Do we need less democracy?

In The New Republic, Peter Orzag argues that to fix our budget mess, we need less democracy.  Specifically, he argues that implementing the following four recommendations more consistently would improve the budget situation. Progressive tax code Permanently link taxes to the unemployment rate Backstop rules Independent institutions I have my doubts…

Federal Medicaid Spending: The Worst is Yet to Come

As the economy worsened, Medicaid enrollment has risen.  In the short-run, however, States have been able to avoid large increases in Medicaid spending because the Federal government has footed the tab.  According to the HHS: “Over the past three years, despite rising enrollment due to the economic recession, nationwide State spending on the Medicaid program…

Can the government create jobs?

On Tuesday, President Obama unveiled a plan to use repaid TARP monies to fund a job creation program.  The question is, can the government actually create jobs? Initially, one would say yes.  If the government hires more workers, this is job creation.  If the government hires more contractors, this is job creation.  If the government…

How did the national debt get so big?

The book Cadillac Desert discusses the development of dams, aquaducts, and irrigation canals to slake the thirst of cities and farmers in the Western U.S..  While these projects did eventually deliver the water they promised, they did so at huge costs to taxpayers.  In the words of former congressmen Robert W. Edgar: “The old-boy network…

I.O.U.S.A.

The U.S. is in a huge amount of debt. This will only worsen in the short- to medium-term as the the baby boomers retire and Medicare and Social Security budgets balloon. Here’s a movie about it. “This country has started consuming more than it produces.” – Warren Buffet