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Jeffrey Tucker shares the work of Oxford University epidemiologist Sunetra Gupta [2]. Here’s Tucker’s conclusion:

The implications of Gupta’s view – and its flipping of the run-and-hide, shelter-in-place narrative – offer a promising new way to understand the relationship between modern capitalism and the dramatic improvements in human health we’ve experienced over a century. It also sends up a warning flare: if we stay on the present course of hiding and futilely trying to suppress the virus, we will end making all of society poorer both materially and spiritually and also delivering a dangerous blow to our biological health.

Bravo for the editorial-page staff of the Wall Street Journal! [3] They declare:

As long as our proprietors allow us the privilege to do so, the opinion pages will continue to publish contributors who speak their minds within the tradition of vigorous, reasoned discourse. And these columns will continue to promote the principles of free people and free markets, which are more important than ever in what is a culture of growing progressive conformity and intolerance.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Alberto Mingardi protests the nationalization of Italy’s highways. [4]

Here’s part 5 of George Selgin’s important series on the New Deal [5].

1942 wasn’t such a great year for Americans [6].

Glenn Yu talks with Glenn Loury [7]. (HT Mark Perry) A slice from Loury:

This is not social science. This is propaganda. It’s religion. People are trying to win arguments by using words as if they were weapons. They point to history. But the history is complicated. Yes, there was slavery. Yes, there was segregation. Yes, there was redlining. There were other things, too. A lot has happened in American history. Is the relatively marginal position of African-Americans taken within American political economy a causal result of Jim Crow segregation? Nobody knows the answer to that question. I’m not saying that you won’t find many patterns or practices of racial mistreatment in history, but I’m saying that the link between them and the contemporary circumstances of African-American communities, especially at the bottom end, is woefully inadequate to explain what we see.

My intrepid Mercatus Center colleague Veronique de Rugy and co-author Jack Salmon explain why proposed tax increases will not reduce the U.S. government’s appalling budget deficits [8]. A slice:

Another reason tax increases don’t reduce deficits [9] is that they are harmful to economic growth, employment levels, and wage growth. This growth slowdown ultimately means the actual revenue yield from tax increases is significantly lower than the expected revenue yield. In a literature review of 26 peer-reviewed journal articles, all but three find [10] a negative effect of taxes on growth, with taxes on corporate and personal income being particularly harmful to economic growth. So, not only do tax increases encourage higher levels of government spending, but they also shrink the tax base by stifling economic growth, productivity, and wage growth.

The inability of governments to reduce fiscal deficits primarily through raising taxes has long been acknowledged by the academic literature. As early as 1995, the late Harvard economist Alberto Alesina and his coauthors concluded [11] that attempts to reduce the deficit by means of raising taxes almost always resulted in failure. In a new Mercatus study [12], we review the literature on past attempts to reduce the deficit and find that efforts that focus primarily on reducing government expenditures are notably more successful at lowering debt levels than efforts that focus on tax-based adjustments. More specifically, we find that past efforts to reduce fiscal deficits that succeeded focused around two-thirds of tax and spending adjustments on spending reductions, while efforts that primarily focused adjustments on tax increases caused deep and long-lasting negative shocks to economic output and did not result in significant deficit reduction.

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