Archive | Economics


Wage Discrimination

There are inequalities everywhere. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Asian men and women have median earnings higher than white men and women. Female cafeteria attendants earn more than their male counterparts. Females who are younger than 30 and have never been married earn salaries 8 percent higher than males of the same description.

ObamaCare’s First Few Years

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act—otherwise known as ObamaCare—is almost four years old. Despite the technical troubles, what every American should know about the law is that whatever its provisions, whatever the press propagandizes or reports, the individual has no control of, or choice in, health insurance or medicine. Not if you’re a doctor, patient […]

A Return to Keynes?

Under Calvin Coolidge, the ultimate in non-interventionist government, the annual unemployment rate got down to 1.8 percent. How does the track record of Keynesian intervention compare to that?

Debt Ceiling Delusions

The popular take on the current debt ceiling stand-off is that the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party has a delusional belief that it can hit the brakes on new debt creation without bringing on an economic catastrophe. While Republicans are indeed kidding themselves if they believe that their actions will not unleash deep […]

The Golden Cycle

The New York Times had the definitive take on the vicious sell off in gold. To summarize one of their articles: Two years ago gold bugs ran wild as the price of gold rose nearly six times. But since cresting two years ago it has steadily declined, almost by half, putting the gold bugs in […]

Economics vs. ‘Need’

One of the most common arguments for allowing more immigration is that there is a “need” for foreign workers to do “jobs that Americans won’t do,” especially in agriculture. One of my most vivid memories of the late Armen Alchian, an internationally renowned economist at UCLA, involved a lunch at which one of the younger […]

Defending Capitalism: Ayn Rand vs. Hayek

Ayn Rand publicly recommended the works of Mises but not of Hayek. Today, when Hayek is much better known than Mises, it’s worth seeing why. I came to the full realization of what’s wrong with Hayek’s approach while re-reading Atlas Shrugged. No, not in Galt’s speech, but surprisingly in the section describing the Minnesota harvest […]

The “Free Rider Problem”

Advocates of a number of government interventions often argue that such measures are required to deal with the “free rider problem.” Indeed, Mitt Romney has called his insurance mandate in Massachusetts a “free rider surcharge.” Wikipedia describes the “free rider problem” as: In economics, collective bargaining, psychology, and political science, a free rider (or freeloader) […]

The Fallacy of the Broken Window

First published in 1946, Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt remains one of best books on economics ever published. The lesson, to paraphrase Hazlitt, is that economists must look beyond the immediate and visible consequences of economic policies; they must look at the long term and “unseen” consequences. Hazlitt begins his lesson with the […]

“Trickle Up” Economics

The savings of the wealthy and the innovation of entrepreneurs combined to create a huge benefit for society. Call it trickle down if you want, but it would be more honest to simply call it effective. This is the system that built this country. Relying on trickle up will surely destroy it.

Telephones, Technology, and Freedom

For decades, it has been argued that certain goods are “natural monopolies,” which Investopedia describes as: A type of monopoly that exists as a result of the high fixed or start-up costs of operating a business in a particular industry. … The utilities industry is a good example of a natural monopoly. The costs of establishing a means to […]

Government Job Creation Kills Real Jobs

President Obama has long told us that “green” energy would create thousands of jobs. His administration has “invested” billions of tax dollars in a myriad of “green” industries. Predictably, the results have been the opposite of what we were promised. As one example, a story in the Houston Chronicle tells us: A123 Systems, a battery […]

“Crony Capitalism” is Fascism

Imagine that you start a business, and after years of hard work, you achieve the success that you had long thought possible. How would you react if, after achieving success, the government told you that you must pay a portion of your revenues to your competitors? The government “justifies” this policy, not because you have […]

The “Limits” of Economic Progress

A few weeks ago I caught a portion of a radio program in which a commentator argued that economic progress has limits.  He used a hamster as an example: For the first few weeks of his life, a hamster doubles in size each week. If he did this for a year, he would weight nine […]

Obama on Capital Gains: No Winners

“If you make more than $1 million a year, you should not pay less than 30 percent in taxes,” asserted President Obama in his State of the Union speech. For those with predominantly investment income, that would effectively double their capital gains tax rate from the current 15 percent rate, producing a triple negative impact […]