Economics

"CA to legislature: Hey, we 'deeply regret' that $1.9 billion miss on entitlement spending"

Oops.

Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration miscalculated costs for the state Medi-Cal program by $1.9 billion last year, an oversight that contributed to Brown’s projection of a deficit in the upcoming budget, officials acknowledged this week.

The administration discovered accounting mistakes last fall, but it did not notify lawmakers until the administration included adjustments to make up for the errors in Brown’s budget proposal last week.


"Trump’s Presidency Is Already Making Republicans Love Big Government More"

This could be really unfortunate.

With Republicans in control of the legislative and executive branches for the first time in more than a decade, skepticism about the federal government among conservative leaders is melting away. Those who have for years defined themselves politically as the only ones resisting the growth of a powerful and coercive administrative state are now, it seems, okay with it. To quote Boromir, this ring is a gift. Why not use it?


"Report: Chicago's Pension Woes Worse Than Detroit's"

You just know that that's got to be pretty bad.

Related: "It’s Happening".

Illinois is gradually bleeding out through ever deeper wounds inflicted by its own government. The most common question I get here is when it all blows up, but I doubt there will be any explosive event.

It’s not just happening, it’s worsening. The most recent news marks a death spiral in full swing. Population is shrinking, the tax base is eroding and the state’s revenue is declining, all while the underlying causes remain unaddressed and debt soars for the state and most of its municipalities.

And more: "Blue States Have Bigger Pension Debts Than Red States".

There's maybe some good news for California's pension problems: "Calif. Court’s Second Rejection of Pension Vested Rights May Help State Avoid Financial Disaster".

But there's also not-so-good news for some San Jose retirees: "California city overpays pensions for years, asks retirees for money back".

Also on California: "California's budget deficit is back, Gov. Jerry Brown says".

Less than four years after declaring California’s budget balanced for the foreseeable future, Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday said the state is projected to run a $1.6-billion deficit by next summer . . .

Everybody sing along with Sonny and Cher: "The Beat Goes On".


"An Introduction to Empirical Microeconomics"

Free--short--Principles text by Mathew Kahn, who has left UCLA for the University of Spoiled Children, that has an unusual approach:

. . . I still see an open niche here for a challenging e-book. Unlike other Principles books, this book will be “data driven”. I will present you with an empirical economics puzzle such as “why do men earn 22% more per hour than women”? I will then walk the reader through possible economic explanations for the fact but then we will go a step further. Often there will be several possible explanations for a given set of facts. I will challenge you to work with me to devise a new experiment for figuring out which explanation is right. In this sense, we will start with a set of facts.We will use economic logic to sketch out the set of possible explanations. We will then, because we are scientists, devise a new experiment for settling which of the explanations is right. The new experiment will generate new facts and the “correct theory” should both be able to explain the first fact and the new fact while the incorrect theories can explain the first fact but not the later facts.