Monday, February 29, 2016

John Oliver on Donald Trump

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Strong Words from Meg

I don't know Meg Whitman well, but I have met her a few times and have always been impressed.  So this statement from her, writing as former Finance Co-chair of the Chris Christie campaign, caught my eye:
"Chris Christie's endorsement of Donald Trump is an astonishing display of political opportunism. Donald Trump is unfit to be President. He is a dishonest demagogue who plays to our worst fears. Trump would take America on a dangerous journey. Christie knows all that and indicated as much many times publicly. The Governor is mistaken if he believes he can now count on my support, and I call on Christie's donors and supporters to reject the Governor and Donald Trump outright. I believe they will. For some of us, principle and country still matter." - Meg Whitman

Friday, February 26, 2016

More on the Sanders Plan

Thursday, February 25, 2016

One-Handed Economist Blues

Monday, February 22, 2016

Misunderstanding Marco

I like Marco Rubio and hope that he, rather than Donald Trump, gets the Republican nomination.  In particular, I think his tax plan includes a lot of good ideas.

Paul Krugman's column today takes a cheap shot at it (natch):
You probably know that Mr. Rubio is proposing big tax cuts, and may know that among other things he proposes completely eliminating taxes on investment income — which would mean, for example, that Mitt Romney would end up owing precisely zero in federal taxes.
So is this true?  Would Mitt Romney really end up owing zero in federal taxes?

Before turning to that question, consider a simpler one: Under a retail sales tax, do you pay the tax if you are not a retailer?  In a superficial sense, no.  Only retailers end up sending checks to the government.  But in a more meaningful sense, yes.  A retail sales tax gets built into the prices that customers pay, and anyone who buys from a retailer bears the burden of the tax.

Paul's statement is true in the superficial sense.  But if you are more concerned with the actual burden of the tax, then his statement is false.

The Rubio plan is essentially the X-tax designed by the late Princeton economist David Bradford.  It is a progressive consumption tax.  Anyone who consumes bears the burden of the tax, even if you don't send a check to the government.

Friday, February 19, 2016

The Zero-Sum Worldview of Mr. Trump

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Democratic Economists against Sanders

In an open letter, Alan Krueger, Austan Goolsbee, Christina Romer, and Laura D’Andrea Tyson (all past CEA chairs under Democratic presidents) take the Sanders campaign to task for its departure from solid economics. To read about the outlandish claims that they are criticizing, click here.

What they do not point out, however, is both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have rejected the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which all four economists strongly supported in this letter.  Mr. Sanders is not alone in his appeal to populism and his willingness to throw mainstream economics under the bus.

AddendumJohn Cochrane is not a fan of the open letter.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Don't Make This Mistake

The Associated Press reports:

Conan's biggest regret at Harvard? Skipping economics

BOSTON (AP) — Conan O'Brien was a prankster during his Harvard years, but he also credits his success to hard work in the classroom. The late-night TV host spoke to an audience of Harvard University students on Friday about the value of a liberal-arts education and about his time at the Ivy League school....

Asked about his biggest regrets, O'Brien said he still kicks himself for shying away from an economics class because it intimidated him. "That was knowledge that I don't have, and I've always regretted it," he said. "I wish I had taken that course."

Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Funniest Papers in the History of Economics

The CEA at 70

Click here to read a chapter of the Economic Report of the President on the 70th anniversary of the Council of Economic Advisers. My small contribution starts on page 20.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Are stocks overvalued?

Two Play Recommendations

I recently had the opportunity to see a couple of great plays in New York. One is Our Mother's Brief Affair by Richard Greenberg.  Rich was my roommate at Princeton many years ago and has gone on to become a highly successful playwright. You can read a review of his new play here.

The other play I saw is Fun Home, an autobiographical musical about a woman coming to grips with her sexual orientation and with her father, a closeted gay man who never fully came to grips with his own sexual orientation. It is based on the graphic memoir of the same title.

I highly recommend both.

Monday, February 01, 2016

The kind of headline I like to see

From the Crimson: