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Tag Archives: Taxes/regulation

CRS: Social Security: What Would Happen If the Trust Funds Ran Out?

(Dan here…reposted due to discussion in a previous thread) CRS: Social Security: What Would Happen If the Trust Funds Ran Out? Bruce Webb | July 21, 2015 Very interesting paper that I missed in real time. Social Security: What Would Happen If the Trust Funds Ran Out? Almost everyone who addresses this question assumes that the answer is pretty simple: if either of the Social Security Trust Funds goes to zero than benefits will automatically drop from...

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Dan Shaviro (NYU) and Tim Smeeding (WISC) on NPR’s Detroit Today Show

Dan Shaviro (NYU) and Tim Smeeding (WISC) on NPR’s Detroit Today Show For those of you who may not have the opportunity to tune into Stephen Henderson’s radio program Detroit Today on NPR, it might be useful to have a short summary of the January 9 discussion of the “wealth gap” from that program. Background Tax lawyers have traditionally talked of the “tax gap”1  and frequently mentioned the growing “income gap” between the top 1% of the income...

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Small Town Support for Trump and “The Working Class”

Small Town Support for Trump and “The Working Class” Much has been written about voters, sometimes labeled the “white working class”, who live in small towns, have low incomes and supported Trump in 2016.  There are various hypotheses—not, despite the rhetoric, mutually exclusive—that have been proposed to explain this: never-ending latent racism galvanized by the experience of having a black president, a vote of despair in the face of economic decline,...

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The chart of the decade

The chart of the decade Today doesn’t just mark the end of 2019, but the end of the 2010’s as well. So it’s only suitable that I post the one chart that I think most explains the economy over the past 10 years. In terms of public policy, that chart would be of the continual explosion of income and wealth inequality, particularly at the very top 0.1% or 0.01% of the distribution. But in terms of explaining why the economy has chugged along at roughly 2%...

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Thiessen Balances His Policy Defense Of Trump

Thiessen Balances His Policy Defense Of Trump Several days ago I posted on Marc A. Thiessen’s defense of 10 policies by Trump in WaPo.  I must now credit him with today on New Year’s Eve in the same venue publishing a column “The 10 worst things Trump did in 2019.”  Good for him, some balance after all.  I agree these are all bad things, although I disagree with some of his analysis of them, with a few caveats especially on a couple of the foreign...

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A response to Kevin Drum: for wages and inflation, it’s all about the price of gas

A response to Kevin Drum: for wages and inflation, it’s all about the price of gas Last week Kevin Drum had the following inquiry: [H]ow is it that wages can go up but overall inflation remains so subdued? That seems to be the real disconnect here. During the dotcom boom, wages went up but inflation remained around 3 percent. During the housing bubble, wages didn’t go up and inflation remained around 3-4 percent. Right now, wages are going up but...

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The Unreasonableness Of The Policy Defense Of Trump

The Unreasonableness Of The Policy Defense Of Trump In today’s (12/27/19) Washington Post, regular Trump defender, Mark A. Thiessen published a column, “The 10 best things Trump did in 2019”  This turns out to be mostly things either not worth defending or Thiessen, who simply never criticizes Trump, misrepresenting situations.  Here they are. 10. “He continued to deliver for the forgotten Americans.”  This amounts to unemployment continuing to decline,...

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Trump Brags About Record Defense Spending

Trump Brags About Record Defense Spending Niv Elis covers the latest in the Trump fiscal fiasco: President Trump on Friday signed two spending packages totaling $1.4 trillion, averting a government shutdown at midnight. The bills included all 12 annual appropriations bills for the 2020 fiscal year that started Oct. 1. They also included a slew of tax cuts, extending expiring and expired tax breaks and eliminating other taxes that amount to an additional...

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Review: Secondhand

by David Zetland (originally published at One-handed Economist) Review: Secondhand I read this 2019 book at record speed due to its breezy (“magazine”) tone and discussion of one of my favorite passions: reusing old stuff. A few years ago Adam Minter wrote Junkyard Planet about the trash trade, but many readers told him about how they reused stuff rather than about their trash. Their passion led to this book (subtitle: Travels in the New Global Garage...

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The endowment effect and the taxation of wealth

The endowment effect and the taxation of wealth As you may recall, I am reading the histories of a number of past Republics which have had various levels of success. Without getting too far ahead of myself, it appears that one constant is that, once plutocratic oligarchies are entrenched, they will refuse to yield power or money, even to the point of destroying democratic or republican institutions.  In other words, David Frum‘s observation that “If...

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