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

Is There is a Laffer Curve for Dividend Taxes?

The Club for Growth uses this spin to suggest there is. If one skips to the bottom of page 2 for the last graph, all of the action is there. But wait – tax revenues have been falling even if personal dividend income rose from $392.8 billion in 2003 to $441.4 billion in 2004. But […]

CNN reports weak employment growth (finally)

Our press catches on eventually as witnessed by this story: There’s little dispute that U.S. job growth has been well below normal since the last recession ended in November 2001. But rather than strengthening anytime soon, the labor market may not pick up much, or at all, at least for the foreseeable future, a growing […]

Missile Defense?

Speaking of missile defense (as I was last week), the saga continues: WASHINGTON – A test of the national missile defense system failed Monday when an interceptor missile did not launch from its island base in the Pacific Ocean, the military said. It was the second failure in months for the experimental program. Certainly all […]

Bretton Woods II

Nouriel Roubini and Brad Setser have a new paper out that speculates about the timing and probable causes of the end of the “Bretton Woods II” exchange rate system that is supporting the current pattern of international financial flows. The paper is rather pessimistic about the system’s sustainability (for good reason), and definitely worth a […]

Fiscal Policy and the Trade Deficit

Imagine a miracle occurs and this Congress cuts government purchases by $110 billion and does not further erode net taxes. This would shave 17.8% off the General Fund deficit ($618 billion for the fiscal year ending 10/31/2004). Would it also reduce the $618 billion trade deficit by $100 billion? Not according to the simulation of […]

Cato on Social Security: Protecting the Rights of Enemies of the State

As an objection to the phrase “guaranteed benefits”, Cato’s February 11th Daily Debunker cites the 1960 Supreme Court decision in Flemming v. Nestor. They fail to note two things: (a) what the Social Security Administration wrote about this case; and (b) the facts in this case. From SSA: The fact that workers contribute to the […]

Will Bush’s First Veto Raise Spending?

It seems there is bipartisan frustration with the new estimate of how expensive this Rx bill will be, so our pseudo-conservative President may veto any proposed changes.

Explaining the Rise in Corporate Profits

The Economist writes about the increasing share of national income that is being earned in the form of corporate profits: Last year, America’s after-tax profits rose to their highest as a proportion of GDP for 75 years; the shares of profit in the euro area and Japan are also close to their highest for at […]

Hal Varian on Social Security (alas with Luskin lurking)

In his New York Times oped, Dr. Varian clearly distinguishes between the solvency issue facing the Trust Fund and the risk-return choices individuals might rationally make with their retirement portfolios. Alas, Donald Luskin mischaracterizes what Dr. Varian said in order to launch another pointless personal attack as Luskin shows how little he knows about financial […]

Theory & Evidence about Tax Cuts and Growth for Alan Reynolds

Jesse Taylor has been reading some of the latest from the free lunch supply-siders so we don’t have to. Shorter Jesse: last year’s increase in real GDP and tax revenues only partially makes up for the losses in the earlier part of Bush’s first term. But I want to pick up on this from Alan […]