Monday , January 25 2021
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Tag Archives: Beat the Press

More Mind Reading at the Washington Post

I wonder if the Washington Post lists mind reading abilities as requirement for its economic reporters. They so often feel the need to do it. The latest is a piece about the response of Republicans in Congress to President Biden’s proposed rescue package. At one point the piece tells us: “But when Biden’s relief plan rang in at nearly $2 trillion this month, and included liberal priorities like an increase in the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, some Republicans saw it as a...

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Trump Crazy and Intellectual Crazy

It’s hard not to be appalled and scared by the reality denial of Donald Trump’s followers. Their willingness to insist an election was stolen, with no evidence whatsoever, is difficult to understand for those of us who like to think that people respond to facts and logic. I don’t have any easy answers to get these people to start thinking clearly, but I will point out that it is not just ignorant and/or crazed Trumpers who have trouble dealing with reality. Many of our leading intellectuals...

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The DeFazio Bill: Reducing the Financial Industry’s Tax on Retirement Savings

Representative Peter DeFazio, along with seven House co-sponsors, introduced the “Wall Street Tax Act” today. This bill would impose a tax of 0.1 percent of sales of stocks, bonds, options, and other derivatives. According to the Congressional Budget Office, it would raise almost $800 billion over the course of the next decade. This would be more than enough to cover the entire food stamp budget over this period. It would be almost enough to fully replace the annual research spending of the...

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Even In the Face of Coup Attempt, NYT Continues Propaganda for Upward Redistribution Through Trade

I have repeatedly raised the point that media accounts routinely use the term “free trade” when they can more accurately say simply “trade” or trade policy. It is amazing to me that this practice continues. We saw it yet again in a NYT article on how many Republicans continue to be faithful to Trump even after last week’s coup attempt. The article told readers: “Anthony Sabatini, a Florida state representative, described Ms. Cheney and other Republicans who...

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Debt and Deficits, Yet Again

With a Democrat in the White House, the season of the deficit hawk has returned. So, it’s worth going through the old arguments just to remind everyone that the best response to these people is ridicule. It looks like President Biden will propose a robust stimulus package of well over $1 trillion. According to press accounts, the package is likely to include another check for $2,000. (I believe it is supposed to $1,400 above the $600 in the last package.) It is likely to include a refundable...

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New York Times Joins Trump’s Anti-China Crusade

There is no doubt that bureaucratic bungling and authoritarian practices slowed China’s response to the coronavirus. A New York Times piece documents many of these failings. But, it is a big step to go from the evidence presented in the article to the assertion in the first paragraph: “Beijing acted against the coronavirus with stunning force, as its official narratives recount. But not before a political logjam had allowed a local outbreak to kindle a global pandemic.” The...

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End of the Year Thoughts on Inequality and Its Remedies

The approach of the end of the year seems a good time to sum up thoughts. My comments here will not be news to regular readers, but may be to others. Also, this exercise is helpful for me to keep my thoughts clear. (I also expect to take next week off, so you won’t be hearing from me for a while.) Most of my work for the last several years has been focused on ways to reduce before tax inequality by reducing the amount of before-tax income that goes to those at the top of the income...

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All In for $2K

A few weeks ago I had exchanges with people on Twitter in which I argued against across the board payments to individuals. I was concerned that these were likely to come out of other provisions (most importantly unemployment insurance) in the pandemic relief package. Since most people have actually not seen their income cut from the pandemic (they are still working) and many are saving on commuting costs, there is no obvious reason they need another check. On the other hand, the people who...

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Is the Distribution of Vaccines the Biggest Trump Screw Up Yet?

The Washington Post tells us that 7.7 million first doses of vaccines have been shipped to date (two million shots have been given), with a target of 16 million by the end of the year. This is warp speed? By comparison, we manage to get over 170 million flu shots in people’s arms every year, without any heroic efforts by the government and the military. Most of those doses are given over roughly a four-month period, which means a bit less than 1.5 million a day. That puts our flu shot...

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China Has the World’s Largest Economy: Get Over It

It is more than a bit annoying to hear reporters endlessly refer to China as the world’s second largest economy. It isn’t. It’s the world’s largest economy and has been since 2017. Here are the data from the International Monetary Fund. Source: International Monetary Fund. As the chart shows, China’s economy first passed the U.S. in 2017. It is projected to be more than 16 percent larger this year, and by 2025 is projected to be almost 40 percent larger by...

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