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Sunday, September 30, 2018

Paid Leave Pundits Keep Getting It Wrong

The campaign for tax-paid family leave is ramping up. On Saturday, the Wall Street Journal published an opinion piece giving voice to an argument for not only paid leave, but a mandate that fathers take an equal part of it. Opines the article's author, USA Today editor in chief Joanne Lipman:*

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Obama, Trump and Economic Growth

As the U.S. economy keeps showing strength, the debate also continues over who deserves credit for it. Former president Obama has claimed that it is all his work, a somewhat creative interpretation of macroeconomic theory and the facts on the ground. In reality, Obama did not do nearly as much harm as he could have done had Congress been in Democrat hands, but to be fair, his second term was characterized by restraint in government spending in a way that, for example, we did not see under Bush Jr.'s White House tenure. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Government Debt: More Costly than Defense

Never bark at the Big Dog. The Big Dog is always right.

Back in January, I explained that Republicans in Congress were fools to believe that they could grow defense spending without substantial entitlement reforms:

Friday, September 21, 2018

A Path to Endless Government

In a new report on the Governance of Economic Transition, the United Nations proposes a global program for economic central planning. As I explained yesterday on my blog-talk radio show, they use the alleged threat of "climate change" to soften resistance to their real agenda. They also use a particular economic theory to explain why a government-run economy will work this time, as opposed to every other time in history. 

Thursday, September 20, 2018

UN Shows Its Totalitarian Colors

I recently warned that modern-day socialist ideologues not just advocate economic central planning, but also expand their totalitarian ambitions to green central planning. However, the statists are already moving on to the next stage, where the separation of the two types of central planning is history.

The leading entity here is the United Nations.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Do Not Invest in Sweden

Sweden is Europe's most reputable welfare state, or notorious, depending on how you view it. For decades the country has built an image of itself as the successful combination of egalitarianism and capitalism.

That image has been crumbling for some time now, as I explained already in 2014. Others have added to the picture - though some contributions have been more ham fisted than helpful - and the overall image of the country is slowly changing in a more accurate direction.

Today, the economic and political situation is serious, so serious, in fact, that it is time to warn investors from committing to Sweden. There are a number of reasons for this warning, though the four listed below should suffice as a deterrent.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Trump v. Obama: Comparing Jobs and Earnings

On September 4, I reported on encouraging signs of strength in the U.S. economy. Based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics I concluded that:
In the aggregate, American workers are doing well under Trump. There are differences between industries and age groups, but the overall trend is clearly positive.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

The Destructive Force of Green Central Planning

Central economic planning has never worked, and never will. Venezuela is an excellent example, as a friend pointed out with sharing a Bloomberg article about the new minimum wage in the tail-spinning socialist country:

Friday, September 14, 2018

If the Left Wants Big Entitlements, Believe Them!

On September 4 in the Wall Street Journal (print edition), Hoover Institution senior fellow John Cogan laid out a good argument against Senator Marco Rubio’s plan for a paid family leave program. Cogan put Rubio’s plan in a historic context, rightly concluding that a tax-paid family leave system would grow big, the same way other entitlement programs have.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Robbing Millennials: The Truth about the Debt

Listen to the latest episode from Larson's Political Economy Radio!

Sloppy Writing on the Nordic Welfare States

It is important to expose the ideological mythology of the left, and to do it in every way that helps Americans understand just how dangerous the welfare-state ideology is. However, in doing so we are not being helped by poor "research" and sloppy analysis. Not only does that kind of work misrepresent what the left is actually all about, but it also gives the left itself more fuel. They thrive on the sloppy work done by its critics.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

State and Local Government Finances, Part 2

In yesterday's article I reviewed state and local government spending and revenue, concluding:
  • The core functions of government, infrastructure and public safety, account for only 13 percent of state and local government spending;
  • The top two spending categories, Education and Social Services-Income Maintenance, claim more than half of all state and local government spending;
  • Taxes are responsible for less than half of total revenue.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

State and Local Government Finances, Part 1

The bone-dry title of this blog is probably not going to excite many readers, but there is a great deal to be learned from examining the finances of our states and local governments. The Census Bureau has just released its 2016 data for state and local government finances. This is an exciting read; for example:

Monday, September 10, 2018

BEA Needs to Explain Its Growth Number

Updated to highlight the difference between annual and annualized growth. As my article explains, the former is the actual year-to-year growth rate; the latter, which is what the BEA press release is about, is not a year-to-year growth rate. 

Sunday, September 9, 2018

No, Swedes Are Not Racist

In the wake of the Swedish national election on Sunday, September 9, a lot of pundits have gone to work to try to "explain" the results. Many of them sing the same tune: Sweden has now joined the rest of Europe in favoring nationalism and racism and openly demonstrating their purported antipathy toward demographic diversity. 

Friday, September 7, 2018

Is Welfare A Workforce Subsidy?

I rarely get surprised these days by the pervasive economic illiteracy on the left side of the political spectrum. Yet today it happened... During an otherwise entertaining debate on a friend's Facebook page, someone posted a link to an article in Forbes Magazine claiming that

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Signs of Long-Term Strength in U.S. Economy

As I reported recently, the Trump economy is moving along nicely. Growth rates are not as spectacular as some would suggest, but the trend is steadily upward with gradually higher growth rates and steadily better employment figures.