California lawmakers are proposing to increase taxes on cigarettes by $2 per pack in order to fund increased entitlement spending. Instead of placing faith in the morality of their cause, lawmakers would do better to place their trust in economic and public health realities.
A fundamental function of domestic policy is to facilitate better standards of living and minimize poverty. Yet favored urban planning policies, called “urban containment” or “smart growth,” have been shown to drive the price of housing up, significantly reducing discretionary incomes, which necessarily reduces the standard of living and increases poverty.
According to the new United Nations World Population Prospects: The 2015 Revision, the population of the world is projected to rise from 7.3 billion in 2015 to 11.2 billion in 2100. This represents a 53 percent increase. However, over the period, population growth will moderate substantially. This is indicated by the annual growth rate the first year (2015 to 2016), at 1.1 percent, compared to the last year (2099 to 2100) at 0.1 percent. Annual population growth is projected to decline 90 percent from the beginning of the period to the end (Figure 1).
For decades, California’s housing costs have been racing ahead of incomes, as counties and local governments have imposed restrictive land-use regulations that drove up the price of land and dwellings. This has been documented by both Dartmouth economistWilliam A Fischel and the stateLegislative Analyst’s Office.
One of the challenges the seemingly never-ending list of Republican presidential candidates must face in what is sure to be an all-out political brawl in 2016 is finding a unique way to explain that America does not have a tax revenue problem; it has a massive spending addiction.
Hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking,” has made the United States the world’s leading producer of natural gas and oil. The country is producing record amounts of natural gas and crude oil production has increased by 80 percent since 2008. This increasing production has helped the United States drill its way to lower energy prices, which has resulted in large savings for every American, especially those who need it most.
In today’s edition of the Heartland Daily Podcast, Managing Editor of Environment and Climate News H. Sterling Burnett talks with Randy Simmons. Simmons is a professor of economics at Utah State University. Simmons and Burnett discuss two studies he and his colleagues have done examining the economic impact Renewable Energy Mandates have had on the economies and people living in Kansas and North Carolina.
Important attention has been drawn to the shameful condition of middle income housing affordability in California. The state that had earlier earned its own “California Dream” label now limits the dream of homeownership principally to people either fortunate enough to have purchased their homes years ago and to the more affluent. Many middle income residents may have to face the choice of renting permanently or moving away.
We live in an era in which few can even conceive of a world without the welfare state. Who would care for the old? How would people provide for their medical needs? What would happen to the disadvantaged and needy that fell upon hard times? In fact, there were free market solutions and non-government answers to these questions long before the modern Big Government Welfare State.
University of Michigan student Jesse Klein made headlines across the Internet on February 19 when her article insisting her parents are “middle class” despite having a combined annual income of $250,000 was covered by several major media outlets. Virtual sparks flew throughout the blogosphere, Twittersphere, and everywhere in between as debaters on both sides of the issue lined up to defend or denounce her allegedly controversial claim.
One of the great myths about the capitalist system is the presumption that businessmen make profits at the expense of the consumers and workers in society. Nothing could be further from the truth.
More than 3.1 million workers across the nation received a late Christmas gift on Jan. 1, when minimum wages were increased in 21 states. Although the mandated wage hike was welcomed by many workers, they will soon find that their new pay raise will cause more harm than help.
Welfare policies intended to get people back on their feet are actually keeping them on the dole by reducing economic incentives to seek better-paying jobs or work more hours. Instead of the tired policy of being “generous” with other people’s money, pro-growth policies are the key to getting people back to work.
Our politicians have placed any number of barriers in the way of prosperity, and one of the most costly has been the Dodd-Frank financial reforms (DF). Congress passed this 2,300-page law in 2010. It has since spawned a massive new regulatory environment with an impact reaching far beyond the nation’s $1.1 trillion financial services industry.
Champagne wishes and caviar dreams are coming true thanks to a government policy called net metering, which allows wealthy environmentalists who have installed solar panels on their roofs to profit unfairly at the expense of economically-disadvantaged people who can’t afford the technology themselves.
Finally, there is credible housing affordability data from China. For years, analysts have produced “back of the envelope” anecdotal calculations that have been often as inconsistent as they have been wrong. The Economist has compiled an index of housing affordability in 40 cities, which uses an “average multiple” (average house price divided by average household income) (China Index of Housing Affordability). This is in contrast to the “median multiple,” which is the median house price divided by the median household income (used in the Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey and other affordability indexes). The Demographia Survey rates affordability in 9 geographies, including Hong Kong (a special administrative region of China). The average multiple for a metropolitan market is generally similar to the median multiple.
To paraphrase the knight who guarded the Holy Grail in “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” Ireland has chosen poorly.
The Emerald Isle has decided to make itself decidedly less attractive to people the world over.
In the Hunger Games franchise of movies and young-adult novels, political power is concentrated within the Capitol; citizens there revel in pageantry and pomp while their fellow Americans suffer from the dire, impoverishing consequences of the government’s policies. That same sort of sedimentation of power and money into the nation’s capital is happening in the current-day United States.
In rural areas, there is often a heated debate over economic development that essentially boils down to a choice between industrial jobs and tourism jobs. Both come with advantages and disadvantages, but to pit these two sectors against each other in an either-or discussion is a false dichotomy. My hometown provides a good example of how industry and tourism can coexist.