Wednesday , October 18 2017
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Thoughts on the UMich Immigration Debate

Thoughts on my latest debate:1. Hans von Spakovsky was the most lawyerly opponent I've ever debated.  His first (and second) approach to almost any issue was simply to describe the law.  In most cases, he didn't even defend its wisdom or justice.  Instead, he simply exhorted people to obey the law or convince Congress to change it.2. Still, after a great deal of legal description, von Spakovsky finally shared...

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Again on the Catalonian secession and the EU

Many people have pointed out that the Catalonian secession can trigger an economic shock. The Catalonians say they want to stay in the European Union and keep the euro, but they can't do so. If they secede, they'll need to enter again the EU (and the euro) as an independent state. And Spain would likely veto them out of the EU. FT columnist Wolfgang Münchau wrote that "Catalan breakaway would make Brexit...

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Two Texas Talks

I'll be giving in two talks in Texas this week. Southern Methodist University, DallasSponsor: O'Neil Center for Global Markets & FreedomTopic: How Economists Helped End the DraftTime: Wednesday, 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. (Reception to follow)Place: Ernst & Young Gallery (Room 220 of the Fincher Building) Baylor University, WacoSponsor: Baugh Center for Entrepreneurship & Free EnterpriseHankamer School...

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Rethinking Macroeconomics

I recently attended a conference at the Peterson Institute on "Rethinking Macroeconomics", which mostly meant returning macro to its Keynesian roots. Readers may know that I have a contrarian take on the crisis---I believe it occurred because macroeconomists did not take macro theory seriously enough. We do not need to rethink macro by adding in fiscal policy or paying more attention to the financial...

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Does Trump’s Immigration Agenda Harm Democracy? My Opening Statement

Last Friday, I debated Heritage's Hans von Spakovsky on "Does Trump's Immigration Agenda Harm Democracy?"  The resolution was unusual for me in three ways:1. I usually try to stick to timeless issues.  For this debate, I had to discuss and analyze current events in detail.2. We were originally going to discuss Trump's immigration policies, but it's not clear that he'll manage to dramatically change...

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Fred McChesney RIP

Law and economics scholar Fred McChesney died last Thursday at age 68. He was a first-rate scholar, a wonderful friend, and an engaging conversationalist. I'm so glad that he called me up when he was in Monterey a couple of years ago. I went to his hotel and had a great visit with him and his lady friend. I remember feeding the parking meter for an hour, thinking that would be enough, and then finding the...

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Mises was a neocon, and other oddities

It is of great comfort to us who share an antiquarian passion for the history of political thought that fundamental questions such as, "What is the state?" invariably come to the surface. But sometimes you get the impression that new interpretations focus more on the 'political' than on the 'thought'. 

I'm referring to a long opinion piece published by Yoram Hazony in The Wall Street Journal. From his byline...

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Hassett on Tax Cuts and Growth

On October 5, Kevin Hassett, the new chairman of President Obama's Council of Economic Advisers, gave an excellent talk at the Tax Policy Center. The topic was taxes and economic growth. The transcript of the talk is here. The video is here. In the talk, Kevin gave some estimates of the effects of cuts in marginal personal and corporate income tax rates on growth. Drawing on the literature, he came up with...

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1967 and 2008: Two botched policies

I've occasionally done blog posts explaining how it's possible to prevent recessions from occurring, even after they have begun. That's because a recession is dated from the point where output starts falling, but it's not considered a recession unless the decline persists for a considerable period of time. This is one reason why economists are so poor at predicting recessions. During the past three...

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Bernanke proposes an inflation/price level hybrid target

I am currently in DC attending a star-studded macroeconomic policy conference at the Peterson Institute. Today's participants included Bernanke, Summers, Blanchard, Draghi, Fischer, and many other eminent economists. Bernanke's paper was by far the most interesting, especially his proposal for addressing the zero bound problem:So, to be concrete, at some moment when the economy is away from the ZLB, suppose...

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