The Democrat’s Version of Health Insurance Would Have Been Cheaper, Simpler, and More Popular (So Why Did We Enact the Republican Version and Why Are They So Upset?)

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor says Republicans will seek to delay a requirement of the 2010 Affordable Care Act that all Americans obtain health insurance or face a tax penalty. ”With so many unanswered questions and the problems arising around this rollout, it doesn’t make any sense to impose this one percent mandate tax on the […]

The Urbanization Fallacy

The latest default bull argument supporting higher levels of growth in China than I believe possible is the urbanization argument. Beijing is planning another major urbanization push, and according to this argument China can resolve the problem of wasted investment by investing in the urbanization process, that is it can engage in a massive investment […]

Memo to Employers: Stop Wasting Your Employees’ Money

Now that I’m a law professor, people expect me to write law review articles. There are some problems with the genre—not least its absurd citation formatting system and all the fetishism surrounding it—but it’s not a bad way to make arguments about how and why the law should change in ways that might actually help people. That […]

Gee Whiz, Incentives Matter

Back in the heady days of the financial crisis, I used to recommend Planet Money as a good way for non-specialists to learn about some of the basic economic and financial issues involved. Over the years, I’ve become less thrilled with the show, for reasons that will become obvious below. In particular, whenever Ira Glass dedicates a full This […]

Bizarre New York Times Article on Lousy Finances of the Young Gives Undue Prominence to Housing as an Investment

It may seem churlish to hector the New York Times for turning its attention to the sorry financial prospects of the young. But this sort of attention would be more useful if it shed more light, rather than wistfully evoking standards from the old normal. The article last week, Younger Generations Lag Parents in Wealth-Building, points […]

The Dorian Gray Pill

On Friday I attended the U.S. Monetary Policy Forum in New York City. I will be posting some material about the paper I presented at the conference later this week. But today I wanted to mention an interesting talk at the conference by Harvard Professor Greg Mankiw on health care costs. If we could figure out a […]

Minimum Wage and Unemployment

With the recent proposal to raise the minimum wage, I noticed that California currently has one of the highest minimum wages ($8.00/hour) and one of the highest unemployment rates (9.8%) in the country. Minimum wage (in dollars per hour) by state as of Jan 1, 2013. Data source: National Conference of State Legislatures. However, this does […]

SOCIAL SECURITY’S UNFUNDED ENTITLEMENTS: MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, OR LITTLE TO DO ABOUT SOMETHING?

(See the two notes at the bottom.) Back in January 2005, when President Bush was ramping up his attack on Social Security, Peter Wehner, a White House political strategist, wrote in a memorandum to conservative groups: “We need to establish in the public mind a key fiscal fact: right now we are on an unsustainable […]

IRS Anticipates Cheapest ObamaCare Family Plan Will be $20,000 in 2016

Aiee! CNS News found this tidbit (hat tip furzy mouse), contained in IRS final regulations published on January 31. Now admittedly these are examples for the purposes of illustrating how to make various calculations under the new regulations, but the assumptions are pretty clear. The cheapest type of plan in ObamaCare is a bronze plan, and bronze […]

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