Congressional Democrats are proposing to spend an enormous amount of taxpayer dollars on what the New York Times calls a “cradle to the grave” addition to U.S. social welfare. When budgeting shenanigans are ignored, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates that the full cost is not the $3.5 trillion that has been widely advertised, but at least $5.0 trillion and possibly as much as $5.5 trillion.
After years of advocating a level playing field, on which traditional Medicare competes against private Medicare Advantage plans, Democrats are now proposing to tilt the scales. They are proposing a hearing, vison and dental benefit for traditional Medicare, while stiffing the private plans. The proposal will make seniors worse off whenever they switch to or from a Medicare Advantage plan.
There are 5 million fewer people employed today than before the Covid epidemic struck and 7.7 million of those out of work are officially counted as unemployed. What’s going wrong? Federal policies are making it increasingly attractive not to work.
The Social Security Trustees have released their annual report on the system’s finances. The news is awful. Social Security’s unfunded liability is an enormous $59.8 trillion. That’s over 2.5 times the size of the U.S. economy. Even more disturbing is the change since last year’s report. The system’s unfunded liability grew by $6.8 trillion. In other words, while Congress has been arguing over whether we can afford $3.5T in new spending, the debt we are leaving to our children grew by almost twice that amount without Congress lifting a finger.
But unlike the change in official debt, Social Security’s deficits are carefully kept off the books — for political, not economic reasons. Consequently, not a single media outlet we know of has reported these numbers
Larry Kotlikoff says the FDA is foot dragging on approving vaccines for children, without any defensible reason. FDA-sanctioned adult vaccine trials began in March 2020. Given the crisis, safer and riskier adult-trial phases were run in parallel, with adolescent trials soon thereafter. But the FDA pushed a conservative approach for children, ostensibly to protect them. So pediatric trials were delayed until March 2021 — a full year beyond the start of adult trials. This delay has threatened every American child with long-term morbidity and even mortality. More.
Obamacare is the most flawed health system Americans ever created. If you combine the average premium and the average deductible people faced last year, a family of four with Obamacare insurance had to spend $25,000 before getting any benefits from their Obamacare plan. And in most places, the best doctors and the best hospitals are not included in Obamacare plan’s narrow networks.
The liberal media is panicking over the prospect of Larry Elder becoming governor of California. An editorial in the New York Times by Farhad Manjoo, for example, declares the Elder candidacy a “looming disaster,” a “liberal nightmare” and a possibility that is “as serious as a heart attack.” For Times editorial writer Paul Krugman, the possibility is even more frightening. Elder, he says, would be a “Trumpist governor” whose election would produce “awesome consequences” – all bad, of course.
Inequality is almost universally condemned by the intellectual elite. But most of the rest of the world doesn’t think inequality is such a bad thing. According to polling by Gallup, there are 138 million people in the world today who would like to immigrate to the United States. Most of these people are poor. They tend to live in egalitarian surroundings – they and their neighbors are all equally poor. (The country with the highest percentage of would-be immigrants is Liberia.) Yet they want to come to a country with a great deal of inequality, knowing they would start out at the bottom of the income ladder.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics says there are 18,650 economists in the United States. You have to wonder what they are all doing? No one is better qualified to comment on the economic effects of public policies than economists. Yet, only a handful of them routinely do so. Instead, they yield the public square to non-economists who are only too happy to fill the void and whose opinions are often wrong.
“Where Have All the Economists Gone?” asks John Goodman. In four separate editorials on socialism, racism, taxes and the environment, Goodman says economists who have a lot to say are holding back while too much nonsense dominates the public policy discussion.