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Politics

New CBO report projects delusional spending levels

America's national debt now stands at close to $27 trillion. According to a new report by the Congressional Budget Office, by the end of 2020, federal debt held by the public is projected to equal 98% of GDP -- and in the following year, this burden will grow to 104% of GDP. But its growth doesn't stop there. Even in the unlikely scenario that ...Read more

The export-import bank's China program lacks vision

Industrial policy that uses tariffs and subsidies to pick economic winners is once again in vogue among intellectuals. The rationale is to prevent China from "dominating" the global market with its subsidies while boosting American jobs and manufacturing. While I believe it's unwise to mimic China's policies to tamp down the danger of its ...Read more

Airlines once again approach Congress with captain's hat in hand

As the saying goes, "When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging." This advice applies to the hole Congress leapt into by bailing out the airline industry back in March through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. Now these companies want even more taxpayer money. The federal government should refuse another bailout.

Like ...Read more

There's no such thing as a free tax holiday

A few weeks ago, President Donald Trump proposed a payroll tax holiday to Americans earning less than $100,000 per year. The gesture is better described as a deferral of the payroll tax burden until April 2021, and that has some people worried. They should be.

Talking about his plan, the president explained, "In a few moments, I will sign a ...Read more

Want to boost economic growth? Tell government to spend less

Intellectuals are supposed to speak truth to power. Unfortunately, some seem to be more interested in saying what everyone expects them to say, which only reinforces the status quo. Thankfully, a few scholars are resisting this trend, fighting for what is true rather than what is popular.

Case in point: a recent Hoover Institution paper on "A ...Read more

New research confirms wealth tax's deleterious effects

Politicians are renowned for their shortsightedness. During the post-war period, for example, Republicans have very publicly opposed most tax increases. I like small government, so I'm good with that. Where I part ways with the Grand Old Party is with its failure to oppose big spending that's funded with debt, meaning future tax hikes.

Their ...Read more

When Puff the Magic Multiplier goes poof

When revenue shrinks by 1% of GDP and spending increases by 51% over 10 months, you get a $2.8 trillion deficit. That figure, according to the Congressional Budget Office, is significantly larger than the deficit Uncle Sam accumulated over the first 10 months of 2019. Yet, many in Congress demand that even more spending be enacted in the name of...Read more

State and local governments need some tough love from Uncle Sam

State and local governments want more funds from the federal government to patch their budgets. Lack of revenue due to the recession and self-inflicted damage from the COVID-19 shutdowns of their economies, as well as larger-than-ever expenditures on top their regular overextended budgets, mean that many of them are hurting for cash. And while ...Read more

Assessing Unemployment Insurance, Incentives and Economic Activity

Earlier this year, the U.S. government passed the largest piece of stimulus legislation in our nation's history. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act included a very generous expansion of unemployment insurance benefits. The idea was to help people to keep paying their bills during the forced COVID-19 shutdowns. These benefits ...Read more

When mob mentality and moral suasion meet the markets

A wave of hasty firings is sweeping across the country, driven by demands from what some call the "cancel culture." The New York Times editorial page editor James Bennett ran an op-ed from Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., that displeased the paper's readers and some colleagues, so he lost his job. The chief curator at the San Francisco Museum of Modern ...Read more

Responsible states shouldn't bail out the irresponsible ones, their taxpayers should

There's no doubt that this pandemic-induced recession is hitting states hard. But that's no reason to bail them out, especially when many failed to prepare for emergencies, which are inevitable.

States today are dealing with a huge mess because of a sudden and steep reduction in their revenues while their pandemic spending is going up. But lost...Read more

There's a legal challenge to the Big Apple's newest rent-control laws

Government growth and abuses are not challenged nearly enough. This results in a proliferation of bad policies that restrict freedom without achieving the policies' stated goals. As such, there are reasons to celebrate when someone steps in and challenges bad rules. Case in point: a legal challenge to New York City's Rent Stabilization Law, or ...Read more

As Bastiat would aay, peer past the obvious with pandemic policies

This week marks the 219th birthday of the great 19th-century French economist Frederic Bastiat. It's the perfect time to talk about his famous essay, "That Which is Seen, and that Which is Not Seen," published in his book, "The Law." This timeless work remains an essential guide to thinking about policymaking.

In that essay, Bastiat writes: "In...Read more

 

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Joel Pett Jimmy Margulies Ken Catalino Brian Duffy Gary Markstein Chip Bok