The Bottomless Economic Ignorance of Bernie Sanders

Featured image Yes, I know, pointing out that Bernie Sanders is an economic ignoramus is not a heavy lift; economic ignorance is the whole point of socialism. (As Hayek reminded us, “If socialists understood economics, they wouldn’t be socialists.”) But just as we have too many kinds of deodorant (said Sanders), we may as well have too many observations of Sanders’s abyss. The market demands it! Thanks to a tip from a »

Trick, No Treat

Featured image Michael Ramirez on Halloween and the debt. It’s a good reminder that all of that “free stuff” isn’t actually free. Click to enlarge: »

Ryan wins GOP Speaker nomination, the sell-out commences

Featured image The Republican House conference held its Speaker election this afternoon and resoundingly selected Paul Ryan for the job. According to this report, Ryan received 200 votes to 43 for Daniel Webster. Marsha Blackman and Kevin McCarthy each received one vote. In other news, the Speaker-to-be has endorsed the awful budget deal that John Boehner secretly negotiated (along with Mitch McConnell) with Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. The deal passed the »

A budget deal Republicans should reject

Featured image In recent days, as John Boehner, Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell, and Harry Reid negotiated a budget deal behind closed doors, the prospect for mischief has been acute. Today this latest “gang” presented its handiwork to members of Congress. It is, indeed, mischievous. According to this report, the deal would increase federal spending by $80 billion over two years. The spending increase would be shared evenly between domestic and military spending, »

From Madisonian Constitutionalism to Wilsonian Statism?

Featured image That is how Dan Mitchell describes America’s fiscal evolution, as chronicled in a new report by the Joint Economic Committee. I will have to delve into the report before long, but for now let’s stay with Mitchell’s analysis: Given my affinity for budget data, I was excited to learn that the Joint Economic Committee (JEC) just released “An Economic History of Federal Spending and Debt.” This new publication is filled »

Renaming the Mountain

Featured image President Obama has announced that he is renaming Mt. McKinley Mt. Denali, a change which comes as no surprise. If the Democrats are willing to pretend that their two most important leaders, Jefferson and Jackson, never existed, what hope does a long-gone Republican president have? I do agree, however, with Michael Ramirez’s suggestion about one mountain for which Obama is, to a greater extent than any other leader in our »

Dems resort to Mediscare once again

Featured image Campaigning in New Hampshire last month, Jeb Bush said he wants to “phase out” traditional Medicare to build a more efficient, market-based system focused on patients. Democrats pounced immediately. DNC press secretary Holly Shulman claimed that under a Bush presidency seniors would lack the benefits they rely on. Tevi Troy, writing in the Wall Street Journal, reminds us that the Democrats have been engaging in this sort of Mediscare for »

Puerto Rico Goes Broke

Featured image Most eyes have been on Greece, where events are coming to a climax. Meanwhile, a less-noticed financial collapse has overtaken Puerto Rico. That commonwealth has racked up debts of $72 billion, which seems astonishing for an island with a population of 3.6 million, not much more than Iowa. Puerto Rico’s governor now says that “the debt is not payable.” That seems to be true of a lot of sovereign debt »

Federal Debt Soars to Over $18 Trillion

Featured image A year or so ago, the Democrats started telling us that the national debt is no longer an issue. This was based on the fact that the deficit is only around half what it was during President Obama’s first few years in office. The fiscal year 2014 deficit came in at *only* $483 billion, a cause for rejoicing in Washington. This represents the smallest deficit as a percentage of GDP »

Yes—Let Liberals Bail Out Detroit

Featured image Back in May I suggested, less than half facetiously, that if we are indeed to consider paying reparations for slavery, the Democratic Party should have to pick up the entire tab, for all of the obvious reasons. I was reminded of that idea when stumbling across the most interesting story on the front page of today’s New York Times: “Finding $816 Million, and Fast, to Save Detroit.” The details are »

IMF Says: By the Way, There’s a Debt Crisis

Featured image Two summers ago, we ran the Power Line Prize contest to try to focus attention on the exploding national debt. The contest was successful, in that it incentivized the production of many high-quality videos, songs, pictures, and other media that highlighted the debt crisis, which were viewed millions of times. But like all other efforts to call attention to the debt crisis, it had limited effect, if any. Periodically the »

Three Pinnochios for Glenn Kessler?

Featured image Washington Post Fact Checker Glenn Kessler gave United States Senator Tom Coburn the treatment yesterday. He awarded Senator Coburn three Pinocchios for Senator Coburn’s assertion that the United States has $128 trillion in unfunded liabilities. You may have caught the Wall Street Journal’s Saturday Interview with Stanley Druckenmiller; Druckenmiller actually provides a higher number (more here). I reached out yesterday to Senator Coburn’s office for a response. Coburn spokesman John »

John Thune, live from Gate 21

Featured image Returning from a business trip to Washington, D.C., tonight I was delighted to find Senator John Thune waiting to board the 7:15 p.m. flight to Minneapolis-St. Paul at Reagan National Gate 21. As I said hello, Senator Thune could not have been warmer. I asked him about his trip home. If I understand correctly, he said he was going home for the induction of his father, age 93, to the »

The president’s farcical budget

Featured image Yesterday, the White House finally released its proposed budget. The media promptly touted it as a major step forward, one that can produce a grand bargain on deficit reduction if only Republicans will respond in kind. The gushing first paragraph’s of the Washington Post’s story (by Lori Montgomery) are typical. But Obama’s proposal cannot serve as the basis for a grand bargain. Although it contains some useful steps forward on »

A Simple Solution, Favored the World Over

Featured image The big news in the upcoming Italian election is the rise of former comedian Beppe Grillo, whose party may finish as high as second in the voting. There is a lot about Grillo at The Corner. He sounds like a pretty typical bad-government populist; normally you would think it would be a disaster if he took power, but this is Italy, so things may or may not get worse. What »

Obama seeks to avoid going over half of the fiscal cliff

Featured image Throughout the “fiscal cliff” drama, I argued that once the middle class tax increase was called off (as seemed almost inevitable), Republicans would have the upper hand because President Obama fears sequestration more than Republicans do (or should). The key, then, was to keep sequestration on the table or, as I put it, “to go over half of the fiscal cliff.” Now that we are about to take that plunge, »

Why Is the Debt Limit Important?

Featured image Can’t the government, at the end of the day, just print money, with the unfortunate downside being inflation? It turns out that it isn’t actually that simple, because the framers of our financial system were pretty farsighted. And that, in turn, sheds light on why the debt ceiling is non-trivial. The Grumpy Economist, John Cochrane of the University of Chicago and the Hoover Institution, explains: First, just to be clear, »