Paul Ryan on Fixing Entitlements
Rep. Paul Ryan: "We’re really on the cusp of trading our free market democracy, the American idea, for a cradle-to-grave social welfare state that will bankrupt us."
Professor Mark J. Perry's Blog for Economics and Finance
Top Students Earn Big Money for Egg Donations
CHICAGO — "Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has won the support of dozens of church ministers in its long-running battle to expand in Chicago, a sign of how the recession has softened skepticism of the retailer in a community desperate for jobs. The ministers, most of them African-Americans together representing thousands of congregants, are pressuring the city council to grant approval for a Wal-Mart "supercenter"—a store with a full grocery that also sells general merchandise—on the city's South Side. The ministers who support Wal-Mart say that if the city council doesn't act favorably on an ordinance that would allow the Chatham Wal-Mart, they will campaign against elected officials.
Federal Reserve data show that the M2 growth rate on an annual basis fell in the week ending March 15 to 0.85%, the lowest money growth rate since May 1995 (see graph above). Notice also in the graph above that M2 growth in 2001 was actually above 10% for a longer period of time, than the money supply growth in early 2009. Further, there has been a much sharper decline in money growth in the last year than the decline between 2002 and 2005, when the growth rate fell but never went below 2.5%. In each of the last 10 weeks, M2 growth has been below 2.5%. Considering that average annual inflation never got higher than 3.4% in 2005 following the 10% M2 increase in 2001, so it just doesn't seem like there's enough money growth to create inflationary pressure now, at least nothing higher than maybe 3%.
NEW YORK (Reuters) - "What's the value of a pint of beer? Let the market decide, says a new restaurant in Manhattan where prices for food and beverages will fluctuate like stock prices in increments according to demand."
The CBOE Volatility Index (^VIX) closed at 16.35 today, the lowest closing value since May 15, 2008 and the second lowest closing value since July 2007, more than two-and-a-half years ago (see top chart above). The VIX has closed at or below 17.0 for five consecutive days, for the first time since July 2007.
"The free market, by enabling people to compete openly, is the most effective device that has ever been invented for making people pay for their prejudices, and thus for making it costly for them to exercise it. What you do when you impose equal pay for equal work law, is that you make the expression of prejudice costless, and as a result you harm the people you intend to help."
Thanks to Matt Bixler.
"Last Thursday, the Congressional Budget Office reported that health care reform legislation would, over the next 10 years, cost about $950 billion, but because it would raise some revenues and lower some costs, it would also lower federal deficits by $138 billion. In other words, a bill that would set up two new entitlement spending programs — health insurance subsidies and long-term health care benefits — would actually improve the nation’s bottom line.
Median priced existing single-family home in the Midwest (January 2010): $127,200
"Gallup has been polling public opinion about unions since the 1930's. Last year, for the first time, less than half (48 percent) of those surveyed approved of unions. Fifty one percent said unions "mostly hurt" the U.S. economy and 39 percent said they "mostly help." The percentage of the nation's private sector work force that belongs to a union has dropped precipitously. In the 1950's, over 30 percent belonged to unions. Today it's a little over seven percent.
In 2007, the ratio of the median earnings of women and the median earnings of men was 79.6 percent, reflecting a raw gender wage gap of 20.4 percent.
Last November, Martin Feldstein pointed out a fatal flaw of Obamacare in the Washington Post: It will be rational for individuals and companies to drop their current health insurance, pay the penalties, and wait to purchase insurance when they get sick:
"Obama has called on China to adopt a more "market-oriented exchange rate." The US Treasury Department, meanwhile, has set a mid-April deadline to decide whether China truly is a "currency manipulator," warning that America could impose new levies on Chinese products if that's judged to be the case.
The president is playing with fire. For one thing, his country is being kept afloat by China's willingness to keep buying U.S. government debt. Obama really should tread carefully. At the same time, the US is now at risk of sparking what could be an all-out trade war.
The reality is that America's "weak dollar" policy – its long-standing practice of allowing its currency to depreciate in order to lower the value of its foreign debts – amounts to the biggest currency manipulation in human history. At the same time, the U.S. has, for years, shamefully stalled on various rulings passed by the World Trade Organisation that show America to be breaching global trade rules.
Chinese inflation is now at 2.7% – close to the official 3% target. Beijing will eventually allow the yuan to rise, but in its own time and in order to tackle inflation and not because of US pressure. America needs to act smarter and get its own economic house in order. Obama has decided instead to lash out at China in a desperate attempt to placate a U.S. electorate increasingly mindful of their president's failings."
MP: The U.S. has also stalled the free trade agreements with Panama, Colombia and South Korea, which were passed in 2007 and are now languishing into a fourth year.
Link. (Odds at 10:16 a.m.: 84%)
From Reason.tv (via Cafe Hayek).