“Suits and Sandals”: Different Freedom Indices for Different Folks

This post will illustrate how users can customize the freedom index according to their own judgments about how various policies affect freedom. In particular, it will show how the weighting for tax burden can be significantly reduced and explores the consequences of this choice. It will also discuss briefly how abortion policies might be included … Continue reading “Suits and Sandals”: Different Freedom Indices for Different Folks

A Deficit-Neutral Plan to Slash Unemployment

While the U.S. economy has been officially out of recession for a while and growing at a decent clip (1.8% at a seasonally adjusted annual rate in the first quarter of this year, 3.1% in the last quarter of 2010 - see chart), unemployment remains very unusually high, 9.0% in April 2011 (seasonally adjusted), compared … Continue reading A Deficit-Neutral Plan to Slash Unemployment

What Caused Recent Tax Increases at the State Level?

The recent recession cut deeply into state treasuries, forcing legislatures to raise taxes or cut spending or both to eliminate budget deficits. It is interesting to note which states opted for big tax hikes over big spending cuts. USNews Money blogger Rick Newman has compiled a list of the 10 states with the largest enacted … Continue reading What Caused Recent Tax Increases at the State Level?

Unionization and Taxes, Part Two

At The Monkey Cage, Andrew Gelman takes issue with my post on union density and tax collections by state. I argued that states with higher percentages of workers covered by collective-bargaining contracts have higher tax collections as a percentage of personal income, and that the relationship is probably causal. Gelman argues that it is inappropriate … Continue reading Unionization and Taxes, Part Two

More Unionized States Have Higher Taxes

One of the purposes of "right to work" legislation, currently being debated in Indiana, New Hampshire, and other states, is to reduce the percentage of the workforce covered by collective bargaining agreements. Leaving aside the ethics of collective bargaining as practiced in the U.S. today, what are the political and economic consequences? Since unions donate … Continue reading More Unionized States Have Higher Taxes

The New Obamanomics?

Interesting and encouraging suggestions in the news today that President Obama wants to embark on significant tax reforms largely along the lines recommended by the Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. As noted in today’s NYT: President Obama is considering whether to push early next year for an overhaul of the income tax code to … Continue reading The New Obamanomics?

The Carbon Tax and Fiscal Responsibility

I was ever so briefly at a conference on pricing carbon this weekend at Wesleyan (I was a moderator for a session). The panelists were committed to the same goal (reduced CO2 emissions) so the discussion focused on the issue of regulatory design and policy instruments. Of the competing approaches—cap-and-trade, cap-and-dividend, and a straight carbon … Continue reading The Carbon Tax and Fiscal Responsibility

Business versus the State: the World Economic Forum

The World Economic Forum’s  Global Competitiveness Report has been released. You can read a summary in the Washington Post or go directly to download the report and the fascinating data tables here. As one might expect, the US has slipped from first to fourth (of 139 nations) over the past several years. Some of the data … Continue reading Business versus the State: the World Economic Forum

Is Obama Anti-Business?

Albert R. Hunt defends the administration against the charge made by Verizon chairman Ivan Seidenberg. (Part of the reason for Seidenberg's charge is the FCC's aggressive push to regulate the Internet without apparent statutory authority.) Hunt's defenses of Obama are as follows: President Barack Obama rejected calls last year to nationalize the big banks, opting … Continue reading Is Obama Anti-Business?

Monday Morning with Marx

For those who followed the neo-Marxist debates on state theory in the 1970s (or were forced to learn about them by one’s professors), one of the more interesting contributions came from James O’Connor's book, The Fiscal Crisis of the State. In essence, O’Connor argued that the state must simultaneously execute two conflicting functions: an accumulation … Continue reading Monday Morning with Marx

The Gathering Storm of Class Warfare in Europe – Marcus Cole in Hamburg, Germany

by Marcus Cole. This week, as I and hundreds of other travelers in Europe remain stranded under clear blue skies full of invisible volcanic ash, a different, more ominous cloud is gathering all over Europe. The weekly current affairs magazine, Elsevier, (the Dutch equivalent of the Economist or U.S. News & World Report) ran a cover … Continue reading The Gathering Storm of Class Warfare in Europe – Marcus Cole in Hamburg, Germany

An Oversized Hero

In an era when many Republicans are trying to gain political traction by complaining that Democrats want to cut Medicare, it warms my soul to see a blue-state Republican, Gov. Chris Christie, actually making inroads into fixing the financial chaos of one of our great states.  Like California, New York and other problematic states, New … Continue reading An Oversized Hero

On tax day, raise a glass to the unborn

This year—and predictably, most years around April 15—a number of stories popped up on the topic of who pays the taxes (or more correctly, given the laziness of the media, the same story reprinted with minor modifications in many different venues). The take home point: 47 percent of Americans have no income tax liabilities whatsoever. … Continue reading On tax day, raise a glass to the unborn