John Tamny makes short work of yet another version of the "limits to growth" fallacy.
That would be us, the U.S.
On a real per capita basis (i.e., after adjusting for inflation and population growth), the net worth of the average person living in the U.S. has reached a new all-time high of $286K, up from $62K in 1950. This measure of wealth has been rising, on average, about 2.3% per year since records were first kept beginning in 1951. By this metric, life in the U.S. has been getting better and better for generations.
"Medicare and Social Security already account for roughly two-fifths of all federal outlays, and they will account for a growing share of the federal budget over the coming decade. Medicare, Social Security, and net interest payments on the debt will account for roughly 55 percent of federal outlays by 2027, an increase over their already significant share of 45 percent last year."
Hey, Federal Trade Commission: when you blocked the Staples-Office Depot merger years ago, did you anticipate a time when they'd both be getting their lunch eaten by Amazon?
John Cochrane comments on Russ Roberts's recent article "What do economists know?" Cochrane's answer is a bit too simple, perhaps, but it'll do: "In sum, I think economics provides an excellent set of bullshit detectors."
I don't know about "best," but the Republican Congress sure should pursue it. Other than a few extreme environmentalists and a few government employees--and a few businessmen who would worry about competing with whatever will be produced with the freed up resources--who would seriously oppose it?
Using 2016 average prices, they estimate the value of the federal government’s oil and natural gas deposits at about $55.6 trillion, or nearly 2.8 times the size of the U.S. national debt.
Aside from a nicely-made main point, this piece has a fun fact. (Fun for me, at least.) I went to junior high and high school in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Then, or shortly after, people made jokes about Florida being "God's waiting room".
But in 2014 what was the "most common job" in Florida? Elementary school teacher.
UPDATE: Link included now. Sorry.
George Will summarizes recent research by John DiIulio, Jr. (Penn, Brookings) that convincingly rebuts a point I read a Liberal make: How dare conservatives talk about big government when the federal government's headcount has barely increased since 1960? Answer.
The U.S., China, Japan, Germany, the U.K., and a bunch of also-rans.
Fine piece by economist Tim Harford. If I were still teaching MBAs I'd assign it to them. Has several interesting nuggets including these three:
Now there are 60-odd million in the world, nearly one for every 100 people - not bad for a humble bookcase. . . .
Every three seconds, another Billy bookcase rolls off the production line of the Gyllensvaans Mobler factory in Kattilstorp, a tiny village in southern Sweden. . . .
It does not look like it has changed much since 1978, yet it costs 30% less. That is partly due to constant, tiny tweaks in both product and production method.
UPDATE: Link included now.