The lies of Obamacare — bending the cost curve

Featured image One of the supposed benefits of Obamacare was that, somehow, it would “bend the cost curve” for health care cost — in other words, slow the rate of growth of these costs. Just how providing subsidized health care to millions would accomplish this feat was never clear. But the claim, nonetheless, was part of the sales pitch. The claim has persisted since Obamacare was enacted. Supporters note that lately health »

Marxist blues again

Featured image The visit of French economist Thomas Piketty to the United States has not quite induced Beatlemania, Scott Winship writes at Forbes, but rather the Washington analogue of teenage frenzy. In the New York Times, Jennifer Schuessler might lend credence to the Beatlemania that Winship disclaims. “Economist receives rock star treatment,” Schuessler reports. Indeed, you can see the frenzy through the New York Times alone. Yesterday’s Times brought us Ross Douthat’s »

Dems’ Wage-Gap Hypocrisy

Featured image No matter how many times the “77-cents-on-the-dollar” canard is refuted by the economically literate—most recently by my pals Mark Perry and Andrew Biggs yesterday in the Wall Street Journal—it refuses to die.  But in addition to lying, it is now apparent the Democrats pushing this line have no shame either.  Jennifer Rubin, using figures unearthed by the NRSC, points out: Mark Udall pays women 85 cents for every dollar that »

The staggering costs of Obamacare

Featured image Now that President Obama has completed his end-zone dance for perhaps signing up more people for health insurance than have been dropped from coverage due to Obamacare, it’s time for a sober look at the costs of his signature program. Our friend Tevi Troy, head of the American Health Policy Institute (AHPI), provides that look in a study called “The Cost of the Affordable Care Act to Large Employers.” The »

The Missing Ingredient: Economic Growth

Featured image Unemployment, low wages and lack of opportunity for income advancement dominate discussion of our economy these days. But an obvious ingredient is too often missing from the conversation: economic growth. Growth, the rising tide that lifts all boats, creates more jobs, more wealth, and more opportunities for advancement. The various ills that voters and politicians complain about are all largely the consequence of slow or non-existent growth. This is the »

On the Minimum Wage, Let’s Listen to the New York Times

Featured image As Scott noted earlier today, the New York Times and its administration-lapdog columnists, like Paul Krugman, are promoting the Democrats’ proposal to raise the federal minimum wage. No surprise there. But at one time, the Times–even its editorial board!–knew better. On January 14, 1987, the Times editorialized: The Right Minimum Wage: $0.00. Then, someone at the paper understood the laws of economics: [T]here’s a virtual consensus among economists that the »

Give Krugman a raise!

Featured image I love the stupidity of President Obama’s “Give America a raise” demand. He makes it on behalf of the little people, or the low-information voter, or the union funders of the Democratic Party. It’s almost enough to make you laugh. And of course Obama is supported in his plea by the New York Times and by man of the people op-ed columnist Paul Krugman. Krugman judiciously holds that the time »

The unsettled science of the minimum wage

Featured image The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. In search of a talking point for Democrats to rally around in lieu of Obamacare, President Obama seeks to raise the minimum wage precisely to $10.10. He and his spokesmen say it will do no harm. They cite studies. RCP’s Alexis Simendinger even appears to take the spokesmen and the studies at face value. It used to be one of the few »

The CBO’s New Report on the Minimum Wage

Featured image The Congressional Budget Office released a report today on the impacts of increasing the federal minimum wage, as Democrats are agitating to do. A technical analysis of the report’s conclusions is far beyond my competence, but no doubt economists will be weighing in over the days to come. I will simply take the report’s conclusions at face value. CBO analyzes two different increases in the federal minimum wage, to $10.10 »

Maduro madness

Featured image Henry Hazlitt wrote the classic economics primer Economics in One Lesson, originally published in 1946. The short February 9 news story “Toyota to leave Venezuela” could form the basis of a chapter applying “the lesson” (as Hazlitt does in Part Two of the book): Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro says he wants to speak to Toyota’s top official for Latin America after the carmaker said it would stop production in the »

More of the same in the latest jobs report

Featured image In January, the U.S. economy added only 113,000 jobs. Most forecasts were for job growth of closer to 200,000, which still would not have been all that impressive. On the other hand, the unemployment rate dropped slightly, from 6.7 to 6.6 percent. This has become the familiar pattern — anemic job growth coupled with very small decreases in the unemployment rate. Indeed, the theme of BLS’s “Employment Situation Summary” is »

Theory of the new leisure class

Featured image Thorstein Veblen made a name for himself with the publication of Theory of the Leisure Class in 1899. In a democracy, how can the rich distinguish themselves? Veblen came up with the notion of “conspicuous consumption” geared to the display of social status. The notion has long survived Veblen and the evidence for it seems to be all around us. (Digression: Charlotte Hays works the other side of the street, »

On Inequality, Voters Aren’t Buying the Democrats’ Solution

Featured image Word is that President Obama’s State of the Union speech will focus on inequality. This is no surprise, as the Democrats have concluded that inequality is the issue that gives them the best chance to distract from Obamacare’s failures and fire up their base. It also offers an implicit rejoinder to the fact that Obama has presided over a lousy economy for the last five years: sure the economy is »

He’s talking as fast as he can

Featured image Senior presidential advisor Dan Pfeiffer turned up on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace this morning in advance of Obama’s state of the union address this week. I give Pfeiffer credit for showing up. Wallace quizzed Pfeiffer on the weakness of the economy as measured by factors with which we have all become too familiar. In the video clip below, Pfeiffer claims some victories that he attributes to Obama and »

Spindle Time, Mostly on Economics

Featured image The stock market sold off hard today, supposedly because of economic turmoil and devaluations in developing countries.  Perhaps this is so, though I usually discount the snap analysis in the media about what drives the daily moves of the overall market, as opposed to individual sectors where industry slumps or disruptions (housing and banking anyone?) are more comprehensible.  I wonder whether the market may be sliding because of the downgrades »

U.S. No Longer In Top Ten For Economic Freedom

Featured image The world is a freer place than it has even been before, but unfortunately the United States is bucking the trend. While other countries and governments recognize that economic freedom is the path to prosperity, our own government saddles business with ever more onerous, expensive and unproductive regulations. Today the Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal released their annual ranking of the nations of the world, on the scale »

Minimum Wage: Might As Well Check in With Milton

Featured image John took notice here last week of how once upon a time even the New York Times understood that mandating a minimum wage that was above what the bottom end of the labor market would bear was economically unsound and hurt the very people it was designed most to help–though that seems to be a defining feature of a lot of government policy these days.  But then the Times caught »