Category Archives: Business & Economy

Each “Saved” Job Costs Consumers Half a Mil

The popularity of protectionist trade policy is growing and is being actively promoted by President Trump. The appeal is clear and understandable: protectionism does save and protect some American jobs in protected industries, and those jobs are easily visible, identifiable, and measurable. But the one group of Americans we never hear about from Trump when he discusses international trade are the most important group of Americans – the American consumers who are the group that have the most to gain from international trade and the group that has the most to lose from trade barriers.

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US Government Caught Massively Fabricating Student Loan Default Data

The US government, either on purpose or due to honest miscalculation, has been fabricating student loan default data, making it appear far lower than it was. The Education Department released a memo saying that it had overstated student loan repayment rates at most colleges and trade schools and provided updated numbers. A spokeswoman for the Education Department said that the problem resulted from a “technical programming error.” How bad was the data fabrication? When The Wall Street Journal analyzed the new numbers, the data revealed that the Department previously had inflated the repayment rates for 99.8% of all colleges and trade schools in the country. In other words, virtually every single number was made to appear better than it was.

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A Rising Stock Market Does Not Signal Economic Health

The headlines tell us that the Dow Jones is up around 1,000 points since Donald Trump won the election on November 8th. The conventional wisdom is that this shows how much confidence people have in Trump’s ability to generate a healthy American economy. The argument is that if people are willing to buy stock in American firms, this indicates their belief that those firms will see improving profits over the next few years. They then draw the conclusion that more profitable firms indicate a healthier American economy. Although this argument is correct about stock prices reflecting an increasing belief in the profitability of US firms, it makes a major error in assuming that profitable firms necessarily mean a better economy.

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Why They Keep Trade Deals Secret

Thousands of people recently demonstrated in Brussels against free trade deals negotiated by the EU. This happened just days before a meeting of EU trade ministers in Bratislava last month, which was considered the last push to salvage the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the EU and the United States. Not only is Europe divided on the deal, […]

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US Ends Fiscal 2016 With $1.4 Trillion Debt Increase: Third Largest In History

What exactly did you get for that money? Did they spend $1.4 trillion on achieving world peace, eradicating poverty, saving the planet, or some other pipe-dream? Did they finally fix America’s crumbling infrastructure that has been in desperate need of repair? Did they send a gigantic tax refund check to every man, woman, and child in the country? Actually the answer is (D), none of the above. They squandered it all.

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There Is No Such Thing As Trickle-Down Economics

Critics of liberalism (liberalism in the classical sense) and the market economy have made a long-standing habit of inventing terms we would never use to describe ourselves. The most common of these is “neo-liberal” or “neo-liberalism,” which appears to mean whatever the critics wish it to mean to describe ideas they don’t like. To the extent the terms have clear […]

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