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.

  • Industries afflicted with Baumol's Disease have slower productivity growth.

    Butter, Health Care and the Spread of Baumol’s Disease

    Dec 1, 12 • 657 Views • No Comments

    When butter makers had Baumol’s Disease, for centuries, there was no cure. From the 1700s to 1940, making butter required some cream, a churn and usually a woman with lots of time and energy to crank or plunge a shaft. When, in 1850, someone invented a......  [read more]

  • A Price Ceiling Has Unintended Consequences

    Do You Like Rent Control?

    Nov 30, 12 • 2112 Views • No Comments

    Asked if it makes sense to mandate lower rents for some apartments in large cities, many of us say yes. Lower rents facilitate diversity and they enable middle income municipal workers to live close to home. Affordability is good. Yes? The residents of......  [read more]

  • GDP...16843_5.2_9209625-gdp

    Do You Like the GDP?

    Nov 28, 12 • 494 Views • No Comments

    Having just come across the “Better Life Index,” I started thinking about Ed Koch, a former mayor of NYC who often asked everyone, “How am I doing?” Here are some thoughts about how to measure how well we are doing. The GDP:......  [read more]

  • Marijuana legalization is about demand, supply, market structure and cost benefit analysis.

    An Economic High?

    Nov 25, 12 • 969 Views • No Comments

    On November 6, Colorado voters resoundingly agreed that recreational use of marijuana would become legal. However, as Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper said, “…federal law still says marijuana is an illegal drug so don’t break out the Cheetos or......  [read more]

  • Tax Code Untouchables

    Nov 24, 12 • 445 Views • No Comments

    Just eliminate deductions and exclusions to cure our budget problems. Yes? Not so easy. Here is a list of the 20 largest “Tax Expenditures” for 2012 from Credit Suisse. As you can see, each provision connects to an incentive that makes it......  [read more]