Against Mandates, In Favor of Personal Responsibility

If you know my political leanings, it should be no surprise that I generally oppose government mandates or bans. One reason is that they often provoke a backlash. Social psychologist Robert Cialdini’s Psychology of Persuasion details numerous examples where people’s logical thinking switches off in favor of a more knee-jerk and primitive reptilian response. In… Continue reading Against Mandates, In Favor of Personal Responsibility

Understanding Critical Race Theory Through the Lens of Structural Determinism

The United States witnessed a renewed discussion on issues of racial discrimination, police brutality and criminal justice reform in the wake of George Floyd’s murder in May of last year. While a number of issues came to the public fore, one issue that amassed tremendous amount of attention was Critical Race Theory (CRT). CRT is… Continue reading Understanding Critical Race Theory Through the Lens of Structural Determinism

A Six-Step Program for Fiscally Conservative Social Liberals

A few years ago, the esteemed Chuck McGlawn argued against the temptation for libertarians to let someone pigeonhole our beliefs as being fiscally conservative and socially liberal. I do like his framing and also agree that it is important not to fall into the trap of letting our rather arcane and arbitrary two-party system dictate… Continue reading A Six-Step Program for Fiscally Conservative Social Liberals

On the Fairness (or lack thereof) of our Plurality Voting System

Our current plurality voting system (aka First Past the Post) is one of the least fair voting systems in the world because it gives no voice at all to minority viewpoints. Indeed, even a majority viewpoint can be underrepresented if that side of the political spectrum simply runs more candidates, thus splitting the vote (i.e.,… Continue reading On the Fairness (or lack thereof) of our Plurality Voting System

How Trustworthy Is Media Bias / Fact Check?

For the past several years, I’ve looked far and wide for good ratings of media sources. Media Bias / Fact Check (MB/FC) is the best one I’ve been able to find. Indeed, every criticism of MB/FC that I have ever seen fails to mention a media assessment source that is better! That says it all… Continue reading How Trustworthy Is Media Bias / Fact Check?

Why Can’t Economics Accurately Predict the Timings of Recessions?

It boils down to two main reasons: The problem is extremely difficult.The field of macroeconomics has been corrupted by politics. Regarding the first problem, it’s an issue of complexity. Just like molecules do not act like sums of atoms (and thus chemistry bears little resemblance to physics), humans do not act like sums of organs,… Continue reading Why Can’t Economics Accurately Predict the Timings of Recessions?

Why Did the Fed Lower Interest Rates If the U.S. Economy Is Doing Well?

There are three prevailing theories: 1) insurance 2) political pressure 3) market pressure. Regarding the first theory, Fed chair Jerome Powell may be trying to pull off what Greenspan did in 1995 and 1998. Powell has characterized both the rate cut in July and the most recent one in September as “insurance.” What he means… Continue reading Why Did the Fed Lower Interest Rates If the U.S. Economy Is Doing Well?

What Does It Mean When “The Monetary Authority Is Financing the Fiscal Authority”?

The fiscal authority is Congress (along with the president), which passes budgets regarding federal taxation and expenditures. In economics, these types of actions are called fiscal policy, which means Congress is the fiscal authority. Tax cuts and increased spending can stimulate an economy to fight unemployment, and the opposite actions can cool it down to… Continue reading What Does It Mean When “The Monetary Authority Is Financing the Fiscal Authority”?

The Economics Behind the Individual Mandate

In regards to the big Supreme Court decision on Romneycare Obamacare, there's been much hand-wringing on how this is a tax on doing nothing. This does seem odd, until you realize that a penalty or tax on one group but not on a second group is economically identical to having no penalty or tax on the first group but a tax credit… Continue reading The Economics Behind the Individual Mandate