Monday , December 11 2017
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A Man Called Ove

I rarely recommend movies on EconLog but this is an exception. My wife and I saw A Man Called Ove last night and loved it. I would give it a 9 on a scale of 1 to 10. It's a familiar story line: a gruff old man (actually younger than me, though) who has a grudge against the world loosens up in response to a family with 2 delightful young daughters who move in next to him. But what makes it special are three...

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What if I didn’t favor NGDP targeting?

For the past nine years I've been promoting market monetarist ideas in the blogosphere. How important is NGDP targeting to the MM agenda? Much less important than many people assume. Kurt Schuler left the following comment in response to my previous post: Nominal GDP targeting has not yet been implemented anywhere. Accordingly, you have the luxury of comparing an untested policy whose defects (if any)...

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Cutting Corporate Tax Rates in 2018 or 2019: It Matters

The important effect of incentives on allocation over time. One of the differences between the House and Senate versions of the tax cut is whether the corporate tax rate falls in 2018 (House) or 2019 (Senate.) It might look as though it's no big deal. It might well be a big deal, partly economically and, deriving from the economics, partly politically. You're someone deciding whether to start a new business...

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What’s my core message?

I am currently working on the final chapter of a book manuscript, tentatively entitled "The Money Illusion: Market Monetarism and the Great Recession." I am trying to identify my core message. What is the essence of my critique of mainstream macroeconomics? And why should anyone believe me? I'll offer a few thoughts, but I'd be very interested in your outside perspective. BTW, one thing is very clear to...

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The Shining City on a Hill: Commentary on Reagan

While wrapping up my graphic novel, I wound up reading Ronald Reagan's famous Farewell Address - his "Shining City on a Hill" speech.  Given my broader views, I obviously have some objections.  But I was amazed to read an actual presidential speech where I agreed with entire paragraphs.  Here's the abridged speech, with my commentary.  Reagan's in blockquotes, I'm not. My fellow Americans: This is the 34th...

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Average Federal Tax Rates by Income Quintile

A number of friends on Facebook have been discussing whether the federal tax system is "progressive." That word has emotive content--"progressive" seems good--but all it means is that the higher your income, the higher your tax rate. One economist friend argued that bringing in the Social Security tax (FICA) and the Medicare tax (HI) makes the system less progressive than otherwise. That's absolutely true...

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Why Addict’s Deaths Are Not a Social Cost of Opioid Consumption

by Pierre Lemieux ...what does it mean to say that the loss of life is a cost for an individual? The report published last month by the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) on the cost of the opioid crisis raises more questions than it answers. Mainly because it incorporates the estimated value of the lives lost through overdose (using the "value of a statistical life," in the standard cost-benefit jargon),...

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The Unbearable Arbitrariness of Deploring

As a self-identified non-Neurotic man, I'm not surprised by the social ubiquity of anger, sadness, and fear.  When something bad happens, my instinctive reaction is to say, "Calm down, it's OK" - especially if it doesn't personally affect me.  But I recognize that I'm odd.  When something bad happens, a psychologically normal person's instinctive reaction is to say, "Oh my God, that's terrible!" - whether it...

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