Image Credit: Shutterstock

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Economics, Entitlements

Responding (again) to arguments I didn’t make

A sign that you’ve hit the mark is when people respond to arguments you didn’t make rather than the ones you did. My recent Wall Street Journal piece on progressives’ response to the rising Social Security deficit made a very simple point: you’d think a bigger shortfall would cause progressives to take Social Security reform more seriously, but instead the consensus position is now to expand Social Security, paying for that expansion with the tax increases they once proposed to fill the program’s funding gap. read more >

Pethokoukis, Economics, U.S. Economy

When economists talk about mismanaged US states, one gets special mention

A new IGM Forum poll of economists finds large, confident majorities who think US states are (a) understating pension liabilities and (b) at risk — at least some of them — of eventually needing a combo of austerity budgets, a federal bailout, and/or default unless they soon increase taxes, cut spending, or change their pension systems. Now this post really isn’t about pension liabilities. It is about how in the survey of these economists one state repeatedly received special mention for its fiscal woes: Illinois. read more >

Economics, Pethokoukis, Taxes and Spending, U.S. Economy

3 things account for 85% of higher government spending over the next decade

Federal spending is projected to rise by $2.3 trillion over the next decade, according to CBO. That average annual increase of 5.2% will help take the US debt/GDP ratio from 72% last year – and just 35% in 2007 – to 77% in 2024. This is key: just three parts of the budget account for 85% of that increase. read more >

Pethokoukis, Economics, Taxes and Spending

Can we please agree that workers probably bear some of the corporate tax burden? Science!

When economist try to model how corporate income taxes work in the real world, they find that Mitt Romney was right when he said, “Corporations are people, my friend.” Some chunk of the tax burden, perhaps a rather large chunk in the 40% to 75% range, falls on workers. Cutting the tax might just raise worker wages. read more >