Barbara Ehrenreich had an excellent article in yesterday’s New York Times on the many ways that being poor can land you in trouble with the law. One striking example:
Archive for the ‘Government’ Category
Posted in Economics, Government, Incentives, Interconnectedness, Interventions, Markets, Non-linearity, tagged Economics, Government, Incentives, Interconnectedness, Interventions, Markets, Non-linearity on August 4, 2009| 4 Comments »
The following quotes are from a book describing a real set of events:
[The incident] is an extraordinary example of what happens when you get… a dozen people with an average IQ of 160… working in a field in which they collectively have 250 years of experience… employing a ton of leverage.
It’s hard to overstate the significance of a [government-led] rescues of a private [corporation]. If a [company], however large was too big to fail, then what large [company] would ever be allowed to collapse? The government risked becoming the margin of safety. No serious consequences had come about in the end from the… near-meltdown.
Was the incident:
a) The savings and loan scandal
b) The collapse of Enron
c) The sub-prime mortgage meltdown
d) none of the above
First correct answer gets to invest in an exciting new bridge project I’m involved with in New York!
I just tweeted on a subject that I suspected would cause a stir, and so it has, I’m moving it here:
RafeFurst: I strongly support a soda tax! RT @mobilediner: check it out: a Soda Tax? http://amplify.com/u/dvl
coelhobruno: @RafeFurst what about diet soda? Would it be exempt?
RafeFurst: @coelhobruno no diet soda would not b exempt from tax. Tax should be inversely proportional to total nutritional content. Spinach = no tax
Lauren Baldwin: I do as well … and while they are at it they should tax fake fruit juice too.
Kevin Dick: I think this would be an interesting experiment. I predict a tax does not cause any measurable decrease in BMI.
Kim Scheinberg: New York has had this under consideration for a year. Perhaps surprisingly, I’m against it. In theory, people will drink less soda. In reality, it will just be another tax on people who can afford it the least.
Leaving aside the “rights” issues and just focusing on effectiveness, I guess we can look towards cigarette taxes and gasoline taxes and see what the lessons are. What do these forebears suggest?
As an FYI, there is supposedly a new total nutritional score (zero to 100) that is to be mandated on all food in the U.S. by the FDA. Can anyone corroborate this and its current status? Presumably this would be the number to base a tax on.
What’s fascinating to me about this is not that it works so well and or that there might actually be support in the Obama administration for doing it on a national scale, but rather that there has not been a backlash against it yet. What are the odds that something like this will actually get implemented? Is it actually a good thing?
hat tip: Annie Duke’s mom
A number of people responded to my recent post on the California budget. So I thought I’d dig a little deeper into the issue. The three points I’d like to address at the moment are whether spending as a percentage of income is rising, where the extra spending is going, and whether the extra spending is beneficial.