A Great Day For Economics Articles

I love Cafe Hayek’s economics articles feed. Today was better than average. So good I felt it deserves its own post.

Today’s links went to two essays by Kevin Williamson

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/376445/welcome-paradise-real-kevin-d-williamson

This first one demonstrates in the simplest possible way that economic constraints cannot change reality. Substitute doctors for SweeTarts and you’ve got the long term downfall of Obamacare or any of a zillion (not being terribly precise here) other government mandates that have to do with price, demand and supply of real physical goods or services.

As a bit of promotion:

Measured by practically any physical metric, from the quality of the food we eat to the health care we receive to the cars we drive and the houses we live in, Americans are not only wildly rich, but radically richer than we were 30 years ago, to say nothing of 50 or 75 years ago.Kevin Williamson

And

For the conservative, people are an asset — in the coldest economic terms, a potentially productive unit of labor. For the progressive, people are a liability— a mouth to be fed, a problem in need of a solution. Understanding that difference of perspective renders understandable the sometimes wildly different views that conservatives and progressives have about things like employment policy. For the conservative, the value of a job is what the worker produces; for the progressive, the value of a job is what the worker is paid. Politicians on both sides frequently talk about jobs as though they were economic products rather than contributors to economic output, as though they were ends rather than means.”Kevin

The other article is

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/376231/politics-poverty-kevin-d-williamson

I read this one before and really enjoyed it the first time as well. A sample:

There are many competing definitions of “rich,” and they usually involve a percentage: the top 10 percent, the top 5 percent, the dreaded 1 percent. My own definition is the point at which the marginal utility of an additional dollar for personal consumption and investment is effectively zero. I think that this is a good definition for a couple of reasons: One, because people have different preferences, that point comes at very different wealth and income levels for different people, which is why there are so many people of relatively modest means who dedicate some non-trivial portion of their incomes to charity rather than to their own personal desires. Second, it accounts for the fact that while the value of an additional dollar for personal consumption may be zero, the value of deciding for one’s self how any additional dollars are to be disposed of is not zero. That is why there are so many people who work diligently to minimize their tax bills while giving away millions or billions of dollars to charitable ends. The position is not, contra the protestations of our  progressive friends, an inconsistent one.”Kevin

A very interesting article about who really pays Income Taxes, and why we should tax consumption instead of income.

http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2014/04/theres_only_one.html

You cannot put the burden of a tax on someone unless you cut into his or her consumption. If the Obama tax increases did not cause Gates and Buffett to tighten their belts, then they paid precisely 0% of that tax increase. Someone else paid, even if they (Buffett and Gates) wrote the check. If they invested less due to the tax, then workers might have received lower wages. If they gave less to charity then very poor African’s paid the tax. I have no idea who paid, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t Gates and Buffett.Scott Sumner

And then finally a bit of data about who pays how much of the total income tax revenues

http://taxfoundation.org/article/summary-latest-federal-income-tax-data

The Top 50 Percent of All Taxpayers Paid 97 Percent of All Income Taxes; the Top 5 Percent Paid 57 Percent of All Income Taxes; and the Top 1 Percent Paid 35 Percent of All Income Taxes in 2011Kyle Pomerleau

Good reads all. If you’re looking to keep up with current economics articles, I highly recommend Cafe Hayek’s feed

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Thoughts For The Day

Obama took an unplanned trip to Afghanistan for …? Did he do anything there other than to try to make news? How many millions, if not tens of millions of dollars did it cost to make the morale boosting trip? Who was he trying to boost? The troops or himself and therefore his party?

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Interesting article about immigrant citizens vs native born Americans and how they do in life. As a general rule, the naturalized Americans do better and that only makes sense. They’ve already self-selected as wanting more for themselves and being willing to do what it takes by leaving their birth countries and coming here.

What prompted the note though was this short passage: “Here we [native born Americans] think freedom means whatever I wanna do, whatever I wanna say — that is freedom.” As long what you do doesn’t interfere with someone else’s equal right to the same, that’s true. But there’s the other side of it as well. Freedom means you have to accept responsibility for the consequences for your actions, for good or bad.

If you screw up then, while it’s ok to ask for help, you don’t have the right to demand it. Especially not at the end of a gun, whether you wield it yourself or second hand through a government’s.

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What pushes people into unemployment is when their gross pay and employment costs are more than the company makes from their work. Plus there’s always the group that simply expect a paycheck just for showing up, whether they actually do anything or not.

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From The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy, Thomas Sowell

The call for more “public service” is then a call for more people to work in jobs not representing the preferences of the public, as revealed through the marketplace, but the preferences of third parties enforced through government and paid for by the power of taxation.  Sometimes work for foundations and other nonprofit organizations is also included in “public service.”  What is crucial is that public service not be service defined by the public itself through its choices of how to spend its own money in market transactions, but defined for them by third-party elites.

Thanks for the reminder from Don Boudreaux

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For all the talk about whatever the particulars are of a given killer in these attacks, they all have one thing in common. They are a danse macabre with their very senselessness being the point, being an attack against society in general. A society that didn’t give them what they thought they deserved to get, just by existing.

The revenge is completed by the media and others who, with all the ongoing questioning of why this particular person did this horrific crime and how, if his life had been different it wouldn’t have happened, plant the fear and guilt in everyday people that the killer wanted them to feel. Thus proving to the next killer that he really CAN get the response that he dreams of.

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