that Trump’s advisers. are coping with a commander-in-chief who, according to his own former secretary of state, “is pretty undisciplined, doesn’t like to read, doesn’t read briefing reports, doesn’t like to get into the details of a lot of things, but rather just kind of says: ‘This is what I believe.’”This characterization corresponds to what an observer can gather from listening to the President or reading his tweets. And it is independent of what one may think of the substantial issues in the withdrawa.
EconLog 10/17/2019 15:30
In an otherwise of Donald Trump’s trade policy, Mercatus economist Veronique de Rugy writes:. Worst of all, the deal would actually reinforce these Chinese behaviors. For instance, the deal in question would require that China use its state-owned enterprises to buy $40 billion to $50 billion worth of American agricultural products annually—instead of the roughly $20 billion it bought previously. That’s no victory. That’s a concession China already agreed to more than two years ago. And that’s pursuing the very sort of top-down, government-directed policy Trump claimed he wanted to change in the first place. Unfortunately, thanks to a profound misunderstanding about the value of exports, the president may receive some praise for getting China.
EconLog 10/17/2019 10:28
As you might expect, didn’t like working at Wal-Mart. Why not? Low pay is a big part of the story, but it’s the demand for conformity that really rubs her the wrong way:. With competence comes a new impatience: Why does anybody put up with the wages we’re paid? True, most of my fellow workers are better cushioned than I am; they live with spouses or grown children or they have other jobs in addition to this one. I sit with Lynne in the break room one night and find out this is only a part-time job for her-six hours a day-with the other eight hours spent at a factory for $9 an hour. Doesn’t she get awfully tired? Nah, it’s what she’s always done. The cook at the Radio Grill has two other jobs. You might expect a bit of grumbling, some signs h.
EconLog 10/16/2019 18:43
Overall, I believe the EU has had a positive effect on Europe. Unfortunately, it has become too interventionist in some areas, especially when imposing regulations that are better left to national or local governments. At the same time, in many other areas it has not gone nearly far enough, especially in terms of creating a free trade zone in services. The UK is likely to leave the EU in the near future and that it may adopt a relationship that is roughly like the relationship between Canada and the US:. What really matters is that Mr Johnson is seeking a goods-only or “Canada minus” deal for the rest of the UK. This will involve only minimal coverage of services, they write. “It will also involve significant non-tariff barriers on trade”, b.
EconLog 10/16/2019 10:33
Imagine I offer you a coupon for “CHOCOLATE – 25% off!” and you respond…. You fail to consider that chocolate is fattening! Also, it can kill dogs. And it’s linked to acne. Furthermore, many people are diabetic. And lots of people are too poor to buy chocolate even if it’s 50% off. I also have to tell you that chocolate melts. Sometimes it makes your hands sticky. And when you’re hands are covered with melted chocolate, you might get ugly stains on your clothes. And dry cleaning costs money. I trust you’ll agree that this is a bizarre reaction to a chocolate coupon. Reasonable people will save their breath and do one of the following:. a. Take the coupon, buy as much chocolate as they originally planned, and enjoy the extra . b. Take the coup.
EconLog 10/14/2019 18:31
(Editor’s Note: Last week, Professor Munger told us a story about having seen a former student attempting to sell his notes for Munger’s final exam. Here is the second part of the story.). Given that, how should I have reacted to the Facebook post where the student tries to sell his/her notes? Remember, I myself give out the questions, so no harm there. And I suggest that students share the burden of preparing the answers. The only wrinkle would be whether there is something wrong with selling the notes. The simplest answer would be to accept the argument from the important book, Markets Without Limits (2015), by Jason Brennan and Peter Jaworski. They claim that if something is moral when you do it for free, that same thing cannot be immoral.
EconLog 10/14/2019 14:01
The title of this post describes some of the characteristics of a sound monetary regime. Does the same apply to foreign policy? During the first 4 decades of the 20th century, the US foreign policy lacked consistency. At times we intervened in European affairs, and at times we were isolationist. One can make good arguments for either approach, but the lack of consistency was likely destabilizing. We were interventionist enough to help defeat Germany in WWI, but not involved enough to set up a peaceful balance of power after the war. In 1990, the Bush administration told Saddam Hussein that his border dispute with Kuwait was . After the Iraqi invasion, we set out to free Kuwait and defeat the Iraqi war machine. I’m not sure what level of US
EconLog 10/14/2019 11:04
I finally read Barbara Ehrenreich’s , and was pleasantly surprised. Her runaway best-seller is what researchers call “radical ethnography”; to study low-skilled workers in America, Ehrenreich became a low-skilled worker in America. Ehrenreich mostly just walks us through her experiment: how she found work, where she lived, what the jobs were like, how she made ends meet. While there’s ideological commentary throughout, she’s less preachy than most of her competition. My favorite part, though, comes in the final chapter. Instead of simply complaining about low wages, Ehrenreich talks about the painful pairing of low pay with high housing costs:. Something is wrong, very wrong, when a single person in good health, a person who in addition poss.
EconLog 10/14/2019 07:00
Sometimes, one gets the impression that knowledge of economics has progressed. It can be guessed that proportionately fewer people than in the 17th century now think that trade wars are good (except within some backward governments). At other times, it seems that knowledge has not progressed much: take “price-gouging” laws, whose effects the California power blackouts illustrate again. In rich California, the preventive power blackouts created many shortages, in the proper sense of non-availability of goods at current, legal prices:. Within the Bay Area blackout zones, residents were rushing Tuesday to buy food, water and electric generators–almost as if a hurricane were approaching. Stores including Rite Aid and Target across Oakland had ru.
EconLog 10/13/2019 19:37
Who will build the roads? Every libertarian I know who has been one for 5 years or more has been asked this question. Our answer is typically that for-profit firms will build roads and that sometimes neighborhood associations will do so. What I hadn’t known is that Karl Marx’s buddy Friedrich Engels answered the question with empirical evidence over a century and a half ago. Here’s Engels:. The whole British Empire, and especially England, which, sixty years ago, had as bad roads as Germany or France then had, is now covered by a network of the finest roadways; and these, too, like almost everything else in England, are the work of private enterprise, the State having done very little in this direction. Before 1755 England possessed almost n.
EconLog 10/12/2019 16:55
Edward Luce has a very misleading piece in the . Here’s an excerpt:. Why do economists continue to get it so wrong? One answer is that not all of them do. David Blanchflower, who was on the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee during the 2008 crash, insists that evidence of an impending crash was hidden in plain view long before it happened. Blanchflower, whose book Not Working: Where Have all the Good Jobs Gone? is a stinging rebuke to his profession, was consistently outvoted eight to one on the MPC, which sets UK interest rates. Unlike his colleagues, who were using models based on a 1970s-style economy, Blanchflower went out and talked to people. He calls this “the economics of walking about”. His peers, meanwhile, were relying on.
EconLog 10/12/2019 13:30
Ayn Rand’s 1957 philosophical novel may not be a literary masterpiece or the last word in political theory, but it does hold some lessons. It tells the story of very productive and creative individuals who, harassed by politicians and bureaucrats, shrugged and retired in their own secret anarchic community. The rest of the world suffered. These days, more than one million Californians have suffered from preventive power cuts meant to prevent falling electric lines from starting wildfires. Some fires did break out anyway. In Venezuela and other centrally planned countries, power cuts are staged for other reasons. An editorial in the Wall Street Journal (“,” October 10, 2019) writes about PG&E, the main electric utility involved:. For years th.

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