Goodman on Bidenomics

Forbes

There are a surprising number of illiberal proposals, including health insurance subsidies, Medicare enrollment for seniors who are wealthy and already insured, two years of free college – subsidizing the single greatest cause of income inequality. “The puzzle in all this is, Why? Why impose a whole slew of new taxes on the rich and then turn around and give them a whole slew of new benefits?” More

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

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

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

The Five Deadly Sins Of Private Health Insurance

Forbes

In health care we are not getting the benefits from competition that we receive in markets for other goods and services. The reason for that is unwise government regulation. Under the current system, We don’t allow health plans to specialize in something they are really good at. Say a plan is very good at diabetic care. If we would allow it to restrict its enrollment to diabetics and focus exclusively on their care, it would probably improve even further. Instead, we require health plans to be all things to all enrollees. More

Goodman: Has Liberalism Lost Its Mind?

Although liberals often talk about helping the poor and reducing inequality, their most cherished reforms these days would tax the poor and subsidize the rich – making inequality worse than it otherwise would have been. Consider three ideas that are at the top of the mainstream liberal policy agenda: Medicare buy-in for young seniors, free college education and making it easier for workers (especially public employees ) to unionize. It’s hard to think of an agenda that is less progressive in the original meaning of the word. More