Posts in Economics
Private Virtue, Our Only Hope

Although our country was founded upon this energetic contest, our Founders also stressed the importance of personal and civic virtue. Benjamin Franklin argued that “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.” Franklin argued that political corruption follows a lack of virtue, not of ambition.

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The Gospel of Envy

If the 2016 Democratic primary is any indication, 13 million Americans today are ready to embrace the socialist label. What explains this fascination with a toxic ideology that’s responsible for tens of millions of deaths? American socialists appear not to care about the rising standard of living; rather, they seem to be motivated more by envy of the wealth and success of others.

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Wince and Repeat: Government Money and the Corruption of Higher Education

It seems the lesson to learn from the introduction of Title IV is that, when government tries to make college more affordable, college becomes less affordable. The lesson does not seem unique to education, but to human nature. The education industry, which has become a sausage cocktail of special interests, government money, and the youthful desire for a good time, does not provide the groundwork for good “student outcomes.”

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Contra Senator Sanders

Senator Bernie Sanders is at it again with yet another harebrained scheme. He has rolled out a plan to guarantee to every American a publicly funded job, paying $15 per hour, with an additional $3 for health benefits. The price tag on this proposed plan is around $450 billion dollars, or 2.3% of America’s GDP. Unsurprisingly, Mr. Sanders’ plan faces a multitude of political and economic hurdles. In order to fund this program Sanders calls for large tax increases to be levied on America’s top earners and the ever expanding bracket of who this includes.

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The 100% Debt Club

Being part of the 100% debt club is not a designation that countries should strive for, as significant debt has been shown to slow economic growth. Slower economic growth leads to slower job creation and expansion. That said, being a member of the club does not, by default, lead to economic disaster. Some countries’ economies can handle the amount of debt while they work to decrease their debt-to-GDP ratio.

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All Laws Matter: A Response to Josh Frey

While I sympathize with the sentiments of Christians who wish for a moral country, I cannot join Mr. Frey in the opinion that Blue Laws, like those set to begin in Poland, will do any such thing. Sunday Blue Laws are Sin Taxes without the tax benefits, which remove from business owners the right to signal their virtues to the public, and from the public the right to act upon those signals.

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Blue Laws Matter

Would blue laws produce massive cultural changes overnight? Of course not. However, they could provide Americans with an opportunity to take a break from their busy schedule once a week and spend time with their families, go to church, or otherwise enjoy their day in a way that has nothing to do with commerce.

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Can Skyscrapers Predict a Recession?

However, notwithstanding these objections, the Skyscraper Index still yields valuable information on the business cycle, both in predicting its effects, and in illustrating the patterns inherent in fluctuations in economies. If someone wants to understand the business cycle, the answer lies not just in charts and spreadsheets, but right outside their window.

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