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Economics

April 23, 2014

Your humble blogger stands accused . . .

. . . of being one of several people having "ulterior motives" and promulgating "stealth anti-Keynesian propaganda" by Paul Krugman. (My post from last week is here.)

I consider the accusation a badge of honor. 

(And allow me to delete "stealth" and substitute "explicit". As usual on the Left, Krugman's argument for a "pure gain" from employing unemployed resources completely ignores the lessons of Public Choice. Which, needless to say, the last five years have provided ample reminders of.)

Link courtesy of Jim Rose.

"The Market For Common Sense"

Conservative economists believe that markets usually work really well, but Richard Fernandez makes a good case for there being some imperfections in the market for "common sense"

April 22, 2014

Obvious to some of us, part 1

"Majority of Pensions Headed for Bankruptcy".

Investment returns may be up since the recession, but public pensions are still in deep, deep trouble. On Wednesday, the hedge fund Bridgewater Associates released the results of a “stress test” on American public pension plans, and they weren’t pretty. According to the report, 85 percent of all plans are on track to go bankrupt within 30 years unless their average rate of return increases to 9 percent.

Obvious to some of us, part 2

"U.S. policy has gone liberals’ way for 70 years".

In response, conservatives make two simple claims: Most policies under debate are liberal, and Republican leaders sacrifice conservative principles when they compromise. History shows they are right on both counts.

Jagdish Bhagwati on a crucial difference between India and China

Interesting;

Once there was an idea, now mostly forgotten, that the “tortoise” India could eventually overtake the “hare” – China. “That’s an exaggeration, I think,” he says. A crucial difference between the two countries is the type of corruption they have. India’s is classic “rent-seeking”, where people jostle to grab a cut of existing wealth. “The Chinese have what I call profit-sharing corruption”: the Communist party puts a straw into the milkshake so “they have an interest in having the milkshake grow larger”.

"Ten Welfare-Reform Lessons"

Robert Doar argues that significant welfare reform is possible.

From early 2007 until the end of 2013, I was the commissioner of the New York City Human Resources Administration (HRA), the agency with the 1960s-era name that occupies 180 Water Street. And before 2007, going back to early 1996, I worked at, and for a time led, the state agency that was responsible for overseeing many of the government-assistance programs administered by the city. But while my perspective is that of an insider, the facts speak for themselves: From 1995 until the end of 2013, New York City’s cash-welfare caseload shrunk from almost 1.1 million recipients to less than 347,000 — a drop of more than 700,000 men, women, and children.

April 21, 2014

"ACA Threatens Promise of Concierge Medicine"

Even if the ACA covered everybody, cheaply and efficiently, the complaints wouldn't stop because health care would still be plenty unequal. Look for further attempts to quash concierge medicine

(As Glenn Reynolds comments on the that article, "Of course it does. All workable alternatives must be destroyed." And I'd expect even attempts to undermine or surpress patient power to address their own problems.)

This despite the promise concierge medicine has in fixing doctors' increasing dissatisfaction with their jobs

"The ultimate campaign finance reform is smaller government"

Yesssss! Absolutely! James Pethokoukis:

If you are genuinely worried about the influence of Big Money on Big Government, the free-enterprise solution is to shrink the influence of Big Government. A government able to pick winners and losers through regulation, spending, or the tax code is a government worth influencing, whether through campaign donations or lobbying activities. Numerous studies and analyses have calculated a massive “return on investment” from lobbying. For instance: a 2013 Boston Globe series found that by forking over a mere $2 million over two years to Washington lobbyists, Whirlpool secured the renewal of an energy tax credit worth a combined $120 million over two years.

"President Obama (And Others) Who Don't 'Get' Liberty Should Read This Book"

I haven't read it yet, but George Leef makes it sound very worthwhile:

In early America, people spoke about liberty a great deal. Patrick Henry famously declared, “Give me liberty or give me death.” The preamble to the Constitution  speaks to the importance of securing “the blessings of liberty.”

These days, however, we hear or read the word much less often. It doesn’t seem to be in President Obama’s vocabulary at all. He has declared that inequality is the greatest problem we face, but can anyone remember his ever talking about the importance of liberty?

But while the president and all his minions toil away to subject us to an ever-increasing burden of mandates, prohibitions, and taxes, a few individuals are trying to convince people that we have already lost a great deal of liberty and should strive to get it back.

One of them is Tom Palmer of the Atlas Economic Research Foundation. Palmer has written and edited quite a few books, most recently Why Liberty: Your Life, Your Choices, Your Future.

George Will comments on another, related books that sounds worth reading: "Progressives are wrong about the essence of the Constitution".

And a current application of the argument: "In D.C., Republicans are the enablers, Democrats the mandators". (See also "Cataloging Washington’s Hidden Costs: Part 1: The Loss of Liberty".)

April 20, 2014

"It Is Staggering How Much Australia's Mining Boom Has Changed Perth And Its People"

No surprise to conservative economists, but it sounds like the changes have been mostly good. 

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