Economics

"What Bernie Sanders misses about the rise in campaign cash"

John Lott explains.

The truth is that government expenditures and campaign expenditures have increased in tandem. Total campaign spending soared from $1.6 billion in 1998 to $3.77 billion in 2014. Federal government spending rose at virtually the same rate, going from $1.65 trillion to $3.9 trillion.

With more at stake, it makes sense for there to be an even bigger fight over who controls the federal government. If federal spending still amounted to 2 percent to 3 percent of GDP — as it did a century ago — people likely wouldn’t care as passionately about the outcome of most elections.


"Education, Inequality, and Incentives"

Entertaining and informative (about 1 hour video of a talk + about 20 minutes of Q & A).

The F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics welcomed Roland G. Fryer, Jr., the Henry Lee Professor of Economics and faculty director of the Education Innovation Laboratory at Harvard University , for the inaugural Buchanan Speaker Series event on “Education, Inequality, and Incentives.” Professor Fryer discussed his research on education reform and his efforts to find and test practical solutions to the educational achievement gap in the United States.

More from Professor Fryer: "Roland Fryer On Why Good Schools Matter".

More about the impressive Mr. Fryer: "Toward a Unified Theory of Black America" and "Lunch with the FT: Roland Fryer".

 


"25 Million New Jobs Coming to America, Thanks to Technology"

As always with forecasts, the proper qualification is "maybe". But Richard Cohen, "a senior fellow at the Economic Strategy Institute," predicts

. . . that as a new “virtualized infrastructure” gets built out over the next 15 years, as many as 25 million jobs will be created. He acknowledges that automation is certain to wipe out a bunch of positions, but he estimates that the net gain will still be around 15 million.


"The Goldberg File, 1/15/16"

Jonah absolutely nails it:

I definitely think the system is designed in a way that benefits rich people (that’s a significant theme of the book I’m working on), but that has not much to do with the preferred policies of a bunch of  mustache-twirling fat cats. Indeed, the whole notion that rich people are ideologically homogenous is little more than the grimy, greasy, stain left behind from Marxism’s departure down the toilet bowl of history. There are rich people -- and some big corporations -- that are for limited government and there are rich people -- and far too many big corporations -- that want to expand the role of government.

My very short, partial, explanation for why the system seems rigged for the benefit of rich people has to do with the fact that complexity is a subsidy. The more rules and regulations the government creates, the more it creates a society where people with resources -- good educations, good lawyers, good lobbyists, and good connections -- can rise while those without such resources are left to climb hurdles on their own.

Divvying up goods via the market has its problems, no doubt. But avoiding the market has more. At least when the market is the primary allocator, people without money to compete can try to get more money by 1) working, 2) getting help from family and friends, and 3) asking for loans or charity. Political influence is much more difficult to get.