The new Congressional Budget Office report projects that the Affordable Care Act will lead to a decline in full-time equivalent workers of 2.5 million. This is people voluntarily deciding to work less–like mothers with small children, or workers in poor health or close to retirement. That should mean higher wages for the remaining workers. . . . → Read More: The Affordable Care Act Will Raise Wages
Quantitative Easing (QE) was supposed to stimulate the economy by encouraging investment with low interest money. That hasn’t happened, but why? Does no one want to borrow, or do banks not want to lend? My favorite financial columnist, Yves Smith, has laid out both theories. . . . → Read More: What’s Crippling the Recovery: Lack of Investment Demand or Too-Big-to-Lend Banks?
A carbon tax would operate much like a diamond tax, for reasons both of demand and supply. . . . → Read More: Taxing Carbon is Like Taxing Diamonds
In 1995, we encountered a group of economic advisors to Governor John Engler of Michigan, intent on cutting property taxes. We reminded them of California’s 1979 Proposition 13. After Prop. 13 rolled back and froze property taxes, sales taxes reached crushing levels, budget crises became routine, local services collapsed, and public schools fell from the best in the nation to among the worst. But Engler was determined. . . . → Read More: How a Progressive Tax System Made Detroit a Powerhouse (and Could Again)
It was the perfect “natural experiment:” in April 1992, New Jersey’s minimum-wage was scheduled to rise from $4.25 an hour to $5.05, while neighboring Pennsylvania’s minimum wage remained unchanged. Princeton economists David Card and Alan Krueger surveyed over 400 fast food outlets in both states, before and after the increase, in order to test the conventional economic wisdom that minimum wages cause unemployment. What did they find? No apparent effect on employment. None. Zip. Economic hell broke loose… . . . → Read More: The Economics Anti-Textbook: A Critical Thinker’s Guide to Microeconomics, by Rod Hill and Tony Myatt
Conventional economics wittingly or unwittingly provides cover for the One Percent, by professing that “the market” operates benevolently on its own. Alex Marshall gives us an entertaining, thoughtful, and well-written antidote to this dangerous abstraction. . . . → Read More: It Takes Government to Create Markets: Alex Marshall’s The Surprising Design of Market Economies
As most of us know, sales taxes are “regressive.” That is, when sales taxes are “passed on,” they fall harder on poorer customers than on richer ones. That’s why many states exempt food and medicine, as does New York, (except for restaurant food). But sales taxes are also “passed back” onto retailers and service providers. It’s the “passed back” portion of sales taxes that do the most damage, because—unlike profit taxes—they take a bite from gross revenues before expenses. Sales taxes fall hardest on small, labor-intensive retailers, with high volume and low profit margins.
. . . → Read More: Grover Norquist is Right to Oppose Internet Sales Taxes
The Washington Post April 21 headlines an article “Wall Street betting billions on single-family homes in distressed markets.” The article continues, “Drawn by the prospect of double-figure profit margins on rents and the resale of homes whose prices plummeted in the crash, hedge funds, Wall Street investors and other institutions are crowding out individual home buyers.” . . . → Read More: How to Fix the Great Real Estate After-Bubble
On the NewsHour Friday night, in response to the dismal new jobs numbers, Andrew McAfee of the MIT Center for Digital Business blames the loss on “powerful” new labor-saving technology. But if he’s right, is it the technology itself, or the large corporations that install it? . . . → Read More: Is New Technology Destroying Jobs?
When I read David Cay Johnston’s new book, The Fine Print: How Big Companies Use “Plain English” to Rob You Blind, realized that robbery is the least of it. Utility monopolies—a major focus of the book—increasingly cut corners on safety. ne such corner cut is coming to a neighborhood near me: it is a 30-inch high-pressure gas line passing under the Hudson into the West Village and heading north under Tenth Avenue. In December 2010, a 30-inch gas line blew up a block in the San Francisco suburb of San Bruno, excavating a 4-story-deep trench, leveling 35 houses, killing 8 people and injuring 60 more… . . . → Read More: The Monopolists in My Back Yard