All posts by Jeff Haymond

Yes, political economy can even come up in spiritual mentoring discussions!

Dick Armey, the former majority leader of the House of Representatives during the 90s, used to say something to the effect of “Republicans are always afraid you won’t understand the issue; Democrats are always afraid you will”  Democrats seemingly could care less about reams of data, but live and die by the anecdote–they just need one real face with a stirring heart story to put in front of the camera.  While this is not universally true, it is true that… Continue Reading ››

Please, let me pay more taxes!

And it must be compulsory, through taxation, as government is “what we do together.”  So this past week we saw Seattle pass an income tax (which may be unconstitutional), amid the cry of its citizens to be allowed to pay their fair share. …backers of the measure rallied supporters, including software developer Carissa Knipe, who told the council before its 9-0 vote on Monday that she earns more than $170,000 and endorses the tax measure.  “Seattle should serve everyone, not… Continue Reading ››

From Russia with Love

I don’t pretend to know what is going on in the Russia/Trump imbroglio, but we ought to have a bit of discussion on this, since its all the media will cover in the headlines.  First, I will say that I think there is a lot of room for Christians to disagree on the seriousness of the issue.  And in full disclosure, that despite being generally not a fan of some of Mr. Trump’s policies and much of his personal style and… Continue Reading ››

Seeing the things unseen–the case of the disappearing retail jobs

Henry Hazlitt said: The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists of tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups. The drumbeat gets louder daily about Amazon crushing retailers, and it is no doubt true.  People love the convenience of a click and two days later, the item is on our doorstep.  So retail jobs are going… Continue Reading ››

Predicting socialist policies lead to disaster is like shooting fish in a barrel

In a response to a recent post on the need for us to pray for the poor people of Venezuela, one poster suggested the problems weren’t socialism, but over-dependence on one export–oil.  And since the price of oil has dropped so dramatically, that has caused the problems.  While that is a superficial reason, one has to look at deeper reasons as to why they were overly dependent upon oil, and we also must examine why the oil industry in Venezuela was… Continue Reading ››

Venezuela is starving, please pray

From today’s WSJ, Venezuela is starving (gated).  No political economy discussion really needed here.  The socialist experiment is turning Venezuela into North Korea, with all the attendant misery. This is potentially going to be worse than Syria. This is an unmitigated, albeit predictable, disaster.   No need to discuss the issue as to why, just pray for these poor people.  May God have mercy on them.

Puerto Rico Bankruptcy–is bankruptcy ever a good thing?

Puerto Rico is trying to use a bankruptcy provision approved last year to ameliorate its $123B debt.   Now this is important for many reasons but I just want to focus on one.  This bankruptcy, and the potential of stiffing the bondholders, will be beneficial in the long run.  Why?  I mean, we all think people should pay their debts, don’t we?  So why shouldn’t Puerto Rico? I think the concept of Odious Debt applies here.  Politicians will often promise… Continue Reading ››

Trumpian Tax Triumph?

Mr. Trump unveiled his tax plan earlier this week, and there was something for almost every conservative to like.  Our current obscene corporate tax rate of 39% is the highest among industrial nations (only exceeded by Chad and the UAE), but doesn’t yield all that much revenue, so Mr. Trump proposes drastically reducing it to 15%.   As shown in the figure above, that would put the U.S. slightly more competitive than the average country, instead of being the most… Continue Reading ››

Does capital capture all the productivity gains of our modern economy, with labor getting nothing? A short case study in how to deal with competing claims

Thanks to our frequent critic Mr. Adams, we have the opportunity to think about how we deal with “facts” that go against everything we know to be true.  When the latest scientific study comes out claiming that global warming is happening (despite no warming in the last 20 years), or that the minimum wage actually doesn’t cause any negative effects, or almost any other competing claim (especially in the social sciences), how do we assess it?  We don’t want to… Continue Reading ››

Paul Krugman is right (to a degree), and some readers never thought I’d say that!

Paul Krugman, the Nobel Laureate economist who writes op-ed’s for the NYT’s, delights in ideological conflict with conservatives.  And there are whole hosts of blog sites that routinely spar back with him, such as this Austrian post.  So I generally disagree with him.  Yet his post earlier this week has a lot of merit to it.  Krugman takes Mr. Trump to task for highlighting the importance of manufacturing jobs, and asks the great question as to why aren’t other jobs lauded?… Continue Reading ››