Saturday , February 22 2020
Home / Tag Archives: Politics and Economics

Tag Archives: Politics and Economics

Moral Approximates

 “I urge you to beware the temptation of pride–the temptation of blithely declaring yourselves above it all and label both sides equally at fault, to ignore the facts of history and the aggressive impulses of an evil empire, to simply call the arms race a giant misunderstanding and thereby remove yourself from the struggle between right and wrong and good and evil.” – Ronald Reagan’s “Evil Empire” Speech During the Cold War, folks like Ronald Reagan accused their...

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Tory Industrial Policy?

Brexit’s brilliant political strategist, Dominic Cummings, is now pondering how England shall change, after leaving the EU. My (not particularly original) guess is that the Conservative government will either end up in some kind of perpetual crisis management mode, if Brexit resembleS the worst predictions, or happily use the opportunity of such a momentous change to shape up some of the country’s institutions. Cummings is certainly one of the men to look at, in the...

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Don’t anthropomorphize the economy

Here’s a nice graph from the Financial Times: These graphs are very manipulative, as we think we are seeing the impact of various presidents on the economy.  But is that really so? I’ve argued that the performance of the US (economic, military, social, etc.) is about 3% the president and 97% other factors.  Three percent is not nothing; it’s way more influence than a blogger has.  But it’s not enough to be decisive. This tendency to think in terms of a “Bush...

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Pope Francis and the Rich

“Today’s structures of sin include repeated tax cuts for the richest people, often justified in the name of investment and development”: so said Pope Francis. Dan Mitchell wrote a pointed article on the Pope’s latest comments. That the Pope disapproves of tax cuts to “the rich” is hardly news. Ever since ascending to the Holy See, Francis has invested time and effort in placing himself, so to say, firmly on the left. While sometimes the Pope has praised the virtues of...

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Why Would a Rational Being Say That?

A few months ago, the New Republic reported on a conference, the Third Modern Monetary Theory Conference, of which it was a sponsor (Osita Nwanevu, “Spreading the Gospel of Modern Monetary Theory,” October 3, 2019). One of the participants, affiliated with the Real Progressives website, declared: Wages are the way they are because corporations have control. She probably did not mean to opine that wages are too high. But then, if corporations set wages, why aren’t they...

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Is Bernie Sanders a Crypto-Communist? A Bayesian Analysis

The word “crypto-communist” has a paranoid, McCarthyite connotation.  But during the Cold War, numerous communist intellectuals and politicians deliberately concealed their commitment to Marxism-Leninism.  Why?  To be more successful intellectuals and politicians.  A few crypto-communists even managed to become national leaders.  Fidel Castro gained power in 1959, but only announced his communism in 1961.  Nelson Mandela presented himself as a reasonable democratic...

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Trump, Behavioral Economics, and Public Choice

As President Trump’s impeachment trial plays out in the U.S. Senate, it’s striking that such a grave situation has resulted from such a trivial cause. By that I don’t mean the allegations against him are trivial, but rather that the gains he allegedly sought from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky seem meager when compared to the legal and reputational risks he and several of his adjutants appear to have taken. A Ukrainian announcement of an investigation into...

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My Social Media Hiatus

I’ll be travelling most of the next month, so this is a fine time to officially announce my election-year hiatus from social media. Never fear, I will continue blogging for EconLog.  I will continue promoting my work on Facebook and Twitter.  I’ll still use social media to publicize social events, especially Capla-Con 2020.  However, from today until March 1, 2021, I will not participate in intellectual discussions on Facebook or Twitter. My reason is simple: People...

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Which contentious issues are not partisan?

With America’s politics being increasingly polarized, it’s worth giving some thought to the issues are not partisan. What makes an issue cross party lines?  In San Diego, a proposal to limit growth has split the Democratic party: “The ‘Yes on A’ side was unable to address the racial problem, in a way that clearly made our African-American voting members very uncomfortable,” he said. “Some language in the initiative seemed coded, things like defending neighborhood...

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Profligacy for Austerity?

Suppose you strongly desire to drastically increase the amount of education that people consume.  What should you do? The obvious answer: Make education completely free of charge – and have the government pay the the entire cost. I say this obvious answer is obviously right.  As I explain in The Case Against Education, I favor extreme educational austerity, because I think the education system is a waste of time and money.  Nevertheless, given the goal of drastically...

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