For me, the most important part of elections is that the transfer of power should be peaceful. The Democrats were wrong to scream “Russia!” and to attempt to remove President Trump via impeachment, and I think less of them for doing so. If Biden is declared the winner and then the Republicans scream “Fraud!” for months on end, I will think less of them.
I know all the comebacks to this. The stakes are too great! We know that Biden won by fraud (as if you personally have evidence for that claim that would convince a neutral observer)! We can’t let them get away with it! Those arguments do not sway me. If we replace the electoral process with a litigation war and street demonstrations, the resulting banana republic will be worse than anything that the Democrats implement in office.
Alberto Mingardi explains that he and Deirdre McCloskey wrote The Myth of the Entrepreneurial state in order to help stem the rising tide of enthusiasm for industrial policy. This enthusiasm, be aware, is rising not only on the political left through people such as Marianna Mazzucato, but also on the political right (for example, Oren Cass) and even in the political middle (for example, Brink Lindsey). I predict, by the way, that Mazzucato, Cass, and other industrial-policy enthusiasts will largely ignore Deirdre’s and Alberto’s wonderful book – the reason being that these enthusiasts have no good retort to the book’s arguments other than to continue to insist that, somehow, government officials will, in addition to shedding their political inclinations, come to possess supernatural powers to foretell and engineer the future.
Pick almost any starting point over the last half-century. Extreme poverty has been crushed and may be on its way to disappearing in the next decade or two. In 1990, roughly 1.9 billion people lived in extreme poverty (defined as making less than $1.90 per day). Since then, world population has grown from 5.28 billion to 7.8 billion, while the number of people living in extreme poverty has dropped to 650 million and continues to fall.
That’s because the world has been getting richer—the whole world, not just the top 1 percent. From 1900 to 2016, global GDP per capita grew by about 621 percent. Even global inequality—the gap between rich and poor countries—has started to decline appreciably over the last two decades.
Hey, you enthusiasts for mandating the wearing of masks, note this.
I first learned of Alesina from his work on fiscal austerity. In a paper written just before the 2007–2009 crisis, he and Goldman Sachs economist Silvia Ardagna (then at Harvard) showed that fiscal adjustment packages based on expenditure cuts by government are more effective at reducing the public-debt-to-GDP ratio than are packages based on tax increases. Their paper also shows that expenditure cuts are not just conducive to long-term growth, but, under the right circumstances, generate growth in the short term. Finally, if cuts in spending triggered some initial contraction of the economy, it would be mild and short-lived. Do not hope for such mild negative effects with adjustment packages based on tax increases.