James Galbraith Tells Us What Everyone Needs to Know About Inequality

Inequality has surged in the U.S. over the last forty years; many observers now blame the deregulation and tax cuts for the rich starting with the presidency of Ronald Reagan in 1980. In his new short book, Inequality: What Everyone Needs to Know, James Galbraith explains how this happened through the change in U.S. industrial structure. He offers a surprising recommendation. . . . → Read More: James Galbraith Tells Us What Everyone Needs to Know About Inequality

Congressman Bill Foster Explains Why Middle Class Tax Cuts Lead To Economic Growth

If you give a dollar to a middle class family, they will spend it in the local economy and spur growth, or they will use it to make a high return investment, such as paying for their children’s college. If you give that same dollar to a very wealthy individual, instead of circulating it in the local economy, they will place it in lower-return investments, often offshore. . . . → Read More: Congressman Bill Foster Explains Why Middle Class Tax Cuts Lead To Economic Growth

Taxing Carbon is Like Taxing Diamonds

A carbon tax would operate much like a diamond tax, for reasons both of demand and supply. . . . → Read More: Taxing Carbon is Like Taxing Diamonds

How a Progressive Tax System Made Detroit a Powerhouse (and Could Again)

In 1995, we encountered a group of economic advisors to Governor John Engler of Michigan, intent on cutting property taxes. We reminded them of California’s 1979 Proposition 13. After Prop. 13 rolled back and froze property taxes, sales taxes reached crushing levels, budget crises became routine, local services collapsed, and public schools fell from the best in the nation to among the worst. But Engler was determined. . . . → Read More: How a Progressive Tax System Made Detroit a Powerhouse (and Could Again)

It Takes Government to Create Markets: Alex Marshall’s The Surprising Design of Market Economies

Conventional economics wittingly or unwittingly provides cover for the One Percent, by professing that “the market” operates benevolently on its own. Alex Marshall gives us an entertaining, thoughtful, and well-written antidote to this dangerous abstraction. . . . → Read More: It Takes Government to Create Markets: Alex Marshall’s The Surprising Design of Market Economies

It Takes Government to Create Markets: Alex Marshall’s The Surprising Design of Market Economies

Conventional economics wittingly or unwittingly provides cover for the One Percent, by professing that “the market” operates benevolently on its own. Alex Marshall gives us an entertaining, thoughtful, and well-written antidote to this dangerous abstraction. . . . → Read More: It Takes Government to Create Markets: Alex Marshall’s The Surprising Design of Market Economies

Grover Norquist is Right to Oppose Internet Sales Taxes

As most of us know, sales taxes are “regressive.” That is, when sales taxes are “passed on,” they fall harder on poorer customers than on richer ones. That’s why many states exempt food and medicine, as does New York, (except for restaurant food). But sales taxes are also “passed back” onto retailers and service providers. It’s the “passed back” portion of sales taxes that do the most damage, because—unlike profit taxes—they take a bite from gross revenues before expenses. Sales taxes fall hardest on small, labor-intensive retailers, with high volume and low profit margins. . . . → Read More: Grover Norquist is Right to Oppose Internet Sales Taxes

Raise the Minimum Wage or Cut Low-Wage Taxes?

My son is a low-wage worker, a short-order cook. President Obama just called for an increase in the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $9.00 an hour. Yet he made no effort to save the “temporary stimulus” 2% payroll tax cut, which expired at the end of 2012. That will cost workers like my son about a week’s gross pay over a year—not insignificant when you’re barely scraping by. So what’s better for low-wage workers: an increase in the minimum wage or a decrease in payroll taxes? . . . → Read More: Raise the Minimum Wage or Cut Low-Wage Taxes?

The Keynesian Stimulus Spending Fallacy

It’s a truism of pop Keynesian economics that consumer spending drives the economy; if spending slows in a recession; government must make up the difference. In reality, consumer spending merely signals what consumers want; producers may be unable or unwilling to deliver. Government spending may compensate—or make matters worse—depending on the type of spending and whether it’s financed by progressive taxes or by borrowing. . . . → Read More: The Keynesian Stimulus Spending Fallacy

Capturing the Multinational Dragons’ Gold

As medieval dragons do, the dragon in the Beowulf epic sleeps on a pile of gold. With magic sword and shield, Beowulf kills the dragon and, mortally wounded, distributes the gold to his grateful people. Today’s multinational dragons sleep not on gold, but on hoards of cash. Meanwhile little firms—the true “job creators”—perish for want of cash. We don’t need to assault the dragons; we do need to tear away the tax privileges on which they depend. . . . → Read More: Capturing the Multinational Dragons’ Gold