With the sad passing of Steve Jobs, everyone is talking about what an awesome entrepreneur he was. But what exactly do entrepreneurs like Jobs do for the economy?
An op-ed in the Washington Post discusses why federal farm subsidies don’t even make sense from an activist government point of view. Most farm subsidies go for animal-feed crops, which can be viewed as a subsidy for meat production. At the same time, the government propagandizes the public to follow healthy habits and eat lots of fruit and vegetables, but not so much meat.
A reporter asked me about the rise in entitlement programs and the problems created with so many people suckling on the federal teet. I’ve reported that the federal government has more than 2,000 different subsidy programs.
For years, Warren Buffett has been claiming that his secretary pays a higher tax rate than he does. Recently, President Obama has taken that claim and run with it. I don’t know Mr. Buffett’s particular tax situation, but I do know that his claim as a general matter is bogus.
The Washington Post reports on a Labor Department decision that applies pro-union Davis-Bacon rules to the CityCenter development in Washington D.C. The ruling could push up costs on the project by $20 million by forcing firms to pay artificially high wages.
The IRS made payments of $4.2 billion last year in refundable tax credits to illegal aliens, according to an audit by the Treasury’s Inspector General. “Refundable” tax credits are cash subsidies — federal outlays — given to people who don’t pay any income tax.
President Obama is planning to deliver a big speech on jobs and the economy. His wish list for Congress will likely include more government infrastructure spending. So that citizens know what the president is talking about, they should review the success of the government’s past infrastructure projects.
If you looked at the new CBO report on the budget, you may have noticed that federal spending this year will be $3.6 trillion.
In fact, federal spending this year will top $4 trillion. But virtually all reporters and budget wonks (including me) routinely use the lower number when discussing total federal spending. I don’t think the higher $4 trillion number even appears anywhere in the CBO report.
Average private sector wages in the United States rose 3.1 percent in 2010, slightly more than the 2.5 percent increase in average wages of federal civilian government workers. The growth in federal wages was the slowest in at least two decades, and it coincided with a rebound in private wages after the recession, according to new Bureau of Economic Analysis data (see Table 6.6D).