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When economists — and the Obama White House — talk about middle-class income stagnation, they are often referring to Census Bureau data showing median household income — adjusted for inflation — rose less than 10% from 1984 through 2013, just less than 0.3% per year. That stinks. But those statistics just don’t pass the smell test. Anyone over the age of 35 or so knows Americans are substantially better off than they were 30 years ago. Economist (and former head of the National Bureau of Economic Research) Martin Feldstein helpfully digs into the data: […]
The White House this week gave some welcome focus to the unhelpful rise of job licenses. In “The land of free markets, tied down by red tape,” the FT’s Gillian Tett notes that issue but also highlights the difficulty in starting a business here, writing “The entrepreneurial halo is starting to slip…”
Lost Decade? The US is about to have its first 10-year period since World War II without at least one year of 3% growth
Just another sign that 2015 is not shaping up to be the Year of Acceleration, as many economist anctipated. Same-old, same-old stagnation. Bloomberg reporter Peter Gosselin offers three reasons: First, recessions driven by financial crisis and housing collapse produce weak recoveries. New home sales are still only at a third of 2005’s level. Second, the economy is less efficient as evidenced by lackluster productivity growth. “Labor Department figures show that productivity growth peaked in 2002, well before the economy slowed and contracted.” Third, there’s the decline in entrepreneurship, which may be affecting productivity growth. Census data show “that among U.S. firms, the share that are young — less than a year old and with at least one employee — has fallen from 11 percent in the early 1990s to 10 percent early in the last decade to 8 percent early in this decade. Meanwhile, the fraction of firms that are 16-years-old or more has gone from 23 percent to 29 percent to 35 percent.” […]
View related content: Carpe Diem
…. is based on this paragraph from Jonah Goldberg’s article in National Review “Huckabee’s Hitler Comparison That Wasn’t“: Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John Kerry don’t take the Iranians at their word when they say they want to kill Jews, no matter how clearly and consistently they say it. But they trust the Iranians to […]
View related content: Carpe Diem
From the New York Times editorial “The Right Minimum Wage: $0.00“: There’s a virtual consensus among economists that the minimum wage is an idea whose time has passed. Raising the minimum wage by a substantial amount would price working poor people out of the job market. A far better way to help them would be […]
View related content: Pethokoukis
As Medicare reaches age 50, we see periodic signs of limited efforts to move beyond its youthful exuberance as a full-fledged pay-as-you-go, fee-for-service, universal entitlement program and toward a somewhat more market-oriented direction. Most notably, the last decade since the passage of the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 has produced rapid growth in enrollment in Medicare Advantage private plan options. Over 30% of Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in these more market-based alternatives to the traditional Medicare fee-for-service program.
Today’s 50th anniversary salutes to the enactment of the Medicare program on July 30, 1965 will emphasize how much Medicare changed the world of health insurance coverage and medical care for Americans over age 65. A closer look at the program’s origins and early history certainly confirms its primary accomplishments. However, it also suggests how improving necessary care for older Americans might have proceeded differently without producing some of Medicare’s chronic long-term problems that we continue to avoid dealing with today. (Part two of this post will examine how this history also offers some lessons to would-be repeal-and-replace critics of the five-year-old Affordable Care Act).