I won't have a regular post this week or next due to the holidays. To those who celebrate, I hope you had a Merry Christmas. Happy New Year! I also wanted to make an offer to all readers. If you have a particular topic you'd like to see me cover, feel free to let me … Continue reading Requests?
Different people have different ideas of what the economy is like. Some people view the economy as a mysterious entity that just sort of automatically works. They think the economy will achieve prosperity almost regardless of incentives or burdens. Let’s call this the Inevitable Economy. Others view the economy as a machine that needs managed … Continue reading The economy is like a dog
I often talk about the eternal struggle between liberty and control. In today’s world, that mostly means liberty of the individual versus the control of Big Government. Liberty advocates and Big Government advocates agree quite a bit on the economic results they wish to see. Both sides want broad prosperity, good-paying jobs, and an improved … Continue reading First things first
Over the past fifty years, Republican politicians generally supported free trade while Democrat politicians generally opposed it. Not always, but generally. Then along came Trump, who repeatedly voiced his displeasure with free trade. Some Republican politicians have followed him into opposing free trade. As for Democrats, they usually support with vigor whatever Trump opposes, but … Continue reading Why defend free trade?
The Washington Post recently published an article by Steven Pearlstein titled “Five Myths About Capitalism.” This is a rebuttal of the issues raised in that article. Myth 1: Greed makes markets work Pearlstein: According to Pearlstein, capitalists believe capitalism runs on greed. As evidence of this he cites Adam Smith’s ‘invisible hand’ and Gordon Gekko from … Continue reading Rebutting “Five Myths About Capitalism”
In mid-2017 I looked at whether unemployment had dropped to normal levels after the ‘Great Recession’ of 2008-2009. The conclusion was that unemployment had substantially improved since the recession but wasn’t as good as pre-recession levels. Where do we stand in late 2018? Let’s take a look. Definition of unemployment The Bureau of Labor Statistics … Continue reading Has employment fully recovered from the Great Recession?
It’s a fairly common complaint that middle-class incomes have stagnated, or that the average worker is paid no better than in 1975 or 1980. How true is this? Let’s take a look. Hourly wage rate Let’s first look at the average hourly wage rate that gets a lot of press. The graph below shows average … Continue reading Are middle-class incomes stagnant?
Some people say Social Security is going broke. Others insist it’s not. Which view is right? Let’s look at some facts. Social Security explained First, let’s be sure we’re on the same page regarding the basic workings of Social Security. The primary cash inflow to Social Security is a 12.4% tax on workers, half paid … Continue reading Is Social Security Going Broke?
My last couple posts have shown how much US government spending has mushroomed over the past century and in which categories. In this post we’ll look at federal budget deficits. History of budget deficits The graph below shows federal budget deficits and surpluses from 1955 to 2018. These are inflation-adjusted 2009 dollars from OMB. A … Continue reading What causes budget deficits, and how can we solve them?
Last week’s post discussed the large increase in US government spending over the past century. This week, we’ll look at what the federal government spends our money on, and how it’s changed over time. 2017 spending breakdown First, let’s look at a breakdown of the $4.0 trillion of 2017 federal spending. The data in the graph … Continue reading What government spends our money on, and how it’s changed