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North Carolina Reconsiders its Rejection of Corporate Welfare

September 2, 2014

A couple of weeks ago, something surprising happened in North Carolina. As the Carolina Journal explained: RALEIGH — Twenty-eight House Republicans bolted party ranks Tuesday, joining 26 Democrats to defeat an economic incentives program that some labeled “corporate welfare.” It was a rebuke to House Speaker Thom Tillis, R-Mecklenburg, Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, and […]

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Ex-Im in 5 Minutes

August 26, 2014

What is Ex-Im? What does it do? Is it, on net, a good deal for the U.S.? Here is my attempt to answer these questions in five minutes. Many thanks to the multi-talented Charles Blatz for making this possible.

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Paving over pension liabilities, again

August 18, 2014

Public sector pensions are subject to a variety of accounting and actuarial manipulations. A lot of the reason for the lack of funding discipline, I’ve argued, is in part due to the mal-incentives in the public sector to fully fund employee pensions. Discount rate assumptions, asset smoothing, and altering amortization schedules are three of the […]

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Ex-Im’s Deadweight Loss

August 6, 2014

To hear defenders of Ex-Im talk, you’d think that export subsidies are ALL upside and no downside. Economic theory suggests otherwise. Clearly, some benefit from export subsidies. The most-obvious beneficiaries are the 10 or so U.S. manufacturers whose products capture the bulk of Ex-Im’s privileges (if they didn’t benefit, their “all hands on deck” public […]

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Municipalities in fiscal distress: state-based laws and remedies

July 29, 2014

The Great Recession of 2008 “stress tested” many policies and institutions including the effectiveness of laws meant to handle municipal fiscal crises. In new Mercatus research professor Eric Scorsone of Michigan State University assess the range and type of legal remedies offered by states to help local governments in financial trouble. “Municipal Fiscal Emergency Laws: […]

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Would cutting Ex-Im’s ties to the U.S. Treasury amount to “unilateral disarmament”?

July 15, 2014

Before winning this year’s World Cup championship, Germany faced a dilemma during its qualifying match against the United States. Both teams could ensure their advancement in the tournament by colluding to do nothing. If they tied, both would advance. If one of them won, the other might not advance. However, neither could ensure that the […]

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Are Uber and Lyft the next jitney?

July 12, 2014

This July marks the 100-year anniversary of the American Jitney. An early incarnation of Uber and Lyft, it was an enormously popular service that was at one point found in 175 U.S. cities. Haven’t heard of it? That’s because most major cities quickly regulated it out of existence. My colleague, Michael Farren, and I explore […]

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When new ideas meet old regulatory solutions

July 7, 2014

With the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission recently issuing cease-and-desist letters to ride-share services Lyft and Uber, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto invoked the Age of Reptiles to describe the decision: “Technologies like ride-sharing evolve with the times and state regulators must, too,” said Mayor Peduto in a prepared statement. “While the commission may wish for Pennsylvania […]

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Corporate Bailouts: the REAL Trickle-down Economics

July 7, 2014

Advocates of corporate welfare often claim that when governments privilege a handful of firms, the rest of the economy somehow benefits. This is how the Bush Administration sold the bank bailouts. It’s how the current Administration sold the auto bailouts. And it’s how the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is trying to sell the Export-Import Bank. […]

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Some private sector pensions also face funding trouble

July 2, 2014

A new report by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp (PBGC) warns that while the market recovery has helped many multiemployer pension plans improve their funding there remain some plans that,”will not be able to raise contributions or reduce benefits sufficiently to avoid insolvency,” affecting between 1 and 1.5 million of ten million enrollees. Multiemployer plans are […]

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