How are your state’s finances?

February 11, 2014

Just how well do your state’s finances compare to those of other states? I sat down with our state policy group last week to discuss recent Mercatus research that ranks states’ fiscal condition based on the their 2012 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR). The findings contained in State Fiscal Condition: Ranking the 50 States by Dr. Sarah Arnett […]

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Farm bill replaces conspicuous subsidies with inconspicuous subsidies

February 4, 2014

From consumers and taxpayers, the farm bill taketh. But to economics teachers, it continues to giveth. The latest lesson comes courtesy of Ailsa Chang of NPR: Also getting criticism is the newly-reformed crop insurance program. Now the idea was to protect farmers during bad seasons. The new bill expands that program with money saved from […]

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Environmental Injustice at the EPA

February 3, 2014

This past week, the EPA’s science advisory board held a public hearing on efforts to measure the “environmental justice” (EJ) impacts of EPA rules. EJ refers to adverse human health and environmental effects of government policies on minority and low income populations in the US. The EPA has released draft guidance to agency analysts who […]

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9 Farm Bill Figures

January 29, 2014

In my last post, I made the case that the farm bill (which has now emerged from conference committee and just passed the House) makes an excellent teaching tool. Many students, of course, are visual learners. So I thought I might suggest a few farm bill figures. Let’s begin with farm subsidy outlays. These are […]

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The farm bill: a lesson in government failure

January 24, 2014

As a consumer and as a taxpayer, the farm bill is a monstrosity. But as someone who teaches public finance and public choice economics, it is a great teaching tool. Want to explain the concept of dead-weight loss? The farm bill’s insurance subsidies are a perfect illustration of the concept. They transfer resources from taxpayers […]

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The minimum wage and slower job growth

January 23, 2014

In my December post on Willie Lyons I linked to a new article on the minimum wage by Jonathan Meer and Jeremy West, both of Texas A&M. The paper merits a closer look as it points to a more nuanced minimum wage / unemployment relationship than you typically see in public policy debates. Namely, the […]

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Markets Fail and Governments Do Too

January 20, 2014

We often hear that markets fail when it comes to preserving the environment, so government regulation is needed to protect natural resources from the ravages of capitalism. But what happens when government regulations themselves get in the way of innovative ideas that move us towards a cleaner and more environmentally sustainable future? This is exactly […]

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Crony Capitalism and the Revolving Door

January 16, 2014

A colleague just handed me the latest issue of the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy (it’s hot off the presses, so an electronic link still isn’t available; here is a link to the previous issue). It features a short essay by Jonathan Macey of Yale Law School called “Crony Capitalism: Right Here, Right […]

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Can Democrats and Republicans Agree on Anything? Yes! (At least in principle)

January 8, 2014

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could look back one year from now and say that 2014 was the year in which Democrats and Republicans discovered substantial areas of ideological common ground? We’d laud them for putting aside their partisan prejudices, for simultaneously advancing economic freedom and social justice and for turning their collective backs […]

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Healthcare: Searching for Steve Jobs

January 8, 2014

Steve Jobs transformed technology, bringing affordable smart phones and personal computers to households across income levels and around the world. In a 15-minute podcast Dr. Robert Graboyes asks why health care hasn’t seen this kind of innovation and explores the potential for health care under free markets. Click here to listen or subscribe.  

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