Saying the Quiet Part Out Loud

Econ 101 instructors take note—a new illustration of the important microeconomic concept of incidence just dropped. Economists emphasize that there is a world of difference between legal and economic incidence. Legal incidence specifies who, on paper, has the right to claim a benefit or the obligation to bear a liability. Economic incidence analyzes which party receives a benefit or bears a cost in actuality. Who gets to command more or fewer resources?

Tariff Truths

In a classic case of damning with faint praise, former President Donald Trump recently expressed his affection for Chinese President Xi Jinping, while threatening to engage in a trade war with China if he is reelected as President. In typical Trumpian style, he feted Xi as a smart, strong leader while also stating that while he is not specifically looking for a trade war, import duties even greater than the 60 percent he was previously reported as considering are completely on the table. An equitable fellow if ever there was one, Mr. Trump has also announced plans to ostensibly revitalize American manufacturing by levying a 10 percent tariff on imported goods across the board. This is hardly new, nor limited to Trump, as President Biden has maintained his predecessor’s duties on some $370 million worth of Chinese imports. Both national conservatives and liberal protectionists are dead wrong about tariffs and growth.

Would Taxing the Rich More Fix the National Debt?

At more than $34.3 trillion, the fact the national debt is truly a national liability is becoming hard for politicians to hide. Especially since paying the interest owed on the national debt has become the fastest growing major category of government spending.

Fiscal Commission to Focus on National Debt Taking Shape in U.S. Congress

The U.S. Congress hasn’t done much in the past month with one notable exception. The U.S. House of Representatives made progress toward establishing a commission to address the nation’s worsening fiscal situation.

Why Shareholder Firms Tend to Persist Over Worker-Owned Models

Over at AIER, my Mere Economics co-author reveals one weird trick for the working class to bloodlessly seize the means of production. I won’t steal Art’s thunder, but suffice it to say that this “revolution” would be voluntary every step of the way.

Is America Fiddling While Rome Burns?

While the U.S. Senate was busy approving another $95 billion for various foreign policy purposes, two important things were happening to which almost no one in Congress was paying attention. One was the released January inflation data; the other was the updated Congressional Budget Office (CBO) 10-year fiscal outlook. 

This Time Isn’t Different

William F. Buckley once defined a conservative as “Someone who stands athwart history, yelling Stop.” With apologies to Buckley, we might define an economist as someone who stands athwart the contemporary public policy conversation, yelling, “This time isn’t different!”

The Perils of Running a Restaurant (or Any Business) in California
California's fast-food minimum wage hike is already claiming numerous casualties

It is no secret that the state and local governments make California a very difficult place to do business. The Golden State maintained its perennial position of the worst business climate in the country in Chief Executive magazine’s annual “Best and Worst States for Business” survey of hundreds of CEOs from across the nation. (Texas, Florida, and Tennessee once again topped the list.) But things are particularly bad for restaurant owners, and substantial increases in the minimum wage are only making them worse.

Nevada’s Bet on the Oakland A’s Is Causing Buyer’s Remorse

There are some big signs that the people of Las Vegas and the state of Nevada are getting genuine buyer’s remorse over the Oakland Athletics.

Stock Traders in Congress Beat the Market Again

2023 was a good year for the stock market. CNN reported the year’s performance stats for the three most well-known U.S. stock market indices.

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