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

Compare and Contrast

Andrew Samwick: Government bureaucrats don’t reduce costs. Market competition reduces costs. The challenge for health care reform is to get the market competition into the places where we want it — providers and insurers competing to deliver better services at lower prices — and out of the places where we don’t want it — insurers […]

Risk and Aversion, Take 2

Following up on Robert’s post (he started later and finished earlier): Dr. Black: [T]he idea that all this came about simply because the banksters decided a bit of extra risk was good is an idea only a macro finance person could sanely entertain. All right, I represent that remark in more ways than one. So […]

The Advantage to Sin Taxes is Relatively Low IED

My Loyal Reader notes that the economic survival of Zimbabwe’s current government is now largely dependent on sin taxes: As he presented his revised 2009 budget to parliament, Finance Minister Tendai Biti noted that “indirect taxes made up of customs and excise duty have contributed 88 percent of government revenue, which means that the government […]

No Pi for You!

I promise to try posting more this weekend, but this one is just too good to pass up. Since most people don’t know it beyond three to six digits, today, 14 March (14.03)—er, oops, March 14 (3.14)—has been officially designated “Pi Day.” Ten Republicans voted against the (purely symbolic) designation: Chaffetz Flake Heller Johnson (IL) […]

If Ever There Were a Tipping Point in the Nationalisation Discussions…

Willem Buiter, whose early posts at Maverecon were the epitome of restraint, calls for nationalisation: By throwing cheap money with little conditionality at the banks, the Fed and the US Treasury may get bank lending going again. By subsidizing new capital injections, they reward bad porfolio choices by the existing shareholders. By letting the executive […]

The Best and the Brightest Meme — Eight Years Too Late?

Ken Houghton CR beat me to commenting on this Mankiw whine post, partially because I couldn’t think of anything reasonable to say about it. (CR could. That’s why he gets the big bucks.) But now that CR has done the heavy lifting, let’s look at the other aspect: Mankiw’s standard: Based a standard ranking of […]