Tag: Budget and Tax Policy

More Bad News about the Medicare Doc Fix »

Opposition to the outrageous so-called Medicare doc fix bill, which will increase the federal deficit by $141 billion, is growing. Michael Cannon of the Cato Institute explains how this will “bust the budget.” My Forbes editor, Avik Roy, pleads that the Senate stop this monstrosity (which passed the House by a huge majority). On…
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How Big Is Government in the United States? »

How big is government in the United States? The answer depends on the concept used to define its size. Although many such concepts are available, and several are used from time to time, by far the most common measure, especially in studies by economists, is total government spending (G) as a percentage of the…
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The Costs and Benefits of Ethanol »

Here’s a back-of-the-envelope calculation on how much the mandate to require ethanol in motor fuel costs consumers, and benefits farmers. This article notes that in 2000 about 5% of the corn crop went to the production of ethanol, and by 2013, 40% of the corn crop was devoted to ethanol production. The increased demand…
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Shining Spotlight on Bogus U.C. Berkeley “Think Tank” During National Sunshine Week »

This week is National Sunshine Week, a time when many journalists across America publish stories on government spending and transparency. One organization that needs more sunshine is the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment (IRLE) at the University of California at Berkeley, a union propaganda mill disguised as an academic think tank and…
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Obamacare Costs Are Shrinking – So Should Its Taxes »

The Congressional Budget Office’s March budget baseline updates the agency’s estimates of costs and insurance coverage due to Obamacare. The March baseline estimates that the gross cost of Obamacare’s subsidies and Medicaid spending for the years 2016 through 2025 will be $1.7 trillion, $286 billion less than it had estimated in the January baseline. The CBO…
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How Much of Federal Transfer Payments Are Obamacare Subsidies? More than You Think! »

January’s Personal Income and Outlays report from the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis shows how significant Obamacare’s subsidies to households have become. Last month, they accounted for 21 percent of the increase in total government transfer payments to households: Personal current transfer receipts increased $24.8 billion in January, compared with an increase of $13.8 billion…
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Florida’s Fiscal Policy: Responsible State Budgeting »

I’ve written a study for the Mercatus Center at George Mason University on Florida’s state government fiscal policy, which can be accessed here. The bottom line is that in an era of growing government and fiscal irresponsibility, Florida’s state government has a record of fiscal responsibility dating back two decades. Both state government expenditures…
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What Makes a Miserable Country? »

Venezuela is the world’s most miserable country, according to a team of researchers at Johns Hopkins University who have calculated a World Misery Index. “Misery” is measured as the sum of a country’s inflation rate, unemployment rate, and interest rate, minus the annual percentage change in real GDP per capita. The higher the total…
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U.S. Government Debt Is Now at a Once-Unimaginable Level »

Earlier today I was looking through some old records, and I came across a flyer for a symposium in which I participated at Seattle University early in 1990. The flyer announced the symposium topic by asking: “A $3 Trillion National Debt: Does It Matter? What Can We Do About It?” The topic seemed timely…
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“Site-Neutral” Medicare Payments: A Good Idea from President Obama’s Budget »

Imagine that there are two providers of the same service. Their quality and timeliness are comparable. However, one provider charges significantly more than the other. In a normally functioning market, you would expect that the more expensive provider would have to significantly change its cost structure to stay in business. What if the more…
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