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14 days

Tax Cuts Work. The Evidence Is Here

It happened again. Tax receipts soared in the US after the recent tax cuts. U.S. state and local government tax revenue climbed to $350.2 billion in the first quarter of 2018, a rise of 5.8 percent compared with the same time period in 2017. Individual income tax collections had big gains for a second-straight quarter with a 12.8 percent increase to $107.4 billion in 2018’s first quarter.

16 days

Saturation of Monetary Excess

In the past two weeks, emerging markets have seen the highest outflows since September 2015. Additionally, the Chinese market and its currency have completely round-tripped from the January highs.

17 days

Analogies for America: Beyond the Melting Pot

Melting pot or salad bowl? For decades now, these two contestants have been slugging it out in the contest for most appropriate metaphor for how the cultures and ethnicities of America fit together. But my preference is to think of America as chocolate fondue.

18 days

Should Governments Tax Unhealthy Foods and Drinks?

With obesity and diabetes at record levels, many public health experts believe governments should tax soda, sweets, junk food, and other unhealthy foods and drinks. Denmark, Finland, France, Hungary, and Mexico have such taxes. So do Berkeley, California and the Navajo Nation. Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver waged a high-profile campaign leading to Britain's Sugar Tax 2018, and the Washington Post has endorsed the same for the United States.

20 days

Black-White Income and Wealth Gaps

Black-white gaps in income and in wealth have been fearsomely persistent over time. Here, I'll mention some main themes from two studies, one focused on income differentials and one on wealth differentials.

20 days

Nudge Policies

A considerable body of evidence suggests that people's decisions are affected by how a choice is presented, or what the default option looks like. There's a reason that grocery stores put some products at eye-level and some near the floor, or why the staples like milk and eggs are often far from the door (so you have to walk through the store to grab them), or why the checkout counters have nearby racks of candy. There's a reason that gas stations sometimes advertise that gas is 5 cents a gallon less if you pay cash, but never advertise that gas is 5 cents more per gallon if you don't pay cash. There's a reason that many people have their employer automatically deduct money from paychecks for their retirement accounts, rather than trying to make their own monthly or annual payments to that same account.

21 days

Homeownership Rates: Some International Comparisons

High-income countries vary considerably in the share of households that own their own homes, The US rate of homeownership was about average by international standards 20-25 years ago, but now is below the average. Here are some facts from Laurie S. Goodman and Christopher Mayer, "Homeownership and the American Dream" in the Winter 2018 issue of Journal of Economic Perspectives (32:1, pp. 31-58).