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

George Will Supports a National Sales Tax as He Flunks Math

Will’s latest Washington Post oped: He would erase the federal income tax system – personal and corporate income taxes, the regressive payroll tax and self-employment tax, capital gains, gift and estate taxes, the alternative minimum tax, and the earned-income tax credit – and replace all that with a 23 percent national sales tax on personal […]

Soft Landing or Hard: Rip van Winkle Wakes Up

While Brad DeLong provides a nice summary of the debate through yesterday, Kash has been very busy this morning. I shared a question over at David Altig’s blog that simply queries what would Rip van Winkle think if he woke up from a nap that began in 1985. In 1985, the debate centered on the […]

The Savings Rate

The US’s abysmally low personal savings rate has to start rising at some point. There’s no getting around that fact. But we clearly have not yet reached that point. Today’s release of the February personal income and spending data from the BEA shows no inclination for US households to start saving more. Personal income increased […]

A Tale of Two Landings: Part I

The best of times, or the worst of times: what will the US’s eventual current account (CA) adjustment entail? As some of you have perhaps deduced by now, I have bravely staked out a position of indecision about whether I find the hard landing scenario or the soft landing scenario more compelling. As I alluded […]

A Tale of Two Landings: Part II

And now for the other, darker side of my tale: the hard landing for the US’s CA imbalance. I envision the hard landing to be triggered by some sort of shock to the system. One of the problems with the soft landing story is that there are many, many different possible shocks to choose from […]

Social Security: Tanner v. Krugman and Marshall

The Club for Growth’s Soc. Sec. blog had been previewing a debate on March 15 between Michael Tanner and Paul Krugman forgetting to mention that Joshua Marshall was also invited to speak. Via Joshua comes the transcript. Michael Tanner led off trying to claim that the Trust Fund has $12 trillion in debt right now […]

Santorum Exposes His Own Dishonesty

My only opinion about the Terri Schiavo issue is that this is a private matter so the politicians have no right to intervene. With that said, I have to admire the discussions from Aaron Brown. Aaron interviewed Rick Santorum last night and the Senator proved over and over how dishonest he can be. First of […]

Bush’s Backdoor Employment Tax Increase: Does Kevin Hasset Agree with Me?

Via Jesse Taylor comes Kevin Hasset: To what extent are Social Security taxes really “taxes” in the traditional sense? Do the lines in the sand make sense? The question is not as odd or revolutionary as it may sound, and the answer has a significant impact on all sorts of debates. For example, opponents of […]

Hard versus Soft Landing

Nouriel Roubini and David Altig debate the likelihood of a hard versus soft landing for the US’s financial imbalances in today’s WSJ econoblog. For those who aren’t familiar with the arguments, let me try to boil them down a bit. I think that Roubini’s hard landing scenario can be summarized as this: The US current […]