Thursday , December 12 2019
Home / Tag Archives: Seen and Unseen

Tag Archives: Seen and Unseen

Taking Leave of Economic Reality

Here’s a letter to RealClear Policy: Editor: Writing in support of mandated paid family leave, Abby McCloskey and Angela Rachidi ask the wrong question and reach a mistaken conclusion (“The Strong Case for Paid Parental Leave,” Dec. 10). While accurately noting that different empirical studies of the observable consequences of mandated paid leave find different results, Mses. McCloskey and Rachidi treat as the root question that should be asked by those pondering the wisdom of mandated...

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Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: “Consistent common sense”

In my column for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review of March 27th, 2007, I made the case that doing economics well often involves little more than applying common sense consistently. You can read my case beneath the fold. Consistent common sense Every semester I emphasize to my freshman economics students that “economics is little more than common sense, consistently applied.” Although I say this to them in the hope of easing any anxiety they might bring to a subject boasting such an...

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Some Links

My intrepid Mercatus Center colleague Veronique de Rugy is realistic about the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and the politics behind it. A slice: Now there is no doubt that passing USMCA would lift the uncertainty that is plaguing trade and investors today. But that’s a much different argument than saying that USMCA would make the economy stronger. Besides, this uncertainty was entirely produced by Mr. Trump, fueled by his desire to destroy all things free trade in America....

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Repetitive, I Know…

Here’s a letter to a “concerned patriot”: Mr. Neil Garza Mr. Garza: You “have no problem” with American jobs being lost “when foreigners can produce with higher efficiency than us.” But you “strenuously object” if American jobs are lost “when imports’ lower prices exist because [foreign] producers receive subsidies.” On the first point you’re correct. On the second point, though, you’re mistaken: we Americans shouldn’t care in the least why we’re able to buy more imports at attractive...

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Bonus Quotation of the Day…

… is from pages 47-48 of Jagdish Bhagwati’s 2002 book, Free Trade Today: But the perennial and persistent public-policy fights for free trade, in the end, were with protectionists who cared little about the size of the pie and more about their own slice of it…. The proponents of free trade therefore started from, or at least could always claim, the higher moral ground. But today’s challengers of free trade often fight our general interest with theirs; and the most vociferous among them...

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Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: “Reaping a strong dollar’s benefits”

In my February 14th, 2007, column for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, I celebrated a strong dollar. You can read my column beneath the fold. Reaping a strong dollar’s benefits Are Americans harmed by undervalued foreign currencies? Misinformed pundits and opportunistic politicians say so. Their argument is simple: The lower the value of a foreign currency — say, the Japanese yen — the greater the number of yen that can be bought for one dollar. The greater the number of yen that can be...

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Reflections on the Fall in the Labor-Force-Participation Rate

In my latest column for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review I reflect on some possible causes of the fall, in the United States, in the labor-force-participation rate. A slice: Indeed, the very length and timing of the 70-year-long decline in men’s labor-force participation strongly suggests that much of this decline reflects a rise in prosperity rather than in problems. In the decades immediately after WWII ordinary Americans famously became wealthier. The U.S. economy boomed, despite the...

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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 195 of Steven Landsburg’s 2009 book, The Big Questions: Princeton Professor Alan Blinder has recently estimated that 30 to 40 million Americans face the prospect of losing their jobs to lower-paid foreign competitors. Or in other words, all Americans face the prospect of lower prices for the output of 30 to 40 million workers. That’s good, though of course 60 to 80 million would be better. Comments

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If I Could Draw…

… I’d draw a picture meant to convey the inconceivable complexity, dynamism, and vastness of the modern economy. As I imagine it, my picture would give the viewer the impression of looking, from the perspective of eye-level, at the surface of an ocean, with that which is above the surface presumably visible to anyone who looks and that which is below the surface invisible to all but the privileged viewer of the picture. Above the surface is a cornucopia of goods and services – goods and...

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Quotation of the Day…

… is from pages 221-222 of the 2016 re-issue of my late colleague Don Lavoie’s indispensable and devastatingly effective 1985 refutation of the case for industrial policies of whatever particular stripe, National Economic Planning: What Is Left?: [T]he unprecedented productivity of the Market organizing principle relative to Tradition was due to the rapid profit and loss selection process by which new habits could be tried, old ones revised, and either, where profitable, preserved. The...

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