The trend over the past century has been ever-larger government. Like a snowball rolling downhill, small at first but growing larger and larger. I think some people don’t fully grasp how large government has become. Certainly most people from a century ago would find it difficult to comprehend the size and reach of government today. … Continue reading History of growth in government spending
Some people denounce stock buybacks. They’re a scam! They’re destroying the economy! They only benefit the rich! Are stock buybacks bad for the economy? Let’s take a look. Definition A stock buyback is when a company buys back shares of its own stock. This reduces the total number of shares held by the investing public. … Continue reading Are stock buybacks bad for the economy?
This is a transcript of my conversation with young Sally Socialist. Me: “Thanks for meeting me.” Sally: “No problem.” Me: “Socialism seems to be getting more popular, so I thought it might be interesting to talk with a socialist.” Sally: “I don’t know if I’m really a socialist. I just want everyone to be treated … Continue reading Conversation with a young socialist
An old argument has popped up again, mainly due to publicity from Bernie Sanders. The argument goes like this. Anti-poverty assistance given by government to low-wage employees is actually a subsidy to the employer, not the employee. That’s because government assistance allows businesses to pay lower wages. Is the argument true? Let’s take a look. … Continue reading Does government safety net subsidize businesses?
Mike Munger at the American Institute for Economic Research published a thought-provoking article last week. He says we too often discuss the world as if we have only a binary choice of (a) for-profit free markets or (b) government. I’m as guilty of that as anyone. Munger’s point is that we have other ways to organize … Continue reading Anything voluntary
It appears to be conventional wisdom that US manufacturing has shrunk in recent decades. “We don’t make anything anymore!” Is it true? Let’s take a look. Manufacturing workers First, let’s look at the number of workers employed in manufacturing. The graph below shows data from 1947 to July 2018. The blue line is the number … Continue reading Is US manufacturing shrinking?
It seems like more discussions these days are framed in terms of group identity based on race, gender, etc. For example, some colleges are banning or downplaying Shakespeare because he belonged to a disliked group: the white European male. Respect for individualism seems to be shrinking, while respect for collectivism seems to be growing. This … Continue reading Individualism vs Collectivism
Medicare For All has been a hot topic lately. Pseudo-socialists Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have said the US should implement it. On the other hand, you may have seen headlines saying Medicare For All will cost an eye-popping $32.6 trillion. This triggered the usual verbal volleys. One side says, “No way can we afford … Continue reading Will Medicare For All save money?
Some people worry that minimum wage in the US has not kept up with inflation. They usually say that minimum wage should be $10 to $15 per hour instead of the $7.25 it actually is. For example, the Economic Policy Institute dolefully says, “[m]inimum wage increases have been too infrequent to keep up with inflation, … Continue reading Has minimum wage kept up with inflation?
Earlier this year, a Wall Street Journal article described how insurance companies appear to be gaming the Medicare system to get more money from the federal government. Insurers allegedly shuffle customers between Medicare plans in a way that increases the bonus payments they receive from Medicare. Background The Medicare bonus system in question was created by … Continue reading Insurers gaming Medicare?