How to Pay For a $1.9 Trillion Package

Through massive pandemic aid, the 2020 CARES Act ballooned the federal deficit. With spending far exceeding revenue, the difference was $2.8 trillion:   Now, President-elect Biden has proposed a new $1.9 trillion relief package. It includes payments to Americans who…

When Free Money Didn’t Do What It Was Supposed To Do

The preliminary results for Finland’s two-year guaranteed income experiment appears to have created more questions than it answered.

Entitlements: What is the Right Size for the Safety Net?

At the beginning of The Intouchables, we meet an unemployed French worker awaiting a job interview. Uninterested in being hired, he needs a third signature for his benefits form to prove he is looking. Inexplicably, he gets the job and…

Fiscal Cliff Notes

There might be 2 ways to look at the fiscal cliff. Specifically, we can focus on tax increases and spending cuts: Tax Increases Bush era tax cuts: expire 2010-2011 2% payroll tax cut: expire Affordable Care Act taxes: kick in…

What is the Fiscal Cliff?

The fiscal cliff is composed of 8 tax and spending events. Permitting all to occur might be the equivalent of jumping over the edge in an economic dive. Tax Increases Bush era tax cuts: expire 2010-2011 2% payroll tax cut:…

Understanding Germany

Are Germans thinking, “We did it and now it’s your turn?” Ten years ago, Germany’s unemployment rate averaged more than 9% and economic growth was close to zero. Jobless workers, depending on their family status, were receiving 60-67% of their…

Unemployment Benefits and Costs

99, 26 or somewhere in between? At the end of February, Congress again will have to decide about the length of unemployment insurance (UI) Described by the state of California to its residents, 99 remains the maximum number of weeks for…

Unemployment Benefits or Losses?

Recently, Denmark decided that 4 years of unemployment benefits were too long. Shrinking their duration to 2 years, they said that 1) the longer people are out of a job, the harder it is to find one and 2) too…

Unemployment Benefits and A One-Handed Economist

Called “a compromise of a compromise of a compromise,” the Senate failed to extend unemployment benefits to the 2 million individuals scheduled to lose them on July 12.   Thinking economically, it is tough to definitively assess the decision. On…