Commentaries by Pete du Pont first published in the Wall Street Journal

Where Have All the Economists Gone?

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.

How the Fed Slows Money Growth While Supporting Massive Government Borrowing at the Same Time

In the Wall Street Journal, Goodman Institute Senior Fellow Tom Saving and Phil Gramm write that the Federal Reserve is buying Treasury bills and mortgage-backed securities at a rate of $120 billion a month. This is apparently being done to support large borrowing by the federal government. At the same time, the Fed has pulled almost a trillion dollars of liquidity out of the financial system by “reverse-repo borrowing.”  This has reduced bank reserves and private sector lending. Not surprisingly, the growth of the M2 money stock fell from around 25% in 2020 to around 10% on an annualized basis in the first six months of 2021. More

Study: Inequality Greatly Exaggerated

Lifetime spending inequity is one-third of wealth inequality. The main reason: government taxes and transfers, which make the system far more “progressive than we are led to believe. In 2018, for example, the top 1 percent of taxpayers paid 40.1 percent of all federal income taxes. The top 10 percent paid 71.4 percent. The bottom half of the country paid less than 3 percent of all federal income taxes. More

SCOTUS Punts Obamacare Back to Congress

Forbes

Obamacare has two very bad features: unaffordable out-of-pocket costs and perilously narrow networks. If you combine last year’s average (unsubsidized) premium with the average deductible, a family of four had to pay $25,000 before getting any benefits at all from their plan. Also, the average plan looks like Medicaid managed care with a high deductible, excluding access to the best doctors and the best hospitals. 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

BofA Behaving Badly – Again

Forbes

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. More

A Manhattan Project for Covid

Forbes

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. 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

Goodman and Herrick: Obamacare Has Made Things Worse

Ignoring the tax subsidies (both at work and in the individual market), things have gotten worse for people with chronic health conditions – because of Obamacare. Premiums have doubled. Deductibles have tripled. And narrow networks exclude the best doctors and the best hospitals. The reason: Obamacare gives insurers perverse incentives to attract the healthy and avoid the sick. People with health problems are being mistreated because no health plan wants them.
John Goodman and Devon Herrick, study for the Heritage Foundation.