Saturday, August 27, 2011

Some links on immigration

Let them come. (Economist)
Tap their earnings back home. (Economist)Link

Links on Macro stuff

Alternative macro indicators? (Economist)
The twitter version of Bernanke's Jackson Hole Speech: (1) high unemployment; (2) disinflation; (3) urgency; (4) it's not just structural; (5) we've still got ammo; (6) we're reloading; (7) short run fiscal stimulus still needed; (8) long run fiscal austerity always needed. (Freakonomics)
The twitter version of the long-term deficit problem: (1) Bush tax cuts. (Economix)
Can a double-dip be avoided? (Economist)
Pay incentives on Wall Street: get ready to go through this again soon. (VOX)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Monday, August 22, 2011

Some Links

Michelle Bachman's solution to high gas prices: another recession?
This always bears repeating. We live in one of the most peaceful times of the modern era.
Get up or pay!
The revenue-neutral carbon tax.
Diaspora bonds? Color me skeptical. Previous attempts to use active policy to sop up more of emigrants' surplus have not been so successful.
Biggest parenting mistakes ever? Mine, I'm sure, are still to come.
News flash: cash transfers dominate in-kind gifts.

Republican Tax Increases

Alex Tabarrok is on the Republicans today for wanting to increase taxes. I'm not in full agreement with him about tax increases in general (he thinks they should not be increased in general, and that less government and low taxes are roughly synonymous), but I wholeheartedly agree with the notion that the temporary payroll tax cuts proposed by Obama should not be allowed to expire.
Some things that puzzle me about the issue:
1. Payroll taxes are regressive (they affect lower-income workers more). Why would they want to raise payroll taxes during economic recession?
2. Payroll taxes are a direct impediment to private sector hiring. Why would they want to raise payroll taxes during economic recession?
3. One could argue that they aren't technically raising taxes; they're allowing existing cuts to expire, but the Republicans have argued that allowing tax cuts for the rich to expire would themselves be tantamount to tax increases. Why would they want to raise payroll taxes during economic recession?
4. Republicans have argued against cap and trade (not technically a tax) as well as against carbon taxes, both of which have been supported by economists of both parties as good ways to deal with emissions (subsidies for clean technologies that Republicans support are not as good) on the grounds that any tax on energy would disproportionately hurt low-income working Americans. So.... why would they want to raise payroll taxes during economic recession?
Lining up for payroll tax increases also seems to be a political no-win for Republicans politically. It only seems to cement the narrative that they don't really care about the economy itself, but rather that they represent the rich (sometimes at the expense of the poor).

Taxing Trades (This is not about tariffs)

I've thought about blogging this for a few weeks now, especially with all the talk about banning high frequency trading. I figure, if you think something is creating negative externalities (like high volumes of high frequency trades) then a small tax should help mitigate it, without as much of a negative impact on efficiency as an outright ban or fixed quantity restrictions.
I would apply similar logic to political contributions, but I'm sure some lawyer would argue that this would be taxing (and therefore restricting) speech.