Economics

"Pensions Are a Big Old Slow-Moving Disaster"

Fine, concise discussion until the conclusion: "We need a well-funded Social Security program for everyone who needs it (and not those who don’t need it because they are wealthy)." News flash: Social Security is run by the same types of folks, facing the same lousy incentives, as the ones badly running many state and local pension plans.

(And let's not mention that Social Security has been sold, lo these many years, to the American public as a social insurance program, not a transfer program.)

Related: "CalPERS’ unfunded liabilities grow as investment earnings lag".

You can smear lipstick on a pig, but that doesn’t change its innate porcinity.

Officials of the California Public Employees Retirement System, the nation’s largest pension trust fund, tried Monday to cast its very anemic investment earnings – well under 1 percent – in a positive light.


"We've been blaming America's 'new housing crisis' on the wrong thing all along"

What's the "right" thing? Take a guess. Go ahead, guess.

The unresponsiveness of housing supply to demand and price changes is blamed in part on restrictive zoning laws.

Economists measure this responsiveness as elasticity; in markets with higher elasticity, homebuilding responds to higher demand and prices at a relatively faster pace compared with places that are more inelastic.

A Trulia study published on Tuesday found that while zoning laws are a real burden for homebuilders, the bigger culprit is local government bureaucracy, measured by building-approval delays.


"I’ll need how much money for retirement?"

AEI's Andrew G. Biggs argues that rather than saving too little, as many media reports claim, many Americans may be saving too much.

But saving too much for retirement isn’t like having too healthy a diet or being too nice to other people. It comes with real downsides, the biggest of which is a lower standard of living during your working years. Already, many more retirees tell Gallup they have enough money to live comfortably than do working-age households. That’s not a sign of undersaving.

He extends the argument here: "Why Retirees Aren't Running Out Of Money".


"Does the U.S. Economy Lack Competition, And If So What To Do About It? "

Transcript of a remarkable recent speech by FTC Commissioner Maureen K. Ohlhausen.

It's remarkable for three reasons: 1) she's a Democratic--Obama--appointee, but 2) she briefly but quite deftly demolishes the recent revival by the CEA, Stiglitz, Krugman, et al. of IO doctrine that was reftued forty years ago, and 3) she vigorously supports an excellent idea for dealing with the monopolization--such as it is--that exists.