February 20, 2024 10:35 am

Fiscal Commission to Focus on National Debt Taking Shape in U.S. Congress

The U.S. Congress hasn’t done much in the past month with one notable exception. The U.S. House of Representatives made progress toward establishing a commission to address the nation’s worsening fiscal situation. As we all know, commissions are the politicians’ favorite way to deflect the ire of their supporters whenever they need to make…
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February 19, 2024 3:31 pm

Why Shareholder Firms Tend to Persist Over Worker-Owned Models

Over at AIER, my Mere Economics co-author reveals one weird trick for the working class to bloodlessly seize the means of production. I won’t steal Art’s thunder, but suffice it to say that this “revolution” would be voluntary every step of the way. Art’s clever essay demonstrates that capitalism allows for many experiments in…
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February 15, 2024 2:57 pm

Is America Fiddling While Rome Burns?

While the U.S. Senate was busy approving another $95 billion for various foreign policy purposes, two important things were happening to which almost no one in Congress was paying attention. One was the released January inflation data; the other was the updated Congressional Budget Office (CBO) 10-year fiscal outlook.  Both contained terrible news about…
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February 14, 2024 1:07 pm

This Time Isn’t Different

William F. Buckley once defined a conservative as “Someone who stands athwart history, yelling Stop.” With apologies to Buckley, we might define an economist as someone who stands athwart the contemporary public policy conversation, yelling, “This time isn’t different!” The last decade has demonstrated that economic insights painstakingly won over the course of centuries…
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February 9, 2024 1:05 pm

The Perils of Running a Restaurant (or Any Business) in California

It is no secret that the state and local governments make California a very difficult place to do business. The Golden State maintained its perennial position of the worst business climate in the country in Chief Executive magazine’s annual “Best and Worst States for Business” survey of hundreds of CEOs from across the nation. (Texas, Florida, and Tennessee…
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February 9, 2024 9:37 am

Nevada’s Bet on the Oakland A’s Is Causing Buyer’s Remorse

There are some big signs that the people of Las Vegas and the state of Nevada are getting genuine buyer’s remorse over the Oakland Athletics. Last summer, Nevada’s state legislature approved a $380 million bill toward funding a proposed $1.5 billion new stadium for the A’s in Las Vegas. In November 2023, the A’s secured the unanimous approval…
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February 8, 2024 1:48 pm

Stock Traders in Congress Beat the Market Again

2023 was a good year for the stock market. CNN reported the year’s performance stats for the three most well-known U.S. stock market indices. S&P 500: While the broadest measure of the US stock market closed 0.28% lower on Friday, leaving it just under 30 points away from a record-high close, it gained 24% this year, ending…
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February 7, 2024 3:08 pm

States’ Rights Resurgence: Greg Abbott and the Constitutional Compact

I am generally a fan of Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s sparring with the Biden administration over the collapse of the southern border. As noted by the House Oversight Committee, “The Biden Administration sparked the worst border crisis in American history and placed Americans’ lives at risk by abandoning deterrent-focused immigration policies and proven border enforcement tools.” Estimates differ,…
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February 6, 2024 11:16 am

The Black Cloud in Jobs Growth’s Silver Lining

“Jobs Growth Defies Expectations” blares a WSJ headline on the front page of the paper’s first-weekend edition of February 2024. The story by reporter Sam Goldfarb goes on to say that “hiring is booming, defying [economists’] expectations [that] the economy would cool after going gangbusters last year.” Last month’s employment numbers, showing a gain of 353,000…
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February 5, 2024 2:00 pm

Total Interest on U.S. National Debt Now Exceeds $1 Trillion a Year

Sustaining the U.S. national debt has become very expensive thanks to rising interest rates. The annual cost of paying the gross interest on the national debt now exceeds one trillion dollars. That cost has almost doubled during the last three years. This cost was confirmed in the Bureau of Economic Analysis’s (BEA) initial GDP estimate…
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February 1, 2024 1:39 pm

The Plastic Bag Racket

Single-use plastic bag bans have been all the rage for the past 20 years or so, but, as is often the case with environmental laws, proponents have vastly overstated the benefits of doing so and understated the costs. It is another example where doing something is considered better than doing nothing—even if the results end up…
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January 31, 2024 4:01 pm

The Limitations of OPEC

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is reputed to be a powerful force in world energy markets, and recently Russia has conspired with OPEC to raise energy prices. The OPEC cartel, led by Saudi Arabia, tried to exploit its monopoly power in 2023 by reducing production. It enjoyed temporary success as its revenue…
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January 29, 2024 4:34 pm

The Canadian Government’s Ministry of Truth

In 2019, during the Parliamentary Press Gallery Dinner, Justin Trudeau spoke about media bias: You sometimes hear about liberal bias in the media these days—how they’re constantly letting our government off the hook for no good reason. Frankly, I think that’s insulting. It’s clear that they let us off the hook for a very…
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January 29, 2024 9:57 am

Immigration Fiasco: Texas Loses SCOTUS Battle but Could Win the War

On Monday, SCOTUS handed the Biden administration a victory in the feud with Texas over immigration. In a short order, the Court vacated an injunction prohibiting federal border patrol agents from cutting razor wire installed by the state on its border with Mexico. Justices Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh dissented. In pending litigation, the…
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