Friday, June 10, 2016

GOP anti-poverty plans

"Because states can count declines in welfare rolls as increases in work, and because they can game the federal work requirements via various strategies, few of them have devoted much effort toward helping recipients become employed or more employable."

"Mead’s goal is to impose a kind of work requirement on noncustodial fathers in arrears on their child support through mandatory work programs. The intent is to help them develop skills and gain experience while promoting personal responsibility."

"This shift to services would also remove some of the incentives that lead states to shift families from the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program to SSI (which is not block granted and is almost entirely federally funded) and that lead parents to prefer SSI to TANF (which, unlike SSI, has work requirements and time limits)."

"Finally, the blueprint advocates that housing vouchers be portable across public housing authorities, so that poor families can move to opportunity. This proposal draws on a growing recognition that residential mobility may be centralto economic mobility. The blueprint also calls for greater tenant involvement in public housing projects, and greater use of nongovernmental service providers."

"The blueprint calls for the use of “tiered funding,” whereby programs are categorized depending on whether they are new and untested, have demonstrated positive initial results, or have proven effective, with different levels of funding tied to each category."

Friday, April 15, 2016

The Truth about Trade | Cato Institute

The Truth about Trade | Cato Institute: "Our manufacturers continue to set production and export records, and the United States is the world’s second-largest manufacturer (17.2 percent of total global output) and third-largest exporter. America also remains the world’s top destination for foreign direct investment ($384 billion in 2015 alone) — more than double second-place Hong Kong and almost triple third-place China. "

" For example, a recent Ball State study attributed almost 90 percent of all U.S. manufacturing-job losses since 2000 to productivity gains. “Had we kept 2000-levels of productivity and applied them to 2010-levels of production,” the authors write, “we would have required 20.9 million manufacturing workers. Instead, we employed only 12.1 million.” "

"The consumer gains from trade disproportionally accrue to America’s poor and middle class. A 2015 study by Pablo Fajgelbaum and Amit Khandelwal finds that these groups, because they concentrate spending in more-traded sectors such as food and clothing, enjoy almost 90 percent of the consumer benefits of trade."

"More than half of all imports (including those from China) are inputs and capital goods consumed by other American manufacturers to make globally competitive products."

"When the Steelworkers convinced President Obama to impose 35 percent tariffs on Chinese tires in 2009, the result was, even under the best assumptions, a few unionized jobs saved at a cost to U.S. consumers of $900,000 per job — precisely the type of crony-capitalist boondoggle that, in any form other than that of a hidden tax targeting a foreign “adversary,” would engender hostile political opposition from the right."

"the American “Big Three” automakers produce only five of the top 20 most “domestic” cars (defined by their total share of U.S. and Canadian auto parts) sold in the United States in 2016"

"government policy actively discourages Americans from finding work in burgeoning fields. Perhaps the most brazen example of such policies is the federal tax code’s business deduction for work-related education, which permits a worker to deduct education and training expenses from his taxable income, but only if they relate to his current job. Thus, a textilefactory worker can get a tax benefit for new training on the latest garment machine, but he cannot get the same benefit for night classes to become a certified IT specialist. Such a system discourages workers in dying fields from preparing themselves for a new career."

"multiple studies commissioned by the Labor Department have found that TAA participants are worse off, as measured by future wages and benefits, than similarly situated jobless individuals outside the program"

What the Panama Papers Actually Show | Cato Institute

What the Panama Papers Actually Show | Cato Institute: "First, it should be noted how few Americans were included in the Panama Papers. Out of the data released so far, the consortium of journalists studying the papers has identified only 211 people with U.S. addresses, and not all of these people are American citizens. There are no Americans among the so-called “Power Players,” a list that includes 140 politicians from more than 50 countries. In fact, according to University of California–Berkeley economist Gabriel Zucman, even if you cast a wider net, looking at offshore financial assets worldwide, U.S. citizens and companies keep only about 4 percent of their wealth offshore, tying us with Asia for the lowest percentage. By comparison, Europeans stash 10 percent of their wealth offshore, Latin Americans move 22 percent out of their countries, and Russians keep an overwhelming 52 percent in overseas accounts. Even Canadians hold more than twice as much of their financial assets offshore as Americans."

"What is surprising, though, is the number of government officials and aides — and their relatives — who have apparently accumulated vast fortunes, and often in countries that self-consciously preach equality, even socialism."

"One needs to ask how government officials — who, unlike businessmen and entrepreneurs, create nothing and generate no wealth for society — are among the richest people in their supposedly egalitarian countries."

Merle Haggard Could Easily Have Died in San Quentin | Cato Institute

Merle Haggard Could Easily Have Died in San Quentin | Cato Institute: "In 1997, Norman Williams was sentenced to life in prison for his third strike, stealing a floor jack from a tow truck. His previous two strikes? Burglarizing an apartment that was being fumigated (the stolen goods were then robbed from him at gunpoint) and stealing two hand drills and other tools from an art studio (he was confronted by the owner and dropped everything and ran).

Williams was a hapless criminal, but he hardly deserved life in prison. Thanks to an enterprising district attorney, he was released from prison early. Yet half of those still serving life sentences under the California law were convicted of a third felony that was not violent or serious."

You and Donald Trump Might Not Like Free Trade, but It's Been Good to You Both | Cato Institute

You and Donald Trump Might Not Like Free Trade, but It's Been Good to You Both | Cato Institute: "Study after study has shown that countries more open to the global economy grow faster and achieve higher incomes than those that are relatively closed. By enlarging markets to span national borders, free trade permits greater specialization and economies of scale, both essential ingredients of economic growth.

But free trade agreements are not free trade. They are managed trade. They are premised on mercantilist assumptions that exports are good and imports are bad."

"Trade restrictions penalize consumers, import-using industries and taxpayers.

Yet, holding firm to those domestic barriers, while insisting that foreign markets open wider, is the standard strategy for negotiating free trade agreements."

On ObamaCare, Is There One Set of Rules for Congress and Another for Citizens? | Cato Institute

On ObamaCare, Is There One Set of Rules for Congress and Another for Citizens? | Cato Institute: "The ACA bars businesses with more than 100 employees from participating in SHOP Exchanges. Until this year, D.C. barred businesses with more than 50 employees. When those officials falsely claimed the House and Senate fit under those limits, they did so because they wanted to draw money from the federal Treasury—i.e., a subsidy of up to $12,000 for each member and staffer."

Saturday, April 02, 2016

America's massive decline in gun violence -

America's massive decline in gun violence - "In 1993, there were seven homicides by firearm for every 100,000 Americans, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. By 2013, that figure had fallen by nearly half, to 3.6 — a total of 11,208 firearm homicides. The number of victims of crimes involving guns that did not result in death (such as robberies) declined even more precipitously, from 725 per 100,000 people in 1993 to 175 in 2013."

A lawyer leads a life on the wild side – rescuing those sold into slavery -

A lawyer leads a life on the wild side – rescuing those sold into slavery - "Van Ta estimates in the past decade he has rescued more than 480 women and girls sold into prostitution or sexually abused as well as victims of forced labor working in Vietnam."

Piketty Is Wrong: Markets Don’t Concentrate Wealth | Mises Daily

Piketty Is Wrong: Markets Don’t Concentrate Wealth | Mises Daily: "a situation with one big cartel or one owner is equivalent to full socialism and therefore, to a situation where no rational allocation of resources would be possible, as Mises showed in Socialism. It is Rothbard who brilliantly pointed out that calculability is an upward limit to the size of the firm."

"On the unhampered market, those who tend to be the wealthiest tend also to be the most efficient men at allocating capital. If their ownership ability is poor, the consumers sanction them. If their ownership ability is good, the consumer will reward them."

"For Piketty, the rate of return on capital is a mythical stream of income which depends not upon ownership abilities but on how much capital you own. But the distribution of wealth is not as arbitrary as Piketty would like to think. The consumer has the final word in the decision of who must own the factors of production. As Mises in Human Action explained, the wealthy “are not free to spend money which the consumers are not prepared to refund to them in paying more for the product.” On the unhampered market, the rich can accumulate more wealth only if he is efficient to the task of allocating capital, for the benefit of all."

"We should also highlight that 56 percent of Americans are, during at least one moment of their lives, part of the top 10 percent in incomes (a ratio of 5.6), and 12 percent are in the top 1 percent (a ratio of 12). Therefore, we can conclude that the richer you are, the more volatile is your wealth."

'Common-Sense' Gun Reform Is Overrated. Here's Why. | Cato Institute

'Common-Sense' Gun Reform Is Overrated. Here's Why. | Cato Institute: "So-called “assault weapons” and “high-capacity” magazines are easy political targets because they sound scary to people unfamiliar with firearms. However, restricting either or both would likely have no measurable effect on gun crime rates."

"firearm homicide clearance rates — that is, police apprehending a suspect and charging him for the killing — are embarrassingly low in minority neighborhoods. In her book, “Ghettoside,” Los Angeles Times journalist Jill Leovy argues that an absence of trust between police and black communities, along with a lack of adequate police resources aimed at solving homicides in black neighborhoods, combine to cheapen black life by allowing black murder to go virtually unpunished. If there is a gun violence “epidemic” anywhere in America, it is in the impoverished black neighborhoods of Los Angeles, Baltimore and similar enclaves."

"More than three decades of high murder rates show that restricting legal access to guns was not the answer to gun violence problems and that making legal firearm acquisition harder is unlikely to meaningfully impact violence in America’s inner cities."