Larry Kotlikoff’s Commentaries
Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Goodman Institute Senior Fellow Lawrence Kotlikoff and Harvard epidemiologist Michael Mina say the new point of care test developed by Abbott Labs is the right test at the right time.
Here is the disappointment. To conform with government regulations, this test has to be administered in the presence of a medical professional (such as a nurse). That means its value will be limited to schools, large companies, hospitals, etc. It won’t be useful for people who most need to be tested. We don’t insist on having a nurse present when a woman conducts her own pregnancy test. How is a Covid test any different?
What we really need are 150 million tests a day. In the home.
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
Back in April, I wrote about Bank of America’s horrible handling of Payroll Protection Loans…. I received one email after another written by business owners who experienced the same nightmare. I then wrote a column, copying some of these emails, and calling on BofA President, Brian Monyihan, to listen to the truly awful manner in which he and his colleagues were treating his customers, many, like me, who had been customers for decades.
Same-day, time-stamped cell-phone pictures … of negative test — tests, which were approved and supplied to everyone for free by Uncle Sam — would be required to enter the workplace, fly on an airplane plane, frequent a restaurant, enter a store, or attend a school, college, or university. If home tests weren’t perfectly precise, you’d likely need to show several days of negative test results. These requirements would be established by market players, not by government decree.
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
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.
No national testing policy. A lower number of tests per capita than 27 countries. No nationwide contract-tracing system. No national smartphone App to assist contact tracing. No obligatory, let alone enforced, masking policy. No obligatory, let alone enforced social distancing policy. No nationwide random testing to determine disease prevalence. No requirement that states follow CDC reopening guidelines. No restrictions on large gatherings. And a The-Buck-Stops-There strategy that’s dumped the Covid problem on the states, forced the states to compete against one another and ended up with each state treating residents of other states as pariahs.
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.
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.
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.