As Washington Fiddles over the Fiscal Cliff, the Real Battle Over Inequality Is Happening in the Heartland

Washington has a way of focusing the nation’s attention on tactical games over partisan maneuvers that are symptoms of a few really big problems. But we almost never get to debate or even discuss the big problems because the tactical games overwhelm everything else. The debate over the fiscal cliff, for example, is really about […]

Social Security and the National Debt

In this season of fiscal brinksmanship, the topic of Social Security has once again come to the fore. Republicans are generally in favor of cutting benefits, although they are bit afraid to say so after the demise of George W. Bush’s privatization “plan”; Democrats are generally in favor of not cutting benefits. But many liberals […]

It’s Jobs, Stupid!

The World Bank has been tracking the world’s progress against poverty since the late eighties, but the release of 2008 data was the first time in which all regions of the developing world showed a decline in the number of people living below poverty lines! Furthermore, that phenomenon was seen in the vast majority of […]

More on the “Entitlements” Debate

Last week I predicted that after the election Washington would return to deficit hysteria, and especially toward Pete Peterson’s well-financed attempt to gut our social safety net. You see, he doesn’t believe that Wall Street should have any competition. Americans should have no alternative to Blackstone Group and Goldman Sachs when it comes to retirement and […]

The Employment and GDP Relationship

The latest GDP release gives me the opportunity to re-evaluate whether job creation is less than what would be expected, given the growth in real GDP. At first glance, it seems obvious that growth in employment is less than expected. A simple OLS regression of log private employment on log real GDP over the 1987Q1-2012Q3, […]

Target Household Income

Scott Sumner recently came up with a new proposal for the Fed: I’m going to propose a compromise between the current policy of $40 billion bond purchases each month, and a radical policy of immediately targeting the forecast.  Have the Fed start QE3 at $40 billion per month, and then increase their purchases at a rate of 20% each […]

Why Taxes Should Pay for Health Care

William Baumol and some co-authors recently published a new book on what is widely known as “Baumol’s cost disease.” This is something that Simon wanted to include in White House Burning, but I couldn’t find a good way to fit it in (and it would have gone in one of the chapter’s I was writing), so I it […]