Found 524 article(s) for author 'Fiscal Policy'

Do Americans really need to be more thrifty?

Do Americans really need to be more thrifty? Lawrence Summers, January 7, 2020, Opinion, “Few economic virtues are more universally applauded than thrift. Going back at least to Ben Franklin, Americans have equated greater thriftiness with greater worthiness. Progressives decry the limited saving and wealth accumulation of middle-income families and express alarm over the widely reported “fact” that 40 percent of Americans cannot come up with $400 in an emergency. Conservatives applaud thrift as an aspect of self-reliance and propose ideas such as health-savings accounts to help families prepare for emergencies. Moderates believe universal social insurance programs such as Social Security and Medicare, which they label as entitlements, should be modest or even curtailed out of fiscal prudence.Link

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Six Tax-Based Ways to Tackle US Inequality

Six Tax-Based Ways to Tackle US Inequality. Jeffery Frankel, December 17, 2019, Opinion, “Some of the leading candidates for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination have proposed radical measures to reduce inequality, such as a wealth tax. But there are many other progressive tax policies that would be both easier to enforce and more likely to get a Democratic candidate elected.Link

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Compensation, Austerity, and Populism

Compensation, Austerity, and Populism. Jeffry Frieden, December 6, 2019, Paper, “The existence of comprehensive social policies to compensate those who might be harmed by integration is widely seen as an important precondition for public support for economic and political integration in western Europe. However, many western European countries reduced spending on income maintenance after 1990. In countries hard hit by the sovereign debt crisis, there have also been significant cuts to social services. We evaluate the impact of levels of social spending on public support for populist parties. We also evaluate the impact of austerity measures on support for such parties. We examine a panel of 187 elections from 1990-2017 and analyze pooled cross-sectional data from eight waves of the European Social Survey. We find evidence that populist parties fare worse where countries spend more on social support, and where spending has not been reduced from historical levels. On the other hand, where countries spend less on income maintenance, and/or have decreased spending from earlier levels, populist vote shares are consistently higher, and the likelihood of supporting populist parties greater. This relationship holds when controlling for a range of individual and macroeconomic factors, including occupational and educational characteristics, unemployment, economic growth, and immigration rates. The growing strength of populist political parties is rooted in long-term economic and cultural changes, but appropriate social policies may moderate their appeal.Link

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The Economic Context for Reforming the Safety Net

The Economic Context for Reforming the Safety Net. Karen Dynan, November 6, 2019, Paper, “As we wrestle with the future of our safety net and social insurance programs, it is important to understand not only the features and outcomes associated with individual programs but also the broader economic context. This reflection piece discusses several relevant aspects of the macroeconomy and of economic and financial conditions facing households: rising government debt, slower macroeconomic growth, limited tools to fight future recessions, greater income inequality, and the financial struggles of households. It goes on to draw lessons for how we should reform our system of entitlement programs.Link

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Warren’s plan to finance Medicare-for-all pushes into dangerous and uncharted territory

Warren’s plan to finance Medicare-for-all pushes into dangerous and uncharted territory. Lawrence Summers, November 5, 2019, Opinion, “Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren last week mounted a passionate defense of universal government-provided health care and made a detailed case that it can be paid for without burdening the middle class. The vision of Medicare-for-all is immensely attractive and evokes health systems in other countries that perform much better than ours does. I could easily imagine supporting a well-designed Medicare-for-all plan.Link

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A Unified Welfare Analysis of Government Policies

A Unified Welfare Analysis of Government Policies. Nathaniel Hendren, August 2018, Paper, “We conduct a comparative welfare analysis of 133 historical policy changes over the past half-century in the United States, focusing on policies in social insurance, education and job training, taxes and cash transfers, and in-kind transfers. For each policy, we use existing causal estimates to calculate both the benefit that each policy provides its recipients (measured as their willingness to pay) and the policy’s net cost, inclusive of long-term impacts on the government’s budget. We divide the willingness to pay by the net cost to the government to form each policy’s Marginal Value of Public Funds, or its “MVPF”. Comparing MVPFs across policies provides a unified method of assessing their impact on social welfare. Our results suggest that direct investments in low-income children’s health and education have historically had the highest MVPFs, on average exceeding 5. Many such policies have paid for themselves as governments recouped the cost of their initial expenditures through additional taxes collected and reduced transfers.Link

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When Do Development Projects Enhance Community Well-Being?

When Do Development Projects Enhance Community Well-Being? Michael Woolcock, July 4, 2019, Paper, “Many development agencies and governments now seek to engage directly with local communities, whether as a means to the realization of more familiar goals (infrastructure, healthcare, education) or as an end in itself (promoting greater inclusion, participation, well-being). These same agencies and governments, however, are also under increasing pressure to formally demonstrate that their actions ‘work’ and achieve their goals within relatively short timeframes – expectations which are, for the most part, necessary and desirable. But adequately assessing ‘community-driven’ approaches to development requires the deployment of theory and methods that accommodate their distinctive characteristics: building bridges is a qualitatively different task to building the rule of law and empowering minorities. Moreover, the ‘lessons’ inferred from average treatment effects derived from even the most rigorous assessments of community-driven interventions are unlikely to translate cleanly to different contexts and scales of operation. Some guidance for anticipating and managing these conundrums are provided.Link

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Be very skeptical about how much revenue Elizabeth Warren’s wealth tax could generate

Be very skeptical about how much revenue Elizabeth Warren’s wealth tax could generate. Lawrence Summers, June 28, 2019, Opinion, “Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., has made her proposed 2 percent wealth tax on those worth more than $50 million a central part of her presidential campaign. Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, two economists at the University of California at Berkeley, who helped developed the proposal, estimated it it would rake in $187 billion a year. In April, we published a piece in the Washington Post suggesting that this estimate was likely overly optimistic. This week, Saez and Zucman published a rejoinder.” Link

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