Category Archives: Fiscal Policy

What George Orwell Knew

The mainstream media coverage of the economic impact of hurricanes Harvey and Irma has been very good. There is generally an acknowledgment of the individual human pain and suffering that comes from catastrophic natural disasters. The loss of human life is incalculable from an economic perspective. Upwards of 70 people have died because of hurricane Harvey and it is certainly possible that some people in the United States will lose their lives because of hurricane Irma. The human and economic… Continue Reading ››

President Trump’s Budget: Neither Great nor Terrible

A reader asked me to post something on President Trump’s proposed budget to Congress.  Opinions have varied as to whether this budget is the apocalypse on one end or the second coming on the other, and pretty much every nuance in between.  As with most budgets–though you may not remember the last one, since it has been some time–this one is only a prospective declaration of a vision embodied in numbers.  There is no likelihood it will be adopted as… Continue Reading ››

A Really Bad Legacy, and How to Reverse It

President Obama and his executive agencies set a new record for the number of pages of new regulations in one day: 527 pages (in a single day!).  For the year the number of pages so far is also a record, at 81,640 pages.  It is also worth noting that seven of the the top eight spots for number of pages of new regulations are held by the Obama administration:  2010, 20111, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016.  This data comes from… Continue Reading ››

Earmarks, Pork and the Meat Axe: Time for Action

Today Representative John Culbertson (R-Texas) pulled (that is, withdrew) a bill that would have made changes to the earmark ban the House imposed earlier.  An earmark is basically an addition to a bill that includes some kind of project or spending for the congressman’s home district.   It is a rider.  And normally, it constitutes “pork barreling” designed to get that representative re-elected.   So when I first read the headline that the bill was proposed by Culbertson, I thought, well, here… Continue Reading ››

Dueling Economic Proposals: Will They Sway Anyone?

I have so far avoided taking any position on the two main candidates for president.  For my colleague Mark Smith, don’t worry, I will.  I intend to continue the path of avoidance in this blog.  Today I would like to examine and evaluate each candidate’s economic program.  I say nothing about their personal morality, or personality, or anything except economic program as articulated formally.  Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have both now laid out their plans.  I will look first… Continue Reading ››

Protectionism, Donald Trump and the Kevin Williamson Blast

It seems this blog overlaps one just published by my colleague Jeff Haymond.  But I will publish mine anyway, since it nicely supplements his. Donald Trump has been saying quite a bit recently about the disappearance of (especially) manufacturing jobs in the South as well as the “Rust Belt,” blaming those lost jobs on the trade policies of both Democrats and “establishment” Republican politicians.  But in addition, an article appeared recently by Kevin Williamson, or at least is scheduled to… Continue Reading ››

Taxes Versus Spending

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a DC group, had this to say about Ted Cruz’s campaign proposals: “Republican presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) has, by our count, put forward seven sets of policy proposals on his campaign website covering areas such as immigration, military spending, and tax reform. By our very rough and initial estimates, these major initiatives could add anywhere from $3 to $21 trillion to the debt over the next decade, with our central cost… Continue Reading ››

Taxation and Ethics: Further Reflection

I have continued to read the comments on Jeff Haymond’s blog about progressive taxation, and my own complementary blog, and have decided I should make another foray into this subject to address in more depth the ethical theory of policies such as taxes (but, indirectly, others as well).  The question to begin is:  Is progressive taxation unbiblical and therefore unethical?  On that, I do have to admit from a strictly exegetical standpoint, no tax is either moral or immoral per… Continue Reading ››

How Big Should Government Be? The Politicians’ Answer

At the Democratic candidate debate last week, Bernie Sanders was asked how big government should be.  His response was illuminating, as was Hillary Clinton’s response to Sanders’ answer.  Here is part of what he said: WOODRUFF: “And, welcome back to this PBS Newshour debate, Democratic debate, here in Milwaukee. Let’s get right to the questions.  Senator Sanders, to you first. Coming off the results in Iowa and New Hampshire, there are many voters who are taking a closer look at you,… Continue Reading ››

The Trend of Economic Freedom in the United States

Yesterday the Heritage Foundation released the 2016 Index of Economic Freedom. This annual publication is produced by the Heritage Foundation in conjunction with the Wall Street Journal. In addition to the 2016 Index the foundation also published Economic Freedom in America, a supplement outlining trends in economic freedom in the United States. Figure 1 illustrates the overall composite freedom score of the United States from the inception date of the index in 1995 to the latest figures which cover through the midpoint of… Continue Reading ››