Janus v AFSCME – a Valid Case Whether You’re Pro-Union or Pro-Plutocrat

Janus v AFSCME is a case which the Supreme Court is going to hear. The arguments should be, therefore, about what the law is on this issue. The actual arguments being had are about whether the plutocrats are going to crush organised labour or, from the other side, should the public sector unions be able to hold the Republic to ransom? This is a pity of course – what the law is, even what the law should be, is not an issue to be decided by how left or right wing you or we are.…

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Using the Wrong Pronoun is not a Hate Crime

There’s a certain defining hallmark of a liberal society which is being over ridden in this story about the use of the wrong pronoun being a hate crime. Even the very notion of a hate crime breaches the definition of liberality – not that you would know this from the self-proclaimed liberals in our society. The sadness is that the great revolution of the Enlightenment is being overthrown by the very people claiming its mantle.

The point being that the revolution itself, the one that has led to the great flowering of us humans both in terms of economic wealth and also societal such, was about the recognition that we’re all individuals and as such should be able to get on with life as we wish.…

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Let Adelson Pay For the US Jerusalem Embassy – Pecunia Non Olet After All

This is one of those things with all the potential to cause outrage – Sheldon Adelson is offering to pay some part at least of the cost of the new US embassy in Jerusalem. One part of the controversy will just be the usual screams of zionists oppressing Palestinians which accompany absolutely anything to do with Israel. A slightly more believable set of objections will come from those who insist that we just don’t do this sort of thing.…

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It’s All Robert Reich’s Fault – That Decline in Trust in Government

Robert Reich tells us two things in one of his recent commentaries on the state of the nation. Two things which together could make us conclude that Robert Reich is responsible for the decline in trust in government over the past century:

Why the Common Good Disappeared (And How We Get it Back)
In 1963 over 70 percent of Americans trusted government to do the right thing all or most of the time; nowadays only 16 percent do.

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Fools, Stock Buybacks and Trump’s Tax Plan

We have another of those most annoying outbreaks of economic illiteracy concerning the pharmaceutical companies, stock buybacks and Trump’s tax plan. OK, perhaps better to say another iteration of the usual idiocy then. For what we’ve got is the usual assumption that when a company buys back its own stock that money then disappears. A ludicrous thought and assertion of course it is, but it’s one that’s pervasive across the American press. One of those proofs of the – true – contention that journalism is, after perhaps sociology professors, the most left wing profession in the country.…

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Harvard’s Claudia Goldin on the Gender Pay Gap

Claudia Goldin is very definitely one of the better economists working on matters like the gender pay gap. Not that that’s a high bar to clear, given the number who simply scream discrimination and leave it at that. Goldin’s very much better than just clearing the bar in fact.

However, there’s still something not quite right about her major point here.

If there’s one thing men can do to improve women’s life at work, it would be…

Want what women want.

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A Protectionist is….

Our long time friend over at Cafe Hayek, Don Boudreaux, has been running a series “A Protectionist is Someone Who…”, one example of which is:

… is convinced that 5-1=6.

Our own conclusion to the statement is:

A protectionist is someone who argues that you should be poorer so they can be richer.

Additional versions and variants are welcomed in the comments. After all, it’s always true that the readership knows more, has greater talent, than the staffing of any newspaper.…

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Larry Summers on the US Pay and Productivity Link

We’re deeply unsure that this is correct but here is the paper being talked about from Larry Summers and Anna Stansbury concerning the delinking of pay and productivity in the US:

Anna Stansbury, Lawrence H. Summers 20 February 2018

Since 1973, there has been divergence between labour productivity and the typical worker’s pay in the US as productivity has continued to grow strongly and growth in average compensation has slowed substantially. This column explores the causes and implications of this trend.…

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Of All The Idiot Suggestions About Google’s Taxes

Those of us rich in knowledge of the British tax and economic scene are really not surprised at all that Richard Murphy is the source of one of the more idiot suggestions about how Google should be taxed. The problem being that Murphy simply never does think through his proposals. It might even be that he’s simply not got the background – what we might describe as the “bottom” – to have enough general knowledge to understand just what it is that he’s really saying.…

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John McDonnell Wants More Tax, Not A Land Value Tax

John McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor, has indicated that he’s interested in a land value tax. Georgists everywhere celebrate and dance in the – publicly funded – streets. Except that’s not really what he’s saying at all. For the point about LVT is that it’s a more efficient method of raising the necessary revenue, not a method of raising more revenue. This is an important distinction:

A land tax, where a percentage of the value of the land is levied annually, is popular with some economists, who say it is a logical approach to taxing individual wealth.

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