Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

Nevada is Biggest Loser of Tesla Auction

On September 4, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval announced that electric car-maker Tesla had chosen Nevada for the location of its much sought-after Gigafactory. Contrary to its claim that it wanted $500 million, Tesla in fact wanted speed plus the highest bidder. As I analyzed last month, a $500 million subsidy would have been relatively low […]

Understanding Piketty, part 4

We now come to the exciting conclusion of Thomas Piketty’s monumental work, Capital in the Twenty-First Century. This is not an exaggeration: the final part of the book contains findings that I consider to be simply bombshells in their significance. In Part 4, “Regulating Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” Piketty calls for a new “social […]

Understanding Piketty, part 3

Part 3 of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century is the longest section of the book (230 pages out of 577), providing his analysis of inequality at the level of individuals. Notably, Piketty largely avoids the use of the familiar Gini index because, in his view, it obscures the issue by combining the effects […]

Understanding Piketty, part 1

Thomas Piketty’s (CV) Capital in the Twenty-First Century is the most important book on economics published in this century. The book has made a huge splash, and drawn the ire of conservatives, for its straightforward argument that recent increases in inequality in numerous countries are likely to rise to unprecedented heights unless governments can reach […]

Tesla wants $500 million for its Gigafactory

Leigh McIlvaine (@Leigh M.) of Good Jobs First alerted me to this article on what Tesla Motors wants in incentives to land its $5 billion Gigafactory: $500 million. This massive 6500 worker facility will produce the next generation of batteries in order to introduce a less expensive line of cars in 2017, the Tesla Model […]

Illinois’ next governor may make Romney look like a saint

Does the name Bruce Rauner ring a bell? No, me neither. It turns out he’s the Republican nominee for governor in Illinois, which under normal circumstances would mean he’s a nobody. But he’s been leading incumbent Democrat Pat Quinn in polls all summer, and could actually end up as the state’s next governor. This is […]

Medicare report shows Obamacare is bending the cost curve

The 2014 Medicare Trustees Report has just been released, and it shows that the program is on noticeably sounder financial footing than it was just a year ago. One of the biggest signs of this is that the projected depletion date of the Hospital Insurance (Part A) Trust Fund has been pushed back by four […]

Fun and games with transfer pricing

ProGrowthLiberal in his comments on my last post and in his own post at EconoSpeak highlights the fact that drug-maker AbbVie already makes most of its profits outside the United States, about 87% in fact over 2011-2013 by his calculation. For PGL, then, AbbVie is not the best example of an inversion because the horse […]

Unintentional tax humor at Forbes

David Cay Johnston emailed me that there were errors in Forbes contributor Tim Worstall’s recent criticisms of the linked article. Indeed there are, but the biggest one (or at least the funniest one) isn’t the one Johnston pointed me to. Worstall writes that AbbVie’s pending inversion will not, by itself, reduce the taxes the company […]