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

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 […]

A Bush Administration Success

The Bush administration acheived one of its goals today: North Korea on Thursday declared itself a de facto nuclear power, claiming in its strongest terms to date that it had “manufactured nuclear weapons” to defend itself from the United States and saying it would withdraw indefinitely from international disarmament talks. A self-proclaimed nuclear North Korea […]

Privatization: Risk & Return from the National Review

Cesar Conda’s guest oped makes a point that I can almost agree with: Personal-Account Myths: They’re not the speculative vehicles Democrats want you to think they are… Like the TSP, personal retirement accounts would be invested in a conservative mix of broadly diversified bond and stock funds. Let’s be clear – a shift from a […]

Sometimes It’s Not Easy Being a Bear

Andy Xie of Morgan Stanley explains why his bearishness on China’s property market has become difficult to, er… bear: “I lost 20% because of you,” a schoolmate in Shanghai screamed at me. “I had to hire several guys to line up for seven days and seven nights to buy three flats last month.” Last October, […]

Stating the Obvious

In response to the news (pointed out by AB below) that the actual cost of the Bush administration’s vaunted Medicare drug benefit will be far more than they first admitted, Democratic Congressman Rahm Emanuel states the obvious: “The new cost estimate destroys the credibility of the Bush administration. Officials were so far off in estimating […]

I Suspect We All Knew This Was Coming

New White House Estimate Lifts Drug Benefit Cost to $720 Billion WASHINGTON, Feb. 8 – The Bush administration offered a new estimate of the cost of the Medicare drug benefit on Tuesday, saying it would cost $720 billion in the next 10 years. That is much more than the $400 billion Congress assumed when it […]