Archive for the ‘economics’ Category

How Corporate Welfare Hurts You

October 9, 2019

“When corporations get special handouts from the government, it costs the rest of us. We have to pay more in taxes to make up for these hidden tax breaks, subsidies, and loopholes. In turn, there’s less money for good schools and roads, Medicare and national defense, and everything else we need.”

— “How Corporate Welfare Hurts You,” Robert Reich, The American Prospect

Related:

“The High Public Cost of Low Wages,” Ken Jacobs, Ian Eve Perry and Jenifer MacGillvary, UC Berkeley Labor Center

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Taxing the Super-Rich

August 14, 2019

What is a wealth tax, anyway? Alvin Chang explains. A Vox video.

There’s a related fact sheet here

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Trump Awards Arthur Laffer the Medal of Freedom

June 20, 2019

Trump Awards Arthur Laffer the Medal of Freedom

Failed businessman Donald Trump awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to economist Arthur Laffer. “Freedom” here must refer to freedom from reality. Dr. Laffer popularized the “supply side” theory of economics, which holds that if you cut the taxes of rich people so they have even more money, some of it will magically trickle down to society’s less wealthy. This fiction was a favorite of Herbert Hoover, daddy of the Great Depression, and early-onset Alzheimers Ronald Reagan. You can see why the notion would be attractive to Mr. Trump, who became a millionaire at the age of 8.

Arthur Laffer revived this “supply-side” zombie with a visual aid, the “Laffer Curve,” allegedly first drawn on a cocktail napkin in 1974. That theoretical chart, based on wishful thinking and zero data, purports to show that tax cuts for the rich will boost the economy and pay for themselves. While the curve’s drinking-binge origin tale seems apt, it’s a fiction, mythologized by Dr. Laffer’s hype man, conservative pundit Jude Wanninski. The story is now enshrined in GOP dogma and, embrassingly, at the Smithsonian.

Donald Trump, despite the populist rhetoric of his campaign, enthusiasticly slashed taxes for the rich once elected, which helped no one but the wealthy. The medal award is yet another example of Mr. Trump doubling-down on a lie. How could the Laffer Curve be untrue when Arthur Laffer got the Medal of Freedom? Of course, maybe he really got it for co-authoring a book of fawning fiction called Trumponomics.

More:

“Trump is giving Arthur Laffer the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Economists aren’t smiling.” Elizabeth Popp Berman, Washington Post

“Trump Awards Medal to Controversial Tax-Cut Champion Laffer,” Margaret Talev and Justin Sink, Bloomberg

“Trump Awards Kook Art Laffer for Inventing Fake Curve,” Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine

“Why are we still pretending ‘trickle-down’ economics work?” Morris Pearl, The Guardian

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Stephen Moore, Trump Fed Nominee, Withdraws

May 2, 2019

Stephen Moore, Trump Fed Nominee, Withdraws

Following the lead of pizza czar Herman Cain, Trump Federal Reserve Board nominee and alimony cheat Stephen Moore has withdrawn himself from consideration. In his bid to exert influence on the independent central bank regulatory agency, President Trump is having difficulties finding stooges with any degree of plausibility.

More:

“Stephen Moore says people don’t want to debate his economic ideas, but those are bad, too,” Matt O’Brien, Washington Post

“Why Stephen Moore’s Fed Bid Failed,” David A. Graham, The Atlantic

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Trump Federal Reserve Picks: And Then There Was One

May 1, 2019

Trump Federal Reserve Picks: And Then There Was One

Stephen Moore, political pundit, Alt-Right fanboygold standard loon, and doctrinaire supply-side dolt, wrote an ill-informed Wall Street Journal op-ed blasting the Federal Reserve. The Journal booted him for being a political hack, but Donald Trump nominated him for the Federal Reserve Board. Mr. Moore now says that if he becomes a liability he will withdraw his name from consideration, as did Herman Cain, the President’s other improbable nominee.

Mr. Moore’s recently unearthed sexist comments may prove a liability, but in any case it’s hard to see him as a Fed asset. He is not an actual economist. When he ran the partisan Club for Growth, the outfit incurred $350,000 in FEC penalties. A veteran of the Heritage Foundation and Cato Institute, he worked on Ronald Reagan’s Privatization Commission, and helped Dick Armey draft the so-called FairTax proposal, essentially a regressive tax on the poor. More to the point, he worked on the 2016 Trump campaign and co-authored Trumponomics, a 2018 wet dream of low tax rates for the rich.

Stephen Moore knows all about Federal taxation; he owes the IRS more than $75,000 in back taxes. He also shares the Trump Administration’s respect for law and family values; a Maryland court held him in contempt for failing to pay his ex-wife over $300,000 in alimony and child support. Of course, that might not be seen as a liability in today’s Republican Party.

More:

“Spotlight Turns to Stephen Moore After Cain Drops Bid for Fed Board Seat,” Alex Wayne, Margaret Talev, and Christopher Condon, Bloomberg

“Stephen Moore’s Columns Deriding Women Raise New Questions for Trump Fed Pick,” Jim Tankersley, New York Times

“Trump’s Fed pick Moore not planning to drop out of Fed consideration: interview,” Doina Chiacu and Yeganeh Torbati, Reuters

“White House says Stephen Moore still has Trump’s support for Fed seat,” Jeff Mason, Reuters

“Stephen Moore wants people to pay more attention to his economic policies. Challenge accepted.” Catherine Rampell, Washington Post

Related:

“Don’t Let Trump Mess With the Fed,” Steven Rattner, New York Times

“Trump wants to copy the worst thing Turkey does with its economy,” Matt O’Brien, Washington Post

Update:

“GOP support for Stephen Moore falters, leaving Trump’s Fed pick with slim chance of confirmation,” Heather Long, Washington Post

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Image (“Trump’s Federal Reserve Hat”) by Mike Licht. Download copies here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com.

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Stephen Moore, Trump’s Feeble Fed Pick

April 5, 2019

Stephen Moore, Trump's Feeble Fed Pick

Stephen Moore, political pundit and doctrinaire supply-side dolt, wrote an ill-informed Wall Street Journal op-ed blasting the Federal Reserve. The Journal booted him for being a political hack, but Donald Trump nominated him for the Federal Reserve Board.

Mr. Moore is not an actual economist, but that’s no barrier in today’s Republican Party. He’s been at the Heritage Foundation and Cato Institute, worked on Ronald Reagan’s Privatization Commission, and helped Dick Armey draft the so-called FairTax proposal, essentially a regressive tax on the poor. More to the point, he worked on the 2016 Trump campaign and co-authored Trumponomics, a 2018 wet dream of low tax rates for the rich.

Stephen Moore knows all about Federal taxation; he owes the IRS more than $75,000 in back taxes. He also shares the Trump Administration’s respect for law and family values; a Maryland court held him in contempt for failing to pay his ex-wife over $300,000 in alimony and child support.

Who thinks Stephen Moore is a bad choice for the Fed? Real economists. A whole lot of them.

Who (besides Donald Trump) thinks Stephen Moore is a great Fed choice? Former cable TV pundit and Trump economic advisor Larry Kudlow, a man with an even worse record on the economy than Stephen Moore.

President Trump may have found a way to make Stephen Moore look a bit better. He plans to nominate pizza czar Herman Cain of “9-9-9 Tax” and sexcapade fame to the other vacant Federal Reserve Board seat.

More:

“Trump Nominates Famous Idiot Stephen Moore to Federal Reserve Board,” Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine

“Stephen Moore would change the Federal Reserve for the worse — much worse,” Matt O’Brien, Washington Post

“Economists Forecast Stephen Moore Wouldn’t Be Good For Fed Post,” Scott Horsley, NPR News

“Moore is less,” Steven Pearlstein, Washington Post

“Trump Wants Herman Cain on the Fed Because He’s an Unqualified Hack,” Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine

“How Trump would make the Fed a partisan tool,” Roger Lowenstein, Washington Post

Updates:

“Larry Kudlow defends Herman Cain: A lot of sexual allegations ‘don’t necessarily pan out,'” Kyle Balluck, The Hill

“Herman Cain Opens a New #MeToo Minefield for Republicans,” Alan Rappeport and Kenneth P. Vogel, New York Times

“‘Very smart people’: Trump adviser defends Cain and Moore Fed picks,” Martin Pengelly, The Guardian

“The Federal Reserve is already full of Trump’s picks,” Dion Rabouin, Axios

“What’s at Risk if the Fed Becomes as Partisan as the Rest of Washington, Neil Irwin, New York Times

“Trump’s Fed pick Stephen Moore is a self-described ‘radical’ who said he’s not a ‘big believer in democracy,'” Andrew Kaczynski and Paul LeBlanc, CNN

“Does Anyone Really Support Stephen Moore at the Fed?” Jonathan Bernstein, Bloomberg

“Stephen Moore’s Fed Candidacy Would Be A Sure Thing If He Hadn’t Said Anything Ever,” Jon Shazar, Dealbreaker

“If Republicans can’t stomach Herman Cain for the Fed, how on earth can they tolerate Stephen Moore?” Matt O’Brien, Washington Post

Related:

“Snake-Oil Economics: The Bad Math Behind Trump’s Policies,” N. Gregory Mankiw, Foreign Affairs

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Image (“Trump Fed Capture”) by Mike Licht. Download copies here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com.

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DC Shut Down? The GOP Does Davos.

January 15, 2019

DC Shut Down? The GOP Does Davos.

The president has shut down the U.S. government by refusing to authorize federal spending, but presidential aides and cabinet officials are spending $3-4 million and change to go to the World Economic Forum at Davos, kind of a Coachella for billionaires and financial heavies at a resort in the Swiss Alps.  Administration figures scheduled to attend include: Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Small Business Administrator Linda McMahon, DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner.

U.S. officials at Davos will have a significant weight lifted from their shoulders at this year’s WEF. Unlike last year, President Donald Trump will not attend. Swiss protesters must be crestfallen.

More:

“Trump’s team is still running up bills for Davos during the government shutdown,” Justin Rohrlich and Heather Timmons, Quartz

“Davos, other Swiss ski resorts warned of high avalanche danger,” Xinhua

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The Birth of the Price Tag

November 20, 2018

For centuries buying something meant haggling, negotiating with shopkeepers to get a lower price. As a result, the same goods cost different people different prices. In the mid-19th century, U.S. Quakers came to believe that charging people different amounts for the same item was immoral, so they started using price tags which, if not more moral, are more efficient.

An NPR Planet Money video.

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Merle Hazard sings of self-driving trucks.

October 25, 2018

A trucking song for the information age, written by Tom Rutledge and economist Jon Shayne, performed by Merle Hazard (“moral hazard” meets Merle Haggard, get it?). Ol’ Merle is accompanied by Trey Hensley and Rob Ickes (guitar and dobro), Alison Brown (banjo), Andrea Zonn (backing vocals), and Larry Atamanuik (drums).

Animation by Matt Emigh of NPT;  illustrations by Susan Eaddy. Music produced by Alison Brown.

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The Economy: Growth Is Not Enough

July 27, 2018

In 2014, economist Kate Raworth spoke to the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA). This excerpt was animated by Marija Jacimovic, designed by Milan Perisic, and produced by Benoit Detalle. See the full presentation here.

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