Heartiste’s Questions

Regarding the future:

1. How is the present automation and productivity conundrum qualitatively different than ones from the past (for example, the classic case of the auto replacing the horse and carriage)? If you do not believe it is qualitatively different, explain how we escape the “zero marginal productivity” worker trap, especially in an . . . → Read More: Heartiste’s Questions

Consumer Demand is Not the Whole Picture

See if you can spot what’s missing:

Businesses aren’t investing in the United States because of a lack of consumer demand, International Paper CEO John Faraci said Friday.

“I think this was all about consumer spending and demand. You know, the problem we have is there’s inadequate demand to create jobs. We know how . . . → Read More: Consumer Demand is Not the Whole Picture

Compensation by county

So before you read further… quickly guess at what county in Southwestern Pennsylvania has the 2nd most lucrative jobs in region?  Allegheny County has been #1 for some time, if not as far back as it matters.. but #2 is………..

Just a random factoid the Bureau of Economic Analysis which came out with just . . . → Read More: Compensation by county

Still No Sympathy for the Poor

Here’s Bryan Caplan:

What about the “losers”? Bite your tongue. When you call lower-income people “losers,” you’re falsely assuming that we’re all racing for the same finish line: material success. But to a large extent, lower-income people are just racing for other finish lines. Leftist outrage over income inequality is therefore deeply misguided. To . . . → Read More: Still No Sympathy for the Poor

Interesting History

Walter E. Williams, on the federal income tax:

During the legislative debate before enactment of the 16th Amendment, Republican President William Taft and congressional supporters argued that only the rich would ever pay federal income taxes. In fact, in 1913, only one-half of 1 percent of income earners were affected. Those earning $250,000 a . . . → Read More: Interesting History

What the 'Long Tail' used to refer to

More back to the future in a way.  Income, poverty and general distribution issues used to be bigger topics in both academic research as well as the media and public discourse.  I once had a whole class just in how to measure poverty.  Seems to be a resurgence in the whole topic.

American Community . . . → Read More: What the ‘Long Tail’ used to refer to

2000 Words

Consider these charts:

As can be seen above, having a college degree is becoming worth less. And the cost continues to increase. Worst of all, one cannot default on student loans, so those who take on massive loans to fund their education will find that they are essentially slaves to the banks for . . . → Read More: The Value of College


Freakonomics asked if forgiving student loans en masse was a good idea. Here was their conclusion:

1. Distribution: If we are going to give money away, why on earth would we give it to college grads? This is the one group who we know typically have high incomes, and who have enjoyed income growth . . . → Read More: Jubilee?

Does the OECD's 'better life index' sound like fun?

I am not sure the OECD’s better life index is meant to be fun. But I have had some fun playing with it. The index is interactive. The fun comes from giving different weight to 11 different criteria (or topics as they are described by the OECD) and then observing how this affects rankings . . . → Read More: Does the OECD’s ‘better life index’ sound like fun?

Does Big Government Result in More Housework?

I found this to be the most interesting question explored in ‘Government Size and Implications for Economic Growth’, by Andreas Bergh and Magnus Henrekson. Before I explain, however, I want to provide some comments on the author’s conclusions about the effects of size of government on economic growth.

Bergh and Henrekson base their . . . → Read More: Does Big Government Result in More Housework?