How Government Shutdowns Grow Government

Following Marc's great post on congressional dysfunction, I'd like to point how political science tells us that the availability of government shutdowns actually causes the growth of government spending. The analysis follows the 1979 spatial analysis of zero-based budgeting by Thomas Romer and Howard Rosenthal. Suppose that there is one dimension of politics: the size … Continue reading How Government Shutdowns Grow Government

Democratic Retreat on Civil Liberties

At Mother Jones, Adam Serwer details the Democratic Party's platform's ratification of the Obama Administration's wholesale retreat on civil liberties. When stacking this sort of thing alongside the GOP's attempt to become the Defenders of Medicare, I not only find it difficult to care who wins the next presidential election, but to understand why anyone … Continue reading Democratic Retreat on Civil Liberties

The Debt Ceiling Raise Aftermath: Confusion Reigns

As Pileus readers know, the spending cuts Congress and the President agreed to in future budgets are a drop in the bucket of future deficits. Nevertheless, the cacophony of protest among partisan hacks is deafening. Jacob Weisberg has a particularly incoherent piece at Slate today. Two selections: But for the federal government to spur growth … Continue reading The Debt Ceiling Raise Aftermath: Confusion Reigns

Do Politicians Regulate When They Can’t Spend?

Noel Johnson, Matt Mitchell, and Steve Yamarik have a new working paper answering that question in the affirmative. They look at state fiscal and regulatory policies and find that Democrats generally like to increase taxes and spending when in control of state houses and Republicans do the reverse. But when states have tough balanced-budget requirements … Continue reading Do Politicians Regulate When They Can’t Spend?

That Was Fast

Wasn't it just five minutes ago that Democrats and Republicans alike were hailing their budget resolution from last week as "historic" and "unprecedented" in its cuts? Even the usually understated WSJ called it, as I pointed out only moments ago,¬†"The Tea Party's First Victory." I guess that was then. Today the WSJ reports that even … Continue reading That Was Fast

Yahoos of Media Lore

Wall Street Journal editorials are usually very good, the WSJ's editorial page being one of the few of major newspapers whose authors are economically literate. The editors recently argued that last Friday's late-hour budget agreement was "The Tea Party's First Victory." Maybe it was. But consider¬†this passage from the piece: Republicans also showed they are … Continue reading Yahoos of Media Lore