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
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
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?
I want to tie together two recent posts on the history of prosperity and economic inequality. The history of prosperity illustrates another reason why a focus on inequality is misguided. Historical norm was poverty For most of human history, almost everyone was poor by today’s standards. The graph below shows the percentage of world population living … Continue reading Another reason why focusing on inequality is flawed
Last month, the UK government published the outline of a plan intended to address childhood obesity, as discussed in this CapX article by Christopher Snowdon. A summary of the actual proposal can be found here. Looks like another example of nanny-state government. What’s being proposed? Here is a summary of actual and proposed government actions: Sugar reduction: … Continue reading Growing nanny-state food control
(This column is an edited repeat of one posted a year ago. I am reposting it because I have many new readers, and because this topic is important enough to repeat.) We have become tremendously more prosperous over the past two centuries, at least those who live in countries that have practiced free-market capitalism for … Continue reading History of prosperity (2 of 2)
(This column is an edited repeat of one posted a year ago. I am reposting it because I have many new readers, and because this topic is important enough to repeat. This post will look at incomes and the next one will look at products.) I think one reason some people don’t appreciate free-market capitalism … Continue reading The history of prosperity (1 of 2)