Archive for the ‘Economics’ Category

McGreed

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

I like McCain and I think he’s much better than his critics give him credit for, but this isn’t very reassuring:

Sen. John McCain this morning said “greedy” Wall Street investors are partly to blame for what he said is probably an economic recession the nation is now suffering.

“There has to be a modification of the greedy behavior of some of these people,” he said, using the word “greedy” repeatedly in remarks to the Associated Press annual meeting at the Washington Convention Center today.

I realize that McCain is only mirroring public sentiment on this issue, but I wish he’d show a little more leadership.

Sensibility Killed the Penn

Tuesday, April 8th, 2008

George F. Will on Mark Penn’s downfall:

Mark Penn’s sin was to be caught doing something sensible, surreptitiously. That is the only way Democrats can do sensible things regarding trade when their party is pandering to organized labor. Penn’s downfall makes him a member of a species that many Democrats insist is large and about which Democrats theatrically grieve: Penn is a casualty of free trade.

The Democrats are veering more and more toward protectionism. Bill Clinton was an aberration, but Hillary clearly isn’t. Hopefully the Republicans will stand strong on this issue.

GOP Big Government

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008

For once, Michelle Malkin is right. I don’t agree with all the particulars, but she is largely correct in this column. She concludes with (rhetorical?) questions:

As we head toward Super Tuesday, the subprime mess and the economy will dominate — and the Do Something Democrat candidates will turn their spigot of overextended homeowner sob stories on full blast. Do Republicans want a clear alternative to liberal-nomics? Or will you settle for a lip-service conservative who will reward fiscal recklessness with only slightly less government intervention than the Dems?

Unfortunately, I suspect most want the latter.

Protectionism on the Rise?

Wednesday, November 21st, 2007

It seems support for free trade is on the decline:

As the 2008 presidential election approaches, anti-trade sentiment is percolating across America. It is particularly strong in places like Ohio, where foreign competition has decimated jobs. The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll conducted earlier this month found that 60% of voters nationwide agreed with the statement that “foreign trade has been bad for the U.S. economy.”

This is bad news for free traders and, I would argue, our country in general. Free trade has allowed Americans to acquire more goods and services at prices lower than would otherwise be imaginable. Personal choices have been maximized, which means more liberty. Any economist worth his salt will tell you that free trade is good for everybody, yet somehow many Americans don’t get it.

Bryan Caplan argues in The Myth of the Rational Voter that people have built in biases against things foreign – foreign made goods and immigrants. That is certainly a partial explanation.

Another reason is simple resistance to change. “Made in America” is becoming a thing of the past. Factories have closed down as companies have outsourced to India. In many ways this is progress, but progress has costs. Technology is advancing more rapidly than at any other time in human history. But some voters haven’t benefited much from this, don’t want to pay for progress.

We are already seeing the effects of this anti-free trade sentiment. More and more Democrats are embracing protectionism. But it’s not just the left that’s responding. Republican candidates Duncan Hunter, Ron Paul, and Tom Tancredo are also openly protectionist (not to mention anti-immigration).

Unfortunately, with 60% of American supporting protectionist policies, we will likely continue to see it being embraced by our political leaders.

UPDATE: This post is taking part in the Beltway Traffic Jam.

Quote of the Day

Saturday, September 15th, 2007

Music City Oracle:

That reminds me of a response I once heard to someone asking what an economist was. “An economist,” it was helpfully explained, “is like an accountant, without the personality.”

Wolfowitz and the World Bank

Tuesday, May 1st, 2007

I haven’t really followed this very much, mainly because World Bank affairs are about as interesting as reading a phone book, but it seems Paul Wolfowitz has found himself in the middle of a Clintonesque scandal. I’m not sure if Wolfowitz was qualified in the first place to lead the body (mainly because I don’t care enough to find out).

Some are calling on him to resign. Wolfowitz calls it a smear campaign. I don’t doubt that there’s some truth to that, but when one promotes one’s girlfriend and gives her raises for no other reason that she is your girlfriend, I think you cede the moral high ground.

Williams On Target (As Usual)

Wednesday, April 18th, 2007

Dr. Walter E. Williams authors a history and economics lesson in one.

Talking Taxes

Tuesday, April 10th, 2007

Bruce Bartlett tackles some tax myths:

– Contrary to popular belief, the vast bulk of federal taxes are paid by the wealthy. According to the JCT, in 2006, 53.7 percent of all federal income taxes were paid by those with incomes over $200,000. Those with incomes between $100,000 and $200,000 paid 28.3 percent of all individual income taxes. Thus those with incomes over $100,000 paid 82 percent of the total. They also paid 44.4 percent of all payroll taxes.

– Those with incomes below $40,000 paid no federal income taxes at all in the aggregate; the positive liability for those who paid anything was more than offset by tax rebates from the Earned Income Tax Credit for many more who paid nothing. In total, the EITC put $41 billion into the pockets of low-income workers in 2005, 91 percent of it being paid to those with no income tax liability. However, according to the Tax Foundation, three-fifths of Americans believe that it is wrong for anyone to pay no taxes at all, that everyone should pay something to finance the government.

Read it all.

In Defense of Capitalism

Tuesday, March 6th, 2007

It’s good to see that conservatism is still alive at the Daily Beacon, the student newspaper I wrote columns for during my undergrad days at the University of Tennessee:

Capitalism is the economic system in which hard work is rewarded. It’s the system in which property rights protect the fruits of man’s labor, and it’s the system in which citizens are not expected to pay the price for the foolish choices and mistakes of others. I can think of no system that is more fair or just.

Why do we structure our society in this way? It encourages individuals to contribute to society by ensuring them of their rewards. It encourages production and prosperity. Without rewards (or profits) individuals have no incentive to contribute to society — a recipe for disaster in any society.

Basic Economics Make Headlines

Monday, February 12th, 2007

The minimum wage hike in Arizona is not having the intended impact:

Some Valley employers, especially those in the food industry, say payroll budgets have risen so much that they’re cutting hours, instituting hiring freezes and laying off employees. advertisement

And teens are among the first workers to go.

And now our leaders want to replicate this success for the entire country.