Tag: Budget and Tax Policy

“Hunger” Games »

As with their measurement of “poverty,” federal officials not surprisingly similarly play creatively with their definition of “hunger”—that is, “food insecurity.” As James Bovard explains in The Wall Street Journal, in releasing figures showing nearly 15% of the U.S. population as “food insecure,” the USDA has in fact polled Americans on their feeling that...
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Politics and Inequality »

The Federal Reserve has just released a survey indicating that income and wealth inequality has been growing in the United States since 2007. Meanwhile, President Obama has called for government action to reduce inequality. So, it is worth a remark that the growth in inequality reported by the Fed pretty much coincides with the...
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CalPERS Approves 99 New Ways to Spike California Public Pensions »

Today, in yet another act of fiscal irresponsibility, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) approved a list of 99 types of extra pay that can be used to calculate pension benefits for state and local government employees. The supplemental pay includes extra money that public employees earn when they briefly fill higher-paying jobs....
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Ralph Nader’s Unstoppable »

Ralph Nader’s new book, Unstoppable, describes a convergence of ideas on the political left and political right against the corporate state. The book says there is a broad consensus, from socialists to libertarians, who oppose government policies that provide corporate welfare and bailouts for the economic elite and impose the costs on everyone else....
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Who’s Behind IRS Targeting? Don’t Ask NPR »

As I’ve mentioned before, “All the President’s Men” is one of my all-time favorite movies, depicting the heroic efforts of two cub reporters relentlessly pursuing a story of little interest to others until their efforts eventually resulted in bringing down the entire Nixon administration. When it was discovered in the course of the Congressional...
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Soaring Pension Costs Devour School Budgets in California »

The revised budget unveiled in May by California Gov. Jerry Brown seeks to increase the amount of money that public school districts and their teachers would pay into the teacher pension fund going forward. The legislature must approve a budget by June 15 or legislators forfeit their pay until a budget is passed. The...
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Taxpayers Are Shocked to Discover That When They Vote for Government Services, They Have to Pay for Them »

Taxpayers in Austin, Texas, are upset that their property tax bills are rising. This article reports that taxpayer Gretchen Gardner is “at the breaking point” because of her increasing property taxes. Gardner says, “I have voted for every park, every library, all the school improvements, for light rail, for anything that will make this...
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How Valuable Is a Federal Grant? »

Sometimes, a federal grant is worthless. The federal government has the ability to attach enough costly provisions to its grants that the net value is less than zero. A recent case in my home town of Tallahassee illustrates this. The Tallahassee Democrat, May 21, page A1 (sorry, no link because a subscription is required)...
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Piketty on Inequality »

The ultimate thesis in Thomas Piketty’s Capitalism in the Twenty-First Century is that the return on capital is higher than the growth in output and wages, so the owners of capital will see their wealth, and therefore, incomes, rise faster than those who earn the bulk of their incomes through labor. The distribution of...
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Piketty’s Capital: IV »

I’ve made some observations about Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century already, here, here, and here, and in this post want to note the way that the twentieth-century welfare state has contributed to the inequality that Piketty has observed. Piketty observes that growing inequality is the result of the return on capital being...
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