Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Republicans, Taxes, and the Poor

Today's NYT editorial brings to mind this quotation by sociologist Zygmunt Bauman: "One cannot desire poverty for others without feeling morally contemptible; but one can desire lower taxes." Or to raise taxes on the poor.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Federal Holidays

Tyler Cowen has a post speculating on what will be the next federal holiday and who will be the namesake. This is a subject near and dear to my heart (I love vacation*, yay!). What says you my dear non-existent readers?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

2012 Prediction

The election is just over a year away but I feel confident in predicting that Mitt Romney will both win the republican nomination and become our next president. The economy sucks and it is likely to muddle through at best (or tank if Europe disintegrates further as it is threatening to do). Unemployment is unlikely to rebound in the near term (I wouldn't be surprised if we are staring down 10% unemployment again by November '12). What odds would you like to give me that the stock market is above 10k? Home prices will likely be flat, maybe still declining in some places and foreclosures will continue to be stacking up. I think this means that the generic Republican (and Mitt Romney is assuredly the nearest thing) will beat President Obama handily*.

*Inconvenient fact- Romney is mormon and that gives a lot of otherwise fair-minded people the heebeejeebees and this is to say nothing of those who are not fair-minded.

Texas Jobs

Now that Rick Perry has thrown his hat into the ring his record is being rightfully dissected. One thing that has struck me is the commentary surrounding how low paying Texas jobs are. The median wage in Texas in $15.14 (28th in the nation) which would in fact be quite low in someplace like N.Y. and D.C. where the cost of living is quite expensive. In D.C. $15 an hour is what you make slogging away for some obscure non-profit and enables you to get a room in a run down group home (probably not a well maintained one at that) in a transitional neighborhood. However, in anti-zoning zealous Texas land is plentiful and land use restrictions are minimal thus you end up with cities like Houston where a single family home can be had for $130,000. I have never been to Houston so I can't speak to its vices or virtues but I would consider affordable housing a virtue. And since housing and the overall cost of living is lower in Texas the median wage gets you much further than it does somewhere like NY or LA. There are many credible lines of attack against Rick Perry--clearly he has said some things that are batshit crazy (his claim that if Bernanke and the Fed starting printing more money that that would be nearly treasonous*)-- but the low wage meme is not one.

*The treason comment and his earlier secession comment unfortunately probably reveal less about Rick Perry but rather reflect an able politician who has a good feeling for his base.