From Estonia: Cheap International Calls, Priceless Tweets

Estonia’s market economy resulted from eurozone membership, human capital and infrastructure development and fiscal discipline.

A Speedy Summary of Spending in the US Federal Budget

Right now, the Congress is supposedly debating the 2015 federal budget. Because the new fiscal year begins October 1, their deadline is September 30. But not really. 1996 was the last time the House and Senate punctually approved all necessary…

Have We Halved the Deficit?

In the State-of-the-Union, President Obama said, “Our deficits–cut by more than half.” Looking at the federal deficit as a percent of GDP, we can say that the deficit is much lower than 4 years ago. BUT… The deficit was an unusually…

Fiscal Policy: What We Need to Know About the Debt Ceiling

Like me, you might have thought that the US has not yet reached its debt limit. But actually it has. The story is unimaginably complicated. From what I can discern in a Congressional Research Service report, for the last 9…

Debt Ceiling: A Treasury Note

Secretary of the Treasury Geithner just sent Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid a letter. Noting that in 5 days the US will again have hit the debt ceiling, Secretary Geithner explains that actually, we might have an extra 2 months.…

Pasty Tax Issues

The UK’s pasty (PASS-tee) tax battle is a good story. But, moving beyond the humor, it has considerable significance. First the story: Taxing the pasty has created a major flap in the UK. The pasty looks like meat in a…

Interesting Debt Facts

1. China and the Social Security Trust Funds have more in common than you would expect. The public has purchased $9 trillion of U.S. debt. China holds $1.1 trillion of the publicly held total. The U.S. government bought $4.6 trillion…

Crowding Out or In?

In their textbooks, economists typically refer to