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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-11-2008, 11:23 AM
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Bush did it.

The biggest problems we are facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all and thatís what I intend to reverse.

~ Senator Barack H. Obama
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-11-2008, 05:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Botnst View Post
Bush did it.
Doesn't he always?

I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way.
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-11-2008, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by QBNCGAR View Post
If only you could talk to numbers on a spreadsheet and figure out the root cause to the questions he tries to answer.

Economists should stick to studying economies...leave the social sciences to social scientists.
Um, Economists don't just look at numbers. The science of Economics is based on both social and business interactions.

An easy third of what we studied was economics of society and economics of civilization.

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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-11-2008, 06:59 PM
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Originally Posted by edfreeman View Post
Edgar K. Browning, professor of economics at Texas A&M University, has a new book aptly titled "Stealing from Each Other." Its subtitle, "How the Welfare State Robs Americans of Money and Spirit," goes to the heart of what the book is about. The rise of equalitarian ideology has driven Americans to steal from one another. Browning explains that certain kinds of equality have been a cherished value in America. Equality under the law and, within reason, equality of opportunity is consistent with a free society. Equality of results is an anathema to a free society and within it lie the seeds of tyranny.
Browning entertains a discussion about when inequalities are just or unjust. For example, college graduates earn income higher than high-school dropouts. Some people prefer to work many hours and earn more than others who prefer to work fewer. Students who spend 25 or more hours a week on classroom preparation earn higher grades than students who spend five hours. Most would agree that these inequalities are just. There are other sources of inequalities that are unjust, such as: when incomes result from fraud, corruption, stealing, exploitation, oppression and the like. Such sources of inequality play an insignificant role in producing income inequality in America. Most economists agree that income is closely related to productivity.
Much of the justification for the welfare state is to reduce income inequality by making income transfers to the poor. Browning provides some statistics that might help us to evaluate the sincerity and truthfulness of this claim. In 2005, total federal, state and local government expenditures on 85 welfare programs were $620 billion. That's larger than national defense ($495 billion) or public education ($472 billion). The 2005 official poverty count was 37 million persons. That means welfare expenditures per poor person were $16,750, or $67,000 for a poor family of four.
Those figures understate poverty expenditures because poor people are recipients of non-welfare programs such as Social Security, Medicare, private charity and uncompensated medical care. The question that naturally arises is if we're spending enough to lift everyone out of poverty, why is there still poverty? The obvious answer is poor people are not receiving all the money being spent in their name. Non-poor people are getting the bulk of it.
Browning's concluding chapter tells us what the welfare state costs us. He acknowledges the non-economic costs such as infringements on liberty and strains on the political process, but focuses on the quantitative economic costs. The disincentive effects of Social Security have reduced the GDP by 10 percent, the federal income tax (as opposed to a proportional tax) by 9 percent and past deficits by 3.5 percent for a total of 22.5 percent. He guesses that welfare programs have reduced GDP by 2.5 percent. The overall effect of redistributionist policies has created incentives that have reduced GDP by a total of 25 percent. Without those, our GDP would be close to $18 trillion instead of $14 trillion.
So what's Browning's solution? First, he reminds us of the biblical admonition "Thou shalt not steal." Government income redistribution programs produce the same result as theft. In fact, that's what a thief does; he redistributes income. The difference between government and thievery is mostly a matter of legality. Browning's solution is captured in the title of his last chapter, "Just Say No," where he proposes, "The federal government shall not adopt any policies that transfer income (resources) from some Americans to other Americans." He agrees with James Madison, the father of our Constitution, who said, "I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents."
For years I've used Professor Browning's and his colleague Mark A. Zupan's excellent textbook "Microeconomics: Price Theory and Applications" in my intermediate microeconomics class. "Stealing from Each Other" is a continuation of his academic excellence.
This column is a very good example of a conclusion in search of facts that attempt to support it. Loose and fast with figures that don't really state a case. It's a shame really because there could be some meat to his argument if he would back up a few steps and not try and force it.

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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-11-2008, 07:00 PM
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I'm just guessing here, but I'll bet there are all manner of subdisciplines of economics and probably each subdiscipline has at least 2 factions, each of which thinks the other is totally nuts.

It's the only (so-called) science that uses excruciatingly difficult math to prove what has already happened with amazing precision but is unable to predict anything with any useful degree of confidence.

B

The biggest problems we are facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all and thatís what I intend to reverse.

~ Senator Barack H. Obama
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post #16 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-11-2008, 07:13 PM
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I'm just guessing here, but I'll bet there are all manner of subdisciplines of economics and probably each subdiscipline has at least 2 factions, each of which thinks the other is totally nuts.

It's the only (so-called) science that uses excruciatingly difficult math to prove what has already happened with amazing precision but is unable to predict anything with any useful degree of confidence.

B
Actually it tends to model pretty well. It is when the models get molested by politicians or corporate heads that the predictability factor decreases.

And like every other school, yep there are several factions within the group but the basics, much like the foundation chemistry/physics/biology of lab sciences are consistent.

And the math is really easy once you get the hang of it. It takes some getting used to working with very long formulae and abstracts but it is not hard. I found a major bug in Excel once due to one of the formulae I was building. At the time Excel would only allow 256 characters per cell so my formula stretched over five cells. Once I filled that formula set down 12,000 lines I found that Excel choked. MS was not pleased to see the problem. I was taking what normally would have been done on a Prime or Sys36 and doing it on a 1989 level 386/20.

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post #17 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-11-2008, 07:41 PM
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Actually it tends to model pretty well. It is when the models get molested by politicians or corporate heads that the predictability factor decreases.

And like every other school, yep there are several factions within the group but the basics, much like the foundation chemistry/physics/biology of lab sciences are consistent.

And the math is really easy once you get the hang of it. It takes some getting used to working with very long formulae and abstracts but it is not hard. I found a major bug in Excel once due to one of the formulae I was building. At the time Excel would only allow 256 characters per cell so my formula stretched over five cells. Once I filled that formula set down 12,000 lines I found that Excel choked. MS was not pleased to see the problem. I was taking what normally would have been done on a Prime or Sys36 and doing it on a 1989 level 386/20.
"This paper shows how to compute a second-order accurate solution of a non-linear rational expectation model using algorithms developed for the solution of linear rational expectation models. The result is a state-space representation for the realized values of the variables of the model. This state-space representation can easily be used to compute impulse responses as well as conditional and unconditional forecasts."

Sure. Simple math. Gotcha.

B

The biggest problems we are facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all and thatís what I intend to reverse.

~ Senator Barack H. Obama
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post #18 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-11-2008, 07:50 PM
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"This paper shows how to compute a second-order accurate solution of a non-linear rational expectation model using algorithms developed for the solution of linear rational expectation models. The result is a state-space representation for the realized values of the variables of the model. This state-space representation can easily be used to compute impulse responses as well as conditional and unconditional forecasts."

Sure. Simple math. Gotcha.

B
I said easy, not simple.

Sounds like something out of the Euro Central Bank from the past couple of years.

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post #19 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-11-2008, 08:01 PM
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Jeez, now my head hurts. I thought that phrase sounded familiar. Here is the link for the paper. This thing does get into some complex modeling. And not so easy, either.

http://www.ecb.europa.eu/pub/pdf/scpwps/ecbwp487.pdf


Wifie walked by while I was reading it and just started laughing. She know I prefer the KISS method.

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