Are you an economics graduate student casting about for dissertation topics? I have a few ideas for you. As part of the rewriting of Freedom in the 50 States, I've been reviewing the economic literature on how various public policies affect consumer and producer surplus, deadweight loss, and so on. We use an estimate of … Continue reading Research Questions for Economics Graduate Students
Video of last week's panel discussion of "Expanding Opportunity in Oklahoma," sponsored by the Charles Koch Institute and the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, is now up. Things got rather feisty among the three Oklahomans (two progressives and a conservative). I tried to play peacemaker on occasion. P.S. I did not get any Koch money … Continue reading Expanding Opportunity in Oklahoma: Video Up
What do big businesses and small businesses want from government? Pretty much the same thing.
I have noted before that the contemporary GOP seemed to be AWOL in the war of ideas, citing John Boehner’s recent remarks in Cleveland as exhibit A. Now it appears that the GOP is attempting to shake its recent label as the “Party of No” by releasing a 20 page document entitled A Pledge to … Continue reading The GOP: Getting Serious About Governing?
The headlines are ablaze with news about the new poverty statistics released by the Census Bureau. As Carol Morello notes in the lead to a front page story in today’s Washington Post In the second year of a brutal recession, the ranks of the American poor soared to their highest level in half a century … Continue reading The Poverty Rate: Clearly We Are Doing Something Wrong
This week, House and Senate conferees are working out the details in what will likely be the most significant financial regulatory reform in some time. Should the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau be housed in the Fed? Should the Volcker rule be universally applied? Should banks really be required to spin off their derivative activities? … Continue reading Financial Reform: “You can’t fix what you can’t explain.”
This week should be remarkably interesting for those following the financial reform legislation. Among the big issues on the table include the so-called derivatives “push out” (forcing banks to spin off their derivative trading activities) and the “Volcker rule” that would prohibit proprietary trading at banks. Silla Brush (the Hill) has a quick summary of … Continue reading Making Sausage
As you know, BP agreed to set aside a $20 billion fund for those affected by the oil spill. It was a moment of high drama yesterday when Congressman Joe Barton (R-Texas), ranking member on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, held BP CEO Tony Hayward’s feet to the fire, noting: "I'm ashamed of what … Continue reading The Big Shakedown
The president will address the nation tonight from the Oval Office to discuss the BP/Deepwater Horizon fiasco. The New York Times reports: “It is Mr. Obama’s goal… to acknowledge the uncertainties and what one called “the new reality,” allay people’s fears and give reason to hope,” drawing parallels to FDR’s fireside chats. One wonders: will … Continue reading Solutions waiting for Problems to Happen
There have been some remarkably interesting posts and comments as of late regarding libertarianism. Some of them emerged in various postings on Rand Paul. Damon Linker, for example, congratulated Jason on diverging from “absolute libertarian principles” and approvingly posted Bruce Barlett’s take on Rand Paul: “I don’t believe Rand is a racist; I think he … Continue reading The Unbearable Lightness of Being a Libertarian and the “Consistency Syndrome”
I have a somewhat different take on the financial legislation passed by the Senate than that presented by Jim Otteson, although I agree with his argument. Here is my take: The New Deal era financial regulations created several separate financial industries, each governed by its own set of regulators and insulated by regulatory barriers to … Continue reading Financial Regulation: Another Take
Every once and a while, one trips across a politician who actually states the truth regardless of what the political consequences might be. These are rare and perhaps unguarded moments. But let’s celebrate them when they occur. I have scant interest in Florida politics (or Florida, for that matter). But Marco Rubio has received a … Continue reading A Profile in Courage?
The leaking underwater oil well in the gulf has attracted much attention, as it should. The effects could be devastating for the already battered economy of Louisiana and other states dependent on tourist dollars. President Obama has announced, quite correctly: “BP is responsible for this leak. BP will be paying the bill.” The President’s response … Continue reading Putting a Crisis to Good Use
President Obama gave a rousing speech today on the proposed financial reforms. We know that financial regulations can bring far greater stability to the economy. Even Milton Friedman and Anna Jacobson were forced to acknowledge that the FDIC “succeeded in achieving what had been a major objective of banking reform for at least a century, namely, … Continue reading What if Regulation Isn’t Enough?
I remember a few decades ago when figuring out how a given regulatory agency functioned (or failed to function) required endless hours in the library stacks, paging through poorly bound government documents. Life has become far simpler thanks to the combined efforts of regulators and youtube. To celebrate Earth Day, the EPA stepped into the … Continue reading The Revolution will be Televised (on youtube)
Obamacare makes no economic sense. It should be repealed and replaced with true, consumer-powered reform that will force doctors and hospitals to reduce their prices.
As an economist, I’m trained to apply positive models and empirical methods to (hopefully) illuminate important phenomena in the real world. That is what I want to do in this blog, preferably in an engaging and helpful fashion. But what really interests me is the moral groundwork of public policy analysis. Unfortunately, my fellow Pileus … Continue reading I Want it All, Baby!