How Big is the Federal Government? →
The federal government is larger than conventional budget measures suggest. Many tax preferences are effectively spending programs. Adding these preferences to federal outlays and receipts makes the government appear about 4 percent of GDP larger. The 1986 tax reform cut these benefits, but they have since rebounded to a larger share of GDP than before. Using this broader measure of government...
There’s No There There: Low Tax Rates and Economic... →
The economics of iced coffee
Like the hot stuff, cold-brewing involves mixing pulverized beans with water, but the latter process requires about twice as much ground coffee. Those grounds infuse filtered water for 12 to 24 hours, creating iced-coffee concentrate. That liquid is cut with water to taste, at a ratio of about one to one. Yet even after all this dilution, a cup of cold-brewed joe can include 62 cents worth of...
Paying More for Primary Care: Can It Help Bend the... →
The health reform law boosted Medicare fees for primary care ambulatory visits by 10 percent for five years starting in 2011. Using a simulation model with real-world parameters, we evaluate the effects of a permanent 10 percent increase in these fees. Our analysis shows the fee increase would increase primary care visits by 8.8 percent, and raise the overall cost of primary care visits by 17...
Worse Than the Great Depression: What the Experts... →
Opposite news →
This is a very good idea: newschallenge: 1. What do you propose to do? Build an engaging tool that helps readers discover previously unexplored news items that their “opposite” (politically, demographically, geographically) reads instead of news stories endlessly aggregated across their own narrow social networks. 2. Is anyone doing…
We may not be entitled to our own facts, but we...
Long before I took myself off Facebook, I doubted the so-called revolutionary potential of the Internet. In part my viewpoint was formed early on by the annoying smugness of the pre-crash dot.com “entrepreneurs,” who always seemed to be murmuring initial public offering nonsense at a table next to mine in tony restaurants.
The Great Depression vs. the Great Contraction
All this suggests to us that further curtailing policy support now would – to return to the language of tradeoffs – have more costs than benefits. As St Augustine would have said had he been managing director of the IMF, there is a case for additional fiscal consolidation and monetary normalisation, but not yet.
Romney's defense promises
The Obama administration plans to spend $5.7 trillion between 2013 and 2022 (the blue bars). If Romney keeps his promise of four percent for defense, he will spend at least $8.3 trillion (using OMB’s GDP projections) over that same period, an additional $2.58 trillion (the yellow bars). His budget in 2022 would top $1 trillion, and would be at least 61 percent higher than Barack Obama’s. He...
Can slower Medicare growth be sustained?
On the whole, we do not believe that the recent slowdown in Medicare spending growth is a fluke. There has been a long-term trend toward tighter Medicare payment policy, and policy changes that began in the middle of the 2000s have continued that tightening. The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA) reduced payment rates for imaging, home health services, and durable medical equipment, and the...
Being in Congress sucks
They don’t make national policy anymore. They can’t earmark money for communities back home. The public hates them. And perks little and big, from private jet travel to a little free nosh now and then, have been locked down by ethics rules. As they head for the exits this year, many leaving Congress say the prestigious job of being a congressman sucks now, and that’s why lawmakers young and...
The Budget Inferno →
Paul Krugman on the failure of economics in the...
Should we be surprised, then, that economic policy makers, after responding fairly effectively to the banking crisis, proceeded to lose the thread? What happened, in fact, was that to a large extent policy makers ended up going for economic doctrines that made them feel comfortable, that corresponded to the prejudices of men not versed in economics. Thus, it’s normal to think of the economy as...
Whom to pick? A Super Tuesday flowchart →
The birth control fight is really about health...
Almost all of the members of Congress who don’t think birth control should count as a covered basic service, don’t actually think anything should qualify—at least as regards the health care needs of people born after the year 1957. It’s interesting that this profound disagreement about the provision of health care services to people born in 1958 or 1985 exists alongside an...