Sep 302015
 
Needed: More, not fewer, immigrants

Worried about your Social Security benefits? You ought to be. Whether you are in your 70s or your 20s , the number of workers taxed to support you in our pay-as-you-go social-insurance system are or will be fewer than supported your parents and grandparents. We’re living longer and having fewer [continue reading . . . ]






Oct 302012
 
Fix the fisc? Not a chance

In the decade through Fiscal 2008, Uncle Sam spent at the rate of about 19.4% of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP), and took money in at the rate of about 18.3% of GDP, resulting in annual deficits of about 1.1% of GDP. In Fiscal 1999, at the start of that [continue reading . . . ]






Sep 172012
 
QE and financial repression

Say what you please about Ben Bernanke’s unconventional monetary policies (quantitative easing, QE for short, and Operation Twist), they’ve been good for the stock market. The first chart shows that stock prices have roughly doubled, give or take a few percentage points, since Dr. Ben launched the first round of [continue reading . . . ]






Sep 042012
 

Fix Medicare, primarily by restricting end-of-life care, as insurance companies do now. Fix Social Security by minor changes to (1) the payroll tax, (2) the benefit formula for high-income beneficiaries and (3) the retirement age. Fix the hopeless hairball that is the U.S. tax code primarily by (1) broadening the [continue reading . . . ]






Sep 022011
 
Empty state offices -- really?

Today’s brutal report on the labor market from Uncle Sam reminded me that the Seattle Times (where I once worked) the other day conjured the image of vast expanses of state office space bereft of employees (here’s a link to the article). State government employment has declined two years in [continue reading . . . ]