Economic Debates

Most economic decisions can be debated. We have to decide whether we want higher or lower taxes, where to cut government spending, whether the deficit matters, if a business should have more regulation, if marginal analysis should affect environmental regulation. Learning about economics involves defending policy alternatives.

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    Savers or Borrowers?

    Apr 5, 11 • 452 Views • No Comments

    In 1987, a $100 savings account would have earned close to $9 in interest. In 2005, $3.75 or so. Now, maybe 47 cents? The WSJ, had a good article describing how savers are suffering. The retirees who expected to depend on interest income until they died have...  [read more]

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    Corporate Tax Matters

    Apr 3, 11 • 415 Views • No Comments

    CBS’s 60 minutes, the NY Times, Forbes, all seem to be talking about how large corporations avoid paying U.S. income taxes. GE, for example, has one of the biggest tax returns (24,000 pages) and the smallest payments. How? For many multinationals, a...  [read more]

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    “Free” Kidney Treatment

    Apr 2, 11 • 273 Views • No Comments

    In October 1972, Congress decided that the federal government should pay for treating chronic kidney disease. Concerned that care went primarily to those who could afford it, Congress proclaimed dialysis and transplants an entitlement for almost all of us....  [read more]

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    Looking Back at a Decision

    Mar 26, 11 • 316 Views • No Comments

    Testifying in 1978, one public official said that economists, citing cost and benefit, recommended using a lower level of levee protection against hurricanes in Louisiana than he thought was necessary. (p. 90 of the Congressional Report on Hurricane Katrina)...  [read more]

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    Replacing Broken Windows

    Mar 24, 11 • 297 Views • No Comments

    During a CNBC interview, former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers said that Japan’s massive earthquake “…may lead to some temporary increments, ironically, to GDP, as a process of rebuilding takes place.” Commenting on the interview,...  [read more]