On to the Debt Ceiling

Now that the fiscal cliff has been averted  delayed, we move on to the debt ceiling. Critics are correct in noting that there is no principled reason not to raise the debt ceiling, since it is nothing more than the sum of past spending and taxing decisions.  One can hardly blame the credit card bill … Continue reading On to the Debt Ceiling

Two Cheers for the Seventeenth Amendment

Small-government types have often debated whether the 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, establishing direct election of senators, is in part responsible for the decline of federalism in the U.S. I have long been skeptical of the 17th Amendment repeal movement, because Germany has a system in which states (Länder) elect senators (members of the … Continue reading Two Cheers for the Seventeenth Amendment

A Little Example of “Crowding-In”

In the last budget, the New Hampshire state legislature cut state university funding by nearly half, as part of an effort to deal with a large budget gap opened up by unrealistic revenue forecasts issued by the previous legislature. Today, the NH Union-Leader reports an all-time best in fundraising success for the state university system: … Continue reading A Little Example of “Crowding-In”

Federalism & Inequality, Part One

Constitutional debates swirling around the PPACA's individual mandate have much to do with federalism. The core issue the Supreme Court is addressing is whether the federal government has essentially unlimited authority in economic policy, or whether they are yet some areas of economic policy-making (such as whether to compel commerce) exclusive to the states. As … Continue reading Federalism & Inequality, Part One

EJW Symposium on America’s Debt Crisis

I have just finished reading a fascinating symposium of papers on America's sovereign debt crisis published in the most recent Econ Journal Watch (volume 9, number 1: January 2012). It is introduced by Tyler Cowen, and includes short papers by Jeffrey Rogers Hummel, Garett Jones, Arnold Kling, Joseph Minarik, and Peter Wallinson. It is fascinating, if … Continue reading EJW Symposium on America’s Debt Crisis

Who Killed Local Autonomy in the U.S.?

Once upon a time, local governments accounted for the lion's share of economic policy-making in the United States. Before World War I, not only was the federal government's economic policy-making activity strictly limited to areas such as international trade, management of federal lands, trust-busting, and food and drug regulation, but state governments themselves were also … Continue reading Who Killed Local Autonomy in the U.S.?