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Archive for January, 2017
Obamacare’s Bureaucracy: The Amazing Rise in Health Insurance Jobs

As Congress and President-elect Trump debate how to repeal and replace Obamacare, the obsession with health insurance, rather than actual access to health care, has dominated the debate. It invites the question: How have jobs in health insurance fared before and after Obamacare? They have boomed! Before the Great Recession, nonfarm civilian employment peaked…
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Ideology, Identity, Solidarity, and Collective Action

The interrelated complex of ideology, identity, solidarity, and collective action form the ground level in fruitful social analysis. Leaving out this complex, as both mainstream and Austrian economists usually do, means that one sacrifices the opportunity to understand what otherwise seems inexplicable or gets explained only by bizarrely twisting the standard model.   At…
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Escaping Philly’s Soda Tax

On January 1, the city of Philadelphia enacted a soda tax, or a “Sweetened Beverage Tax ” (SBT). The new policy levies a tax of 1.5 cents per ounce on most drinks containing a sugar-based sweetener or artificial sugar substitute (e.g. high fructose corn syrup). The following infographics from the Philadelphia Inquirer show the…
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Obamacare’s Individual Mandate and Tax Credits Are Really, Really Inefficient

Obamacare’s least popular feature is the individual “mandate” to have health insurance. This requirement was the subject of the 2012 lawsuit asserting Obamacare was unconstitutional: Never before had the federal government forced any resident to buy a good or service from a private business. The people lost that argument. Nevertheless, whether we label the…
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Members of Congress Boycotting the Inauguration: What Are They Protesting?

As the inauguration of Donald Trump approaches, this article says “A growing number of Democratic lawmakers are boycotting President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration,” and “Some members of Congress have said they will be protesting in Washington, D.C., and in their districts instead.”  What are they protesting? The article gives brief statements from 25 Democrats who…
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What Trump Can Learn from the Treaty that Created America

In January, the winds of political change often blow with ferocity. The District of Columbia is now bracing itself for a gale-force disruption as Donald Trump prepares to become the 45th President of the United States. An upheaval in foreign affairs, trade, and immigration policy is in the offing. It’s tempting to focus solely…
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Fake News, Fake Politics, and Fake Policy

Fake news has been a hot topic recently. All sides of the political sound and fury surrounding the recent presidential election have leveled charges and counter-charges against their opponents in this regard. Democrats, embracing a newfound, touchingly naive faith in the CIA and the other agencies of the so-called intelligence community, have claimed that…
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Obama Economists’ Bad Obamacare Economics

President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) has issued its valedictory report on the state of Obamacare. The gist of its argument is that Obamacare is doing fine, on the verge of overcoming its growing pains since 2014. Critics (like me) who suspect the 25 percent increase in premiums for 2017 are a problem…
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More Money, More Problems: Venezuela’s Minimum Wage Won’t Help Inflation

It seems like Venezuela always provides great classroom examples for all the wrong reasons. I’ve written on this blog multiple times about the government of Venezuela and the polices it has enacted. I’ve argued that falling oil prices aren’t to blame for the country’s troubles and that the once-high oil prices only masked the underlying…
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Why Donald Trump Is Obama’s Logical Successor (And How an App Might Help)

Establishment Republicans have been beating their breasts over Trump’s election no less than Hillary’s supporters, bewildered that a man so beyond the pale could have been the Republican nominee, much less President-elect. Chief among their theories is that a stronger national committee mechanism to identify and back their favored (read: establishment-representative) candidate for the…
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