Kotlikoff: We Are Not Saving Enough

On net, the U.S. is saving just 2.2 percent of our national income. By contrast, the nation’s saving rate was 7.6 percent in the 1980s, 10.3 percent in the 1970s, and 13.0 percent in the 1960s.

The main reason: government policies that take an ever-larger share of resources from young and give them to the old.

Unless baby boomers change their saving habits substantially and relatively quickly, they may experience much higher rates of poverty in their old age than what the current elderly are experiencing. More

The FDA is Preventing a Solution to Covid

Forbes

With paper-strip tests, Americans could test themselves every day in their own homes, at a cost of $1 to $2 per test. The government could even make the tests available for free. Unlike lengthy swabs and finger prick tests (which cause personal discomfort), paper strip testing involves no more than spitting into a tube or the use of a short nasal swab – with results in a few minutes. By contrast, the standard PCR test currently being used costs from $50 to $100 and sometimes more. Results can take more than a week – and that makes them virtually useless. Also, testing tends to be a one-time, irregular event. More

Corporate Tax Reform that Pays for Itself

Republican tax reform could have been better. An ideal reform, originally proposed by Paul Ryan would have produced a of 20.5 percent increase in the nation’s capital stock and a 6.8 percent increase in GDP. Wages would have increased by 6.3 percent for high-income workers and by 7.5 percent for low-income workers. The reasons: a highly elastic global supply of capital, which moves across borders at the first sign of a tax advantage and the inefficiency of the U.S. corporate income tax, which, as of 2014, our year of calibration, had a very high marginal, but very low average tax rate. More

Herd Immunity

We often hear that there’s a tradeoff between saving lives and economic performance. In this case of COVID-19, there’s not. They go together. Reaching Herd Immunity may be the way to bring the economy and daily lives back to normal as soon as possible.

Kotlikoff in the NYT: A Cheap, Simple Way to Control Covid

Paper-strip tests are inexpensive and easy enough to make that Americans could test themselves every day. You would simply spit into a tube of saline solution and insert a small piece of paper embedded with a strip of protein. If you are infected with enough of the virus, the strip will change color within 15 minutes….  The price per person would be from $1 to $5 a day. The Food and Drug Administration should encourage their development and then fast track approval. More

Short-Term Insurance Is Not The Problem. It’s The Solution

Forbes

Democrats in Congress are trying to abolish short-term, limited-benefit insurance, but that insurance is on the rise because people want it. Democrats complain that today’s short-term plans don’t cover services people might need.  “What if you get sick and need expensive drugs?” they might ask. The answer is: you drop your short-term plan and enroll in an Obamacare plan. More

Best Biden VP Choice: Condoleezza Rice

Secretary Rice served in President George W. Bush’s Cabinet, both as our nation’s top diplomat and before that as national security adviser. But she also served (as an intern) in the Carter administration’s State Department as well as in President George H.W. Bush’s administration. She’s a Republican, but she’s no ideologue. Consequently, she will instantly appeal to independents across the nation. More

Study: Government Will Take Almost Half of Your Lifetime Income

In addition to the federal income tax and all its special provisions, there are 42 separate state income tax systems. Then there are more than 30 different federal entitlement programs (most of which are state specific), including Medicaid, Obamacare, TAFDC, SNAP, Housing Assistance, Child Care Assistance, and Energy Assistance, etc. Here’s the bottom line from Prof. Kotlikoff: the average household in this country can expect to keep about 57 cents out of every dollar of earnings. When you earn a dollar, you are only earning a little more than half of that dollar for yourself. The rest of the dollar will go to the government. More

Goodman on COVID: Deregulation is Saving Lives

Forbes

Regulations that lock down the economy are killing people. Deregulation is saving them. That’s the theme of several research projects at the GIPPR. It’s also the theme of John Goodman’s latest post at Forbes. Governmental bodies are repealing laws, suspending regulations, and ignoring previous restrictions that impeded the ability of the private sector to act. They are liberating doctors, nurses, drug manufacturers, test makers, makers of personal protective equipment, etc., to do things that were illegal to do only a few months ago. More

Masking Is Our Only Answer

South Korea, Taiwan, Beijing and Hong Kong have weathered the coronavirus far better than other countries. On a per capita basis, these countries and cities had more than 100 times as many Wuhan visitors as New York City or Milan. But they’ve each done an outstanding job of controlling the virus. So, what has really worked in these five places as well as in China, which has put a tight lid on COVID-19? The answer is in plain sight from pictures of daily life in the five success stories: People wear masks. And they do so with complete discipline. More