Category Archives

Archive of posts published in the category: Economics

A Want of Modesty

“To the contrary, it’s because they don’t believe politicians recalibrating the tax code in the name of the common good will bring about the moral economy. It’s because they don’t believe technicians redirecting capital investment will work, or that it can be had with no costs or unintended consequences. Above all, it’s because they believe that trusting Washington to give us a new and improved capitalism by repurposing private companies to serve the priorities of the government rather than those of their owners requires a faith far greater than any ever demanded by the Lord.”

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The New York Time’s Deceptive Reporting

“Those of you with $1,001 in savings worth have more in the bank than the great majority of all Americans. That is not because Bill Gates and you hoovered all the money up — it is because a great many Americans do not save very much.”

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Unfettered Government is the Greater Threat

Capitalism works best when knowledge and power meet.  Government is power without knowledge; regulation strips power from knowledge. It is suspicious when the answer to unfettered capitalism which does not exist is  unfettered government which is the greater problem.  It is hard to conceive of distant parties with no skin in the game making wiser decisions than people who have to face the consequences of their choices.  The problem is political actors who want to dispense benefits without paying for them.

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Bastardizing Capitalism

Like all ideologies capitalism evolves with experience and adjusts to failures and social evolution.  It never achieves perfection, but its endurance indicates a strength that competing ideologies lack.  We can learn much from the ones that failed, though it seems every generation is cursed to try them again.  The ones that succeed are subject to be taken for granted.  It is the job of the educational institutions to transfer the understanding of our critical institutions, and their failure is crippling.

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Is Inequality a Problem?

Relative poverty is a very different problem from absolute poverty.  If you were sitting in a room with a 100 executives making a six figure income and Bill Gates walked in, the inequality would skyrocket.  Is that a problem?

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Peter’s Wall

When you rob Peter to pay Paul you can count on Paul’s approval, but you can also count on Peter moving to another more friendly place.  When you try to build a wall to keep Peter in, you also discourage Peters from moving here, and you encourage young and enterprising Peters to move away BEFORE they become wealthy enough to be worth robbing.

Warren’s policy is as destructive of our long term financial health as any policy we can imagine. 

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Elizabeth Warren’s Wall

Warren uses ‘rich people’ as a scapegoat in the same way the classical bigots of history used religious and ethnic  vulnerable minorities and the ‘others’.  It is a form of intellectual bigotry and is clouded in the same lethal combination of ignorance and dishonesty.

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The Morality Tax

“Because Sweden is well-governed, it treats its tax regime as a question of revenue rather than a question of so-called social justice…”

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Another Failed God

“the worst forms of tyranny very much include majoritarian tyranny. One might think that the Trump presidency would cause progressives to think twice about what William F. Buckley Jr. dismissed as “the authority of political truths arrived at yesterday at the voting booth.”

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A Financial Warning Shot

The bailout of the overnight repo market by the NY Fed has raised a lot of questions. Why was the financial market unable to respond without Fed help? What caused such an unpredictable surge in demand that caused rates to double overnight? Such conditions are ripe for theories and I have mine.

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The Middle Class Finally Wins

The data counters the false refrain of the Trump cuts only benefiting the rich.  While I have repeated this refrain for years, the actual tax rates matter more than the statutory rates. The difference is the Special Interest Spread- SIS- a term I coined in this article: Save the Swamp.

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Growth and Inequality

It only surprises those whose blind rage over anything Trump combined with their mistaken belief that inequality is “the defining challenge of our time” (Obama).  If you prioritize inequality over growth you will have more inequality and less growth; if you prioritize growth over inequality you will have more growth and less inequality.  

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Europe Needs Doughnut Shops

Europe is at a crossroads of slow economic growth from a post war period of regulation and high taxes and the creation of a new growing underclass of immigrants that are not being absorbed. Avoiding the ensuing financial, social and political costs is unimaginable. England embraced Brexit for several reasons; most often stated was the loss of sovereignty and control of their destiny. They may simply be the first to leave a sinking ship.

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Zero Interest rates challenge our economic assumptions

There is a mismatch between countries with stable financial structures and countries with great growth opportunities. Emerging nations have more room to grow but business owners in third world and some second world countries prefer to hold their cash in more stable economies increasing the supply of cash.

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Ersatz Economics

” Contrary to a widespread impression among noneconomists, though, understanding the vocabulary of economics is not the same as understanding economics.”

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Poverty and Inequality

The prioritization of inequality over poverty is attributed to envy in some cases but more often to a violation of some sense of fairness. But just as we should care not the think of the poor as a single entity, we should be even more cautious not to group the rich or even the super-rich as a single faceless group. Some of the super wealthy have benefited us all, and some have abused the system to their advantage while providing little value. We should distinguish between the rent seekers and the rich who have improved our lives.

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The Wealth Curse

Class warfare as political policy negates the need to articulate limits, acknowledge tradeoffs, understand the process of wealth creation, or do real math that measures and acknowledges real costs and revenues.

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Inflation and MMT

Descriptive powers do not naturally unfold into predictive accuracy. Models by their nature must eliminate variables that can be critical. An economy as large and as dynamic as ours is a wonderful and complicated thing and not cooperative to descriptions and predictions according to simple models.

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Capitalism in Perspective

“The best case for capitalism is a case for markets as one crucial set of institutions in a free society deeply rooted in the West’s liberal and pre-liberal soil. It is crucial because at its best it protects every man’s right to the fruits of his labor, encourages virtues crucial to living free, and has proven unbeatably capable of improving everyone’s living standards. But it must remain rooted, because man does not live by bread alone, and because both the market and the larger society depend upon other formative institutions that help us all become better human beings and citizens.”

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Handcuffing the Invisible Hand

Advocates of single payer and free benefits prove to be ignorant of the price system, profit, productivity and how they function.  While they claim to allocate resources better than the ‘greed’ of the market (a claim easy to totally refute), they are clueless on how the wealth is generated in the first place.

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