In the State of the Union, President Obama proclaimed the good economic news. He declared 2014 a “breakthrough year for America,” noting “our economy is growing and creating jobs at the fastest pace since 1999.” He also made the case for “middle-class economics,” promising a budget that would focus on “lowering the taxes of working families … Continue reading The Breakthrough Year?
Critics of the President’s State of the Union address noted it did little to promote bipartisanship. Yet, it has already stimulated bipartisan agreement on one of the President’s education proposals. In the State of the Union, President Obama proposed free community college: “I am sending this Congress a bold new plan to lower the cost … Continue reading The SOTU and Bipartisanship
The Hagedorn, Manovskii, and Mitman working paper on the effect of unemployment insurance (UI) on employment has been getting a lot of press lately. In brief, they find that the end of the federal unemployment insurance extension accounts for about 1.8 million new jobs in 2014. Mike Konczal does a useful deep dive on the … Continue reading If Revisionist UI Models Are Wrong, So Are Revisionist Minimum Wage Models
Even a small win for rolling back the state is so seldom observed that it's worth mentioning when one happens: the medium-sized town of Portsmouth, New Hampshire (one of the most "progressive" municipalities in the state) has abolished all taxi regulations and shut down its Taxicab Commission. Correction: the regulators voted to abolish themselves, but … Continue reading A Clean Win for Freedom (updated)
Yes, it is tonight. Those of us who actually follow these things can predict that many of the initiatives that will be announced by President Obama will have little significance with respect to policy because they will never make it through Congress. Priscilla Alvarez (National Journal) has an annotated version of the 2014 SOTU address, … Continue reading SOTU
Last week Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Department of Justice would be suspending its adoption of state civil forfeiture cases through its "Equitable Sharing" program. To review, civil asset forfeiture is the procedure by which law enforcement seizes property suspected of having been associated with a crime, and then auctions it off and … Continue reading Understanding the Impact of Holder’s Asset Forfeiture Announcement
Catalonia will hold a de facto independence referendum through regional elections on September 27, 2015. This one will have "real" effect, unlike the 9N, because the Catalan independence parties would form a unity government and set up the institutions of an independent state, ultimately declaring independence at a date yet to be announced. https://twitter.com/lizcastro/status/555449038221639681 https://twitter.com/MartiEstruch/status/555450187918098432 … Continue reading Breaking: Catalan “Plebiscitary Elections” Set for September 27, 2015
Dragnet's Joe Friday may have never uttered those words, but he would be impressed nonetheless by the facts on crime. There was a fascinating piece by Erik Eckholm in yesterday’s New York Times on the dramatic reductions in crime over the past several decades. Overall, crime peaked in 1991 and has fallen steadily since then. … Continue reading Just the Facts Ma’am
The number of people ages 18-64 receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) under the Old-Age, Survivors and Disability (OASDI) program has increased dramatically in the recent past. Ana Swanson (Washington Post, Wonk Blog) has brief piece that focuses on SSDI. It includes a map (by Seth Kadish, Vizual Statistix) graphically representing the percentage of beneficiaries … Continue reading Reforming the Disability Welfare State?
Over at Reason, Stephanie Slade has a nice, thoughtful piece on whether watching football - providing the NFL and college football programs with revenue - is unethical, given the immense harms to players through traumatic brain injuries and the diseases they cause. A selection: A person can believe an action is wrong even if she … Continue reading Is Watching Football Unethical?
At the meeting of the American Economic Association in Boston last weekend, there were protests organized by a group calling itself "Kick It Over," who, as the Washington Post styled it, were "battling for the soul of economics." Their protest included heckling and disruptions of the talks given by Gregory Mankiw, Larry Summers, and Carmen Reinhart. … Continue reading Of Plutocrats and Arguments
There is a delightful piece in the New York Times on the reaction of the Harvard faculty to the reality of health care reform: For years, Harvard’s experts on health economics and policy have advised presidents and Congress on how to provide health benefits to the nation at a reasonable cost. But those remedies will … Continue reading Ideas have Consequences
My paper on the political philosophy of secession is now out in Public Affairs Quarterly, an open-access journal. Read it here. Teaser: The United Kingdom currently sets the gold standard for management of secessionist politics. The British and Scottish governments negotiated in good faith over the terms of the independence referendum that Scotland held on … Continue reading Legal Regimes for Secession: Applying Moral Theory and Empirical Findings
I'd like to wish all Pileus readers a very happy 2015. The last three years, we have had a tradition of making predictions for the upcoming year and reviewing those of the past year. This year, I haven't had time to come up with predictions for 2015, but here's a look back at those for … Continue reading Happy New Year!
And it is Thomas Piketty: "I do not think it is the government's role to decide who is honorable." On his refusal to accept the Legion d'honneur (h/t Marginal Revolution).