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Empty Pockets

State, federal, and local taxes will absorb almost 40 percent of the typical American family’s budget this year. This far exceeds the next-largest item, housing and household expenses, which will take up only 16 percent of an average family’s …

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A.M. Links: EgyptAir Hijacking, Bernie vs. Hillary, Trump’s Popularity Declines
  • An EgyptAir flight en route from Alexandria to Cairo was hijacked and ordered to fly to Cyprus, landing in the port city of Larnaca. After a several hour standoff, Cyprus authorities arrested the hijacker.
  • Pakistan has detained more than 5,000 suspects in the wake of the Easter suicide bombing in Lahore.
  • “Three years ago, on the eve of Obamacare’s implementation, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected that President Obama’s centerpiece legislation would result in an average of 201 million people having private health insurance in any given month of 2016. Now that 2016 is here, the CBO says that just 177 million people, on average, will have private health insurance in any given month of this year—a shortfall of 24 million people.”
  • The Chicago Teachers Union has called for a strike this Friday. According to the union, any member that crosses the picket line “shall be fined the pay earned on the days worked during the strike.”

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Government’s War on the Powerless: New at Reason

The cops raided J.D. Tuccille’s wife’s pediatric practice last week, looking for a fugitive, he writes:

Actually, let’s put the word “fugitive” in quotes. The story is an eye-opening tale in itself. It’s also a glimpse at how business-as-usual in courts and cop shops around the country screws with people’s lives and alienates the public from those who are allegedly their protectors.

My wife, Dr. Wendy Tuccille, was on her way to the office in Cottonwood, Arizona, when her phone rang. Frantic staff called to tell her that the clinic’s parking lot was full of cops, there to arrest one of her employees, C.H. (it’s a small town so we’ll stick with her initials), on an outstanding warrant.

When my wife arrived she found a gaggle of cops—12 to 15 she told me, some in battle jammies—in plain view at the rear corner of the building. The parking lot was full of police vehicles, in sight of families and children arriving to be seen and treated.

View this article.

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Rising GDPs, Declining Work Hours

In 1877, Switzerland was fast emerging as one of the world’s manufacturing powerhouses and richest nations. Its average annual per capita income of $5,584 was well ahead of America’s $4,708. Along with industrialization came the creation of a proletariat and a new ideology—socialism. To combat the spread of the latter, the Swiss government passed a Factory Act that limited, for the first time, the length of the working day… to 11 hours.

In 2010, when Angus Maddison’s valuable dataset ends, per capita income in Switzerland and the United States was $45,414 and $55,316 respectively (all figures are in 2016 dollars). The real standard of living in Switzerland and America improved 8-fold and 12-fold. In the meantime, Swiss worked, on average, 7 hours per day and Americans 7.6 hours per day.

Working hours have been declining throughout the industrialized world. Between 1950 and 2015, one dataset shows, working hours in Switzerland and the United States declined by 21 percent and 11 percent respectively. Some of the biggest declines were in Holland (28 percent) and Denmark (31 percent).

In the coming decades, we will see a shrinking labor force precipitated by declining birth rates and a robotics revolution that will upend the economy as we know it. Time will show if the salutary trend of declining working hours and growing incomes can continue.

Explore more data like this at

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