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Casey Mulligan: Energy Supply in the Biden Era: 2.4 Billion Barrels Untapped
Posted: June 13, 2024 at 06:30 AM (Thursday)

Domestic oil production is now well short of the trend established by Trump’s policies. The Biden administration boasts that U.S. oil production is breaking the previous U.S. and global record. This is the same administration that has adopted some 200 actions to limit oil and gas production as part of its climate-change agenda of a ...

Casey Mulligan: How Great Is the Regulatory Burden?
Posted: January 4, 2024 at 06:30 AM (Thursday)

Possibly $15,000 per household, a new study finds. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) expressed a common belief when she said that, while regulations impose costs, they are also about making sure that someone does not get to beat out the competition because they are dumping filth in the river or spewing poisons in the air. A new study finds ...

Casey Mulligan and Tomas Philipson: Poor Measurement of GDP Hides Falling Living Standard
Posted: October 9, 2023 at 06:30 AM (Monday)

Better national accounting would help to explain why voters feel discontented. With the private sector generating millions of jobs and GDP growth, the Biden administration is frustrated that citizens do not recognize how good things are. Many attribute this disconnect between voters and the White House to higher inflation and interest rates, ...

Joel Zinberg and Casey Mulligan: No, Lockdown States Did Not Do Better
Posted: April 19, 2023 at 06:30 AM (Wednesday)

Many politicians, public-health figures, and media pundits continue to insist that the Covid lockdowns were a success and represent a blueprint for future pandemic responses. Illinois governor J. B. Pritzker recently claimed that thousands and thousands of more people would have died in Illinois if we had followed the lead of a state like ...

Casey Mulligan: Biden’s Budget Is an Assault on Social Security
Posted: March 9, 2023 at 06:08 PM (Thursday)

High taxes and crushing regulations will starve entitlement programs into insolvency. President Biden released his 2024 budget request Thursday while continuing to accuse Republicans of scheming to cut benefits for seniors. But he’s got it backward. By advancing policies that hinder the economic growth that drives prosperity, Mr. Biden and ...

Casey Mulligan: We Cannot Have EVs without E
Posted: March 6, 2023 at 06:30 AM (Monday)

President Biden’s ‘Green Recovery’ plans would by themselves reduce national incomes by 2–3 percent. Shifting energy use toward renewable sources imposes significant costs on consumers, who, given the choice, overwhelmingly opt for cheaper and more reliable fossil-fuel sources. Electrification of cars and appliances also creates its own costs ...

Rob Arnott and Casey Mulligan: How Deadly Were the Covid Lockdowns?
Posted: January 11, 2023 at 11:59 AM (Wednesday)

For Americans under 45, there were more excess deaths without the virus in 2020-21 than with it. Covid-19 is deadly, but so were the draconian steps taken to mitigate it. During the first two years of the pandemic, “excess deaths”—the death toll above the historical trend—markedly exceeded the number of deaths attributed to Covid. In a paper ...

Stephen Moore, Casey Mulligan and E. J. Antoni: It pays not to work in Biden's America thanks to welfare benefits
Posted: December 18, 2022 at 10:59 PM (Sunday)

Most Americans believe, as we do, in a reliable government safety net in America, so that when people fall on tough times or lose their jobs, their families will not go hungry, lose their homes or suffer deprivation. But most Americans also believe that government assistance should be short-term and aimed at quickly getting people back on ...

Casey Mulligan: Lockdown Lessons for China
Posted: December 2, 2022 at 06:30 AM (Friday)

New data show that quarantining the healthy is even worse than critics thought. The spread of Covid-19 around the world prompted extraordinary, although often untested, steps by individuals and institutions to limit infections. Schools, restaurants, entertainment venues, and many other places of business were required to close under the ...

Casey Mulligan and Tomas Philipson: The Inflation Reduction Act Comes for Medicare
Posted: November 21, 2022 at 06:41 PM (Monday)

It will cut benefits and increase premiums, upsetting millions of elderly voters. President Biden has accused Republicans of scheming to cut Medicare. In fact it is his signature legislation, the Inflation Reduction Act, that will lead to benefit cuts and premium increases for seniors. Medicare’s popular drug-coverage program is headed for ...

Casey Mulligan: Biden Has Bungled Fossil-Fuel Policy
Posted: November 2, 2022 at 06:30 AM (Wednesday)

New data reveal how the administration’s policy has undermined the U.S. energy industry, which was once the most innovative in the world. A range of recent public policies raise the costs of extracting and processing fossil fuels in the United States. The result has been to squander historic export opportunities for domestic industries while ...

Casey Mulligan: Price Controls Are Hazardous to Your Health
Posted: August 24, 2022 at 06:30 AM (Wednesday)

Contrary to the conventional wisdom, the new law regulating what drug manufacturers can charge will reduce patient access to prescription drugs. The new budget-reconciliation bill, just signed into law by President Biden, directs the executive branch to negotiate the prices of drugs purchased by Medicare. Those provisions of the new law ...

Casey Mulligan: Businesses Need a Tax Cut
Posted: July 13, 2022 at 06:30 AM (Wednesday)

Under current law, inflation and TCJA sunset provisions are both increasing the taxation of business. This year has ushered in two significant tax increases that are pushing the economy toward recession. President Biden's Build Back Better plan would only add to the burden, instead of compensating for it. The twelve-month inflation rate hit ...

Joe Grogan and Casey Mulligan: In Defense of Pharmacy Benefit Managers
Posted: July 11, 2022 at 06:27 PM (Monday)

Drug-company lobbyists are pushing policy makers to kill the golden goose. Washington is a town not known for bipartisan agreement. But its swarms of drug-company lobbyists appear to have united both parties in opposition to pharmacy benefit managers. PBMs are taking the blame for high drug prices. PBMs manage prescription-drug benefits for ...

David Henderson and Casey Mulligan: Biden Is Practically Engineering a Recession
Posted: June 22, 2022 at 04:27 PM (Wednesday)

His regulatory and tax agendas seem designed to negate the good things the economy has going for it. Most discussion about the possibility of recession focuses on the Federal Reserve’s monetary policies. But there are also factors on the supply side of the economy that may tip the U.S. economy into a recession. Among them are the tax ...

Casey Mulligan: Government Marketing 101
Posted: June 2, 2022 at 06:30 AM (Thursday)

Living in an interconnected world, we have an interest in choices of others. It matters to us, for example, how they manage their health or whether (or how long) they attend school. Rather than encouraging prosocial behavior, government intervention often undermines it. The private and public sectors have different incentives when it comes ...

Casey Mulligan: Making Prescription Drugs Expensive Again
Posted: March 23, 2022 at 06:30 AM (Wednesday)

As Biden supplants consumer experience with bureaucratic edicts, expect drug prices to rise. In 2018, prescription-drug prices fell for the first time in 46 years. They dropped even more in 2019 and 2020. Much of this break from the prior upward trend in prices was the result of additional competition unleashed by President Trump’s ...

Casey Mulligan: Subsidizing Death by Drink
Posted: January 11, 2022 at 06:30 AM (Tuesday)

Closing bars and restaurants and pandemic 'stimulus' fueled excessive drinking at home. We can add a new, fatal wave of alcoholism to the unintended consequences of pandemic policy in the United States. Covid policies reduced the financial cost of excessive drinking and flooded families with extra cash. Although employment fell during the ...

Casey Mulligan: Biden Would Make Daycare Even More Expensive
Posted: December 9, 2021 at 06:47 PM (Thursday)

The Build Back Better bill would act like a $20,000 to $30,000 annual tax on middle-income families. Child care is already a major expense for parents, and President Biden pledges to reduce its cost with his multitrillion-dollar Build Back Better bill. Yet while some of those who receive government subsidies may see reduced costs, millions ...

Casey Mulligan and Tomas Philipson: Errant Nobels Try Again
Posted: December 7, 2021 at 06:30 AM (Tuesday)

Celebrated economists are once again using their perch to make political proclamations. We should ignore them. Seventeen Nobel prize–winning economists have declared that the reconciliation bill currently in Congress, known as “Build Back Better,” is an essential part of a “robust economic recovery.” They are violating the science they got a ...

Casey Mulligan: The Spending Bill Is an Attack on Work and Marriage
Posted: October 31, 2021 at 05:45 PM (Sunday)

A single mom could end up paying thousands more for daycare if she marries. Children will suffer. America’s children have suffered from ill-advised public-school closings. Now Democrats want to compound the damage with their welfare spending bill, which would push fathers out of family life and move mothers and fathers alike onto ...

Casey Mulligan: Build Back Better: Hefty Hidden Subsidies for Idleness and Desertion
Posted: October 20, 2021 at 06:30 AM (Wednesday)

James Tobin, a John F. Kennedy adviser, Nobel laureate, and leading Keynesian economist of his day, concluded in 1965: Public assistance encourages the disintegration of the family . . . it is bad enough to provide incentives for idleness but even worse to legislate incentives for desertion. . . . All too often it is necessary for the father ...

Casey Mulligan and Vance Ginn: 'Build Back Better’ Would Sink the Labor Market
Posted: October 18, 2021 at 06:49 PM (Monday)

The plan would tax those who produce and subsidize those who don’t—a poor recipe for growth. The two sides of a coin are typically regarded as opposites. In the case of President Biden’s $5 trillion Build Back Better bill, the two sides are actually the same. Both the revenue and expenditure provisions of this agenda will cause ...

Casey Mulligan: Did Closing Schools Enhance Health?
Posted: September 21, 2021 at 06:30 AM (Tuesday)

During the fall term, the fatality risk of teaching was comparable to that of driving 18 miles alone in a car. Many U.S. school buildings, especially those operated by the public sector, were closed last year. Academic progress, child development, and psychological health suffered from e-learning. Was there an offsetting health benefit ...

Casey Mulligan: Inflation Is Not Biden’s Fault
Posted: August 17, 2021 at 06:30 AM (Tuesday)

Deficit spending alone does not increase inflation. President Biden's policies, actual and aspired, have and will impose many harms on American citizens. Inflation is harmful too, but most of the blame for that lies elsewhere. President Biden's agenda includes historically large amounts of redistribution from workers to those out of work and ...

Casey Mulligan and Tomas Philipson: Government Failure Gave the World Covid
Posted: August 9, 2021 at 01:00 PM (Monday)

And markets provided the remedy. Economists don’t always appreciate how often that happens. The dispute between Sen. Rand Paul and Anthony Fauci about the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s role in the Covid-19 pandemic gets to the heart of economic policy. Economists are trained to believe that the purpose of government policy is to correct ...

Casey Mulligan: Three Cheers for Employer Health Insurance
Posted: July 16, 2021 at 06:10 PM (Friday)

It gets a bum rap. Data demonstrate it delivers great value to companies, employees and taxpayers. The Covid-19 pandemic has placed enormous stress on the American workforce. Unemployment topped 14 million last spring as businesses and communities locked down. With so many out of work, you’d expect to see a spike in the number of people ...

E.J. Antoni and Casey Mulligan: The Pay Is Generous, the Work Nonexistent
Posted: June 14, 2021 at 06:26 PM (Monday)

The federal unemployment bonus was a bad idea to begin with. It needs to go—immediately. The latest Labor Department statistics show an all-time record 9.3 million unfilled jobs, even though more than nine million Americans remain unemployed. Alarm bells should be ringing in Washington. Twenty-five Republican governors have wisely suspended ...

Casey Mulligan: The Casualties of ‘Moral Imperatives’
Posted: April 12, 2021 at 06:30 AM (Monday)

Prohibiting profit in health care would leave people suffering from conditions that would have been alleviated or cured by private-sector innovation. For the past five years or so, Democrats led by Senator Bernie Sanders and "the Squad" in Congress have made a strong push to eliminate the profit motive from the health-care sector, ...

Casey Mulligan and Tomas Philipson: Congress and the Economy: Less Is More
Posted: March 12, 2021 at 06:30 AM (Friday)

Should economic shocks make Americans richer? In one of the disturbing parts of John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, a lead character accidentally kills his own puppy because he does not know his own strength. Such are often the effects of Congress trying to prove its worth by "responding" to a problem. The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act ...

Casey Mulligan and Stephen Moore: How Many Jobs Will the 'Stimulus’ Kill?
Posted: February 25, 2021 at 06:31 PM (Thursday)

As many as eight million by our estimate, in part by gutting many of Clinton’s successful welfare reforms. President Biden’s $1.9 trillion Covid-relief package is being sold as an effort to “get America back to work.” It will do the opposite. We estimate that between five million and eight million fewer Americans will be employed over the next ...

Casey Mulligan: Is the COVID cure worse than the disease?
Posted: February 6, 2021 at 04:00 PM (Saturday)

The spread of COVID-19 in the United States has prompted extraordinary, although often untested, steps by individuals and institutions to limit infections. Some have worried that "the cure is worse than the disease." Economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton mocked this as a "pet theory about the fatal dangers of quarantine." They concluded in ...

Casey Mulligan: Obamacare Taxes Did Not Generate Revenue
Posted: January 18, 2021 at 06:30 AM (Monday)

Even in its dubious goal of increasing taxes, Obamacare fell short. Last week the White House released data showing that one of the major taxes in the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA) turned out to be a big lie. When Congress was debating the ACA, the experts told us that consumers must be forced to buy health insurance or else they would sign ...

Casey Mulligan: Trump Proved the Stagnationists Wrong
Posted: January 5, 2021 at 01:09 PM (Tuesday)

The Obama-era idea that the economy was stuck in a cycle of low or no growth hit an iceberg in 2017. Janet Yellen had a puzzle on her hands in 2017. The economy was growing at the same time that something was dragging down inflation. The Federal Reserve’s statisticians dug into it and found “a large decline in telecommunication service ...

Casey Mulligan: How Economics Is Helping End the Pandemic
Posted: December 18, 2020 at 06:30 AM (Friday)

Economists have long known about regulatory barriers to speedy vaccine development. Last March Dr. Fauci explained to a Senate committee that “a vaccine . . . will take at least a year or year and a half” until it is administered to the general public. In his next testimony, he added, “I don’t give advice about economic things.” If Dr. Fauci ...

Casey Mulligan and Stephen Moore: Unemployment Bonus Proves Its Harm
Posted: December 3, 2020 at 06:13 PM (Thursday)

Job openings declined sharply in August, after the $600 weekly payments stopped. Congressional Democrats and some Republicans are frantically trying to stitch together another $1 trillion “stimulus” bill. Why? The economy and jobs market have far exceeded expectations of recovery even without the spending spree first proposed by Speaker ...

Casey Mulligan: Biden's economic agenda and its effects
Posted: November 8, 2020 at 02:00 PM (Sunday)

In an effort to advance equality, environmental protection and other social goals, President-elect Joe Biden has proposed an ambitious and historic agenda, particularly in four areas: taxation, health insurance, regulation and energy policy. His full agenda would significantly reduce productivity, discourage work and discourage ...

Casey Mulligan: Paul Krugman’s Epic Summer
Posted: October 21, 2020 at 06:30 AM (Wednesday)

Assessing Mr. Krugman’s record on schooling, the economic recovery, and taxation. Professor Paul Krugman “has a good understanding of the essentials of international trade (the basis for his Nobel Prize Award) and explains them well,” I wrote in December in my new book about President Trump and his economic team. But I added that Krugman “is ...

Casey Mulligan: ‘I am a Tariff Man’: Comparing Presidents Reagan and Trump
Posted: October 19, 2020 at 06:30 AM (Monday)

While Reagan pursued a nuanced trade policy focused on quotas, Trump has held firm on his commitment to tariffs. “I am a Tariff Man.” — President Donald J. Trump, December 4, 2018 “We should beware of the demagogues who are ready to declare a trade war against our friends—weakening our economy, our national security, and the entire free ...

Casey Mulligan and Tomas Philipson: Does hurting the economy with big government buy votes?
Posted: October 1, 2020 at 03:55 PM (Thursday)

The on-again, off-again nature of economic stimulus negotiations may provide a useful brake to evaluate the proposals on the table more carefully. The economic effects they will have depend heavily on economic issues that the big-government coalition of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is seemingly unaware of. ...

Casey Mulligan: Data Dispel Keynesian Economics — Again
Posted: September 23, 2020 at 06:30 AM (Wednesday)

At best, redistribution from workers to the unemployed reallocates demand rather than increasing its total. July was the final month of the historically disproportionate unemployment bonus of $600 per week. The termination or reduction of benefits will undoubtably make a difference in the lives of the people who were receiving them, but ...

Casey Mulligan: The Real Cost of Biden’s Plans
Posted: September 16, 2020 at 06:55 PM (Wednesday)

The Democrat promises not to raise taxes, but middle earners will pay for his regulatory free for all. Presidential candidate Joe Biden has pledged that his administration will impose no new taxes on Americans making $400,000 or less and that there will be “no raising taxes . . . on mom and pop businesses.” Both his policy platform and his ...

Casey Mulligan: Anti-Despair Economics
Posted: August 10, 2020 at 04:40 PM (Monday)

Donald Trump’s policies for marginalized Americans closely resemble the recommendations made in a new book—though its authors don’t seem to recognize it. Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism, by Anne Case and Angus Deaton. In Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism, Princeton professors Anne Case and Angus Deaton address ...

Casey Mulligan: The Mythical Aggregate Demand Effect of Redistribution
Posted: July 30, 2020 at 06:30 AM (Thursday)

The CBO's "model" of aggregate demand is flawed. When you subsidize something, you get more of it. Unemployment is no exception. Subsidizing unemployment will result in more unemployment, both by increasing the number of layoffs and by increasing the duration of time that people remain unemployed. The Congressional Budget Office has said ...

Timothy Fitzgerald and Casey Mulligan: How the Jones Act literally has cows flying first class, and does environmental damage
Posted: July 20, 2020 at 12:45 PM (Monday)

While this may come as a shock to environmentalists and federal rule makers alike, regulation is not synonymous with cleaner air and water. Regulations protecting business interests are more frequent than environmental protections, and the former can do a lot of environmental damage. With President Trump and now candidate Joe Biden both ...

Brian Blase, Casey Mulligan and Doug Badger: Why Congress must say no to the $600 unemployment bonus extension
Posted: July 11, 2020 at 12:27 PM (Saturday)

As the recent two jobs reports show, the economy is much stronger than many thought it would be back in the spring. Over the past two months, the number of net new jobs is up by about 8 million. Yet, more than 18 million workers were collecting unemployment insurance benefits in late June, about 16 million more than during February. This ...

Casey Mulligan and Stephen Moore: A True Economic Stimulus Plan
Posted: July 2, 2020 at 06:19 PM (Thursday)

Don’t extend benefits for unemployment. Suspend the payroll tax to spur work and growth. The White House will soon begin negotiating with congressional Democrats on a “Phase 4” economic revival plan. President Trump has repeatedly expressed his support for suspending the payroll tax through the end of the year as a way to stimulate jobs and ...

Casey Mulligan: How the maritime industry is sunk by prohibition
Posted: June 3, 2020 at 03:17 PM (Wednesday)

Although President Trump is known as "A Tariff Man," all of the presidents in our lifetime have been far more draconian when it comes to "protecting" the U.S. maritime industry with the 100-year-old Jones Act. The result has been fatalities, the decimation of an industry, heavy burdens on American consumers and businesses and, most recently, ...

Casey Mulligan: Trumping Poverty
Posted: April 23, 2020 at 10:02 AM (Thursday)

The president’s rollback of onerous regulations has helped low-income Americans. At the end of March, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rolled back Obama-era fuel economy standards projected to add nearly $3,000 to the cost of a new car. It was the latest instance of President Trump’s record of cutting excessive regulations, which ...

Casey Mulligan: The COVID-19 Plague Considered as a Deregulatory Opportunity
Posted: April 16, 2020 at 12:14 PM (Thursday)

It has exposed the weakness of central planning. The ongoing war with the coronavirus has not only exposed the pitfalls of regulation but also provided a rare opportunity to multilaterally disarm in the battle for special-interest favors. Effective central planning is impossible. No one is capable of appreciating the myriad circumstances ...

Casey Mulligan and Brian Blase: Congress Can Still Save the Recovery
Posted: April 7, 2020 at 01:14 PM (Tuesday)

Lawmakers should correct incentives not to work, lest they slow the recovery after the economy reopens. The coronavirus has crushed the U.S. economy, and the legislative remedies Congress recently passed will make the recovery slower once it’s safe to return to work. No doubt lawmakers needed to act. Relief was likely most important for ...

Casey Mulligan: How the Government Subsidized Our Opioid Addiction
Posted: March 11, 2020 at 08:11 AM (Wednesday)

In both 2015 and 2016, U.S. life expectancy fell from the previous year. A single-year drop had not happened in 22 years, and two consecutive drops had not occurred in more than 50 years. This sharp reversal in the national trend toward longer lives is widely understood to be connected to the opioid epidemic that began in the 1990s. The best ...

Casey Mulligan: Bernie Sanders’s Agenda of Impoverishment
Posted: March 3, 2020 at 01:02 PM (Tuesday)

Bernie Sanders’s proposals would destroy America’s economic vitality. If fully implemented, Senator Bernie Sanders’s agenda for the economy would represent a dramatic break with American precedent and impose major costs on our economic well-being. Working from data provided in the Council of Economic Advisers’s 2018–2020 Economic Reports of ...

Casey Mulligan: Trump’s Vast Deregulatory Landscape Goes Unnoticed by the Experts
Posted: January 13, 2020 at 07:32 AM (Monday)

The myriad deregulatory actions of the Trump administration are generating considerable cost savings, savings that even conservative critics of regulatory overreach are underestimating. Like the Grand Canyon, the vast scale of these deregulatory efforts (and their results) is hard to fathom. In just three years the administration has ...

Brian Blase, Casey Mulligan and Tomas Philipson: President Trump's Health Care Actions Are Improving the Lives of Americans
Posted: February 13, 2019 at 04:00 PM (Wednesday)

Despite what the critics say, President Donald J. Trump's healthcare policies will improve peoples' lives. A new analysis out this week from the Council of Economic Advisers shows large projected net benefits from the Trump Administration's actions to expand families' ability to purchase the healthcare that works best for them — to a value ...

Casey Mulligan: Book Review "Hidden in Plain Sight" by Peter J. Wallison
Posted: February 24, 2015 at 06:32 PM (Tuesday)

Risky loans made by Fannie and Freddie were the biggest factor that led to the financial crisis—and the direct result of federal policy. How much did the federal government contribute to the financial crisis? The question is quantitative, and the answer requires the kind of number crunching and careful thinking than cannot fit into an op-ed ...

Casey Mulligan: The Myth of ObamaCare's Affordability
Posted: September 8, 2014 at 07:20 PM (Monday)

The law's perverse incentives will have the nation working fewer hours, and working those hours less productively. Whether the Affordable Care Act lives up to its name depends on how, or whether, you consider its consequences for the wider economy.

Millions of people pay a significant portion of their income for health insurance so they and their families can get good health care when they need it. The magnitude of their sacrifices demonstrates the importance that people ascribe to health care. ...

Casey Mulligan: A Recovery Stymied by Redistribution
Posted: June 29, 2014 at 05:00 PM (Sunday)

Public policy intended to make layoffs less painful actually made layoffs cheaper and more common. Why has the labor market contracted so much and why does it remain depressed? Major subsidies and regulations intended to help the poor and unemployed were changed in more than a dozen ways—and although these policies were advertised ...

Casey Mulligan: The Massive Tax Increase Hidden Inside Obamacare
Posted: June 19, 2014 at 10:04 AM (Thursday)

With this week's federal announcement that millions of middle- and low-income people are getting a surprisingly large number of taxpayer dollars attached to their participation in the Obamacare health plans, can we begin to take seriously the idea that the fiscal policies and regulations hidden in the Affordable Care Act are shrinking ...

Casey Mulligan: Stealth Taxes Are Still Income Taxes
Posted: April 16, 2014 at 01:44 PM (Wednesday)

For most Americans, the individual income tax returns they have filed over the last days and weeks are not much different than they were 10 years ago. But, in fact, taxes have changed dramatically over that period, behind the scenes and in support of health reform.
Western European governments have long provided medical assistance to all of ...

Casey Mulligan: The Power of Sebelius
Posted: April 9, 2014 at 12:01 AM (Wednesday)

In setting the 2015 calendar parameters for health plans and employers, Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, quietly did some creative but questionable arithmetic that forced taxpayers to give still more help to businesses and people who buy health insurance.
The Affordable Care Act is designed to encourage people ...

Casey Mulligan: 'Romneycare' and the 29ers
Posted: March 19, 2014 at 12:01 AM (Wednesday)

Health reform in Massachusetts in 2006 did not cause many workers to have their work hours cut, but that is no comfort for those workers nationwide who will begin to experience this side effect of the federal Affordable Care Act.
Business executives have been saying that they have, or will be, cutting workers’ hours to avoid penalties levied ...

Casey Mulligan: The Minimum Wage From a Family Perspective
Posted: March 12, 2014 at 12:01 AM (Wednesday)

Low-wage workers can benefit from the minimum wage even if the minimum wage reduces employment.
The simple textbook theory says minimum wage laws reduce employment because they make jobs more expensive for employers, and the extra expense either drives some employers out of business, encourages them to produce with less low-wage labor or ...

Casey Mulligan: The Economics of Randomized Experiments
Posted: March 5, 2014 at 12:01 AM (Wednesday)

I earn more and have more schooling than my daughter, who has no schooling and no earnings. But no one would conclude from that alone that my schooling is the reason why I earn more than she does.
It’s challenging to measure causal effects when many other variables are at work. Yet randomized field experiments are in vogue among academics ...

Casey Mulligan: The Affordable Care Act's Multiple Taxes
Posted: February 26, 2014 at 12:01 AM (Wednesday)

The Affordable Care Act contains at least two economically distinct taxes on labor market activity. Even the experts on the law have failed to recognize all of them.
The Affordable Care Act tries to make health insurance affordable by offering means-tested subsidies and tax credits to households so they can make their payments for monthly ...

Casey Mulligan: The Employer Mandate, Dukakis All Over Again
Posted: February 19, 2014 at 12:01 AM (Wednesday)

Last week’s adjustment to the employer mandate represents another battle in the political war of attrition between employers and those who want to carry out the federal health reform law. A similar war was fought in Massachusetts in the years after the Michael Dukakis administration and continued for decades.
In 1988, Governor Dukakis ...

Casey Mulligan: Demoralization Is Not a Policy Achievement
Posted: February 12, 2014 at 12:01 AM (Wednesday)

Economists working for Democratic administrations in the past used to shine a light on high marginal tax rates and the extensive economic damage the rates cause. Last week White House economists and their allies remarkably reclassified such rates as a policy achievement.
Ever since the 2008 crisis, the federal government has been creating ...

Casey Mulligan: The Economist Who Exposed ObamaCare
Posted: February 7, 2014 at 06:30 PM (Friday)

The Chicago professor examined the law's incentives for the poor not to get a job or work harder, and this week Beltway budgeteers agreed. In September, two weeks before the Affordable Care Act was due to launch, President Obama declared that "there's no serious evidence that the law . . . is holding back economic growth." As for ...

Casey Mulligan: She's a 29er
Posted: January 29, 2014 at 12:01 AM (Wednesday)

Much has been made of the burdens of the Affordable Care Act on healthy young men, but young women are the ones most likely to see the law push them out of full-time work.

A “29er” refers to someone working 29 hours per week, the maximum that an hourly employee can work and still be considered part time by the federal government, as defined under the Affordable Care Act. ...

Casey Mulligan: Just Compensation for Jurors
Posted: January 22, 2014 at 12:01 AM (Wednesday)

“Jury service is a serious, meaningful and important responsibility,” says Cook County Court in Illinois and many other courts in the United States. Yet the courts pay jurors far less than minimum wage. In Cook County, jurors are paid $17.20 a day; working eight hours at the state’s minimum wage would pay almost ...

Casey Mulligan: Ideas, Costs and the All-Volunteer Army
Posted: January 15, 2014 at 12:01 AM (Wednesday)

It is easy to exaggerate the importance of economic ideas in shaping public policy. The United States’ move to an all-volunteer army is a good example.
Public policies change over time, as with the emergence of the income tax early in the 20th century, deregulation of airlines and banking and the recruiting methods of the military. In ...

Casey Mulligan: Policies That Discourage Full-Time Work
Posted: January 8, 2014 at 12:01 AM (Wednesday)

The payroll tax holiday was an important factor helping the workweek recover after the recession, but the holiday is over and new public policies are pushing in the other direction.
Full-time positions pay more than part-time positions, even on an hourly basis. Part-time positions require less time away from family, schooling, etc., which ...

Casey Mulligan: Shorter Workweeks Are Likely in New Year
Posted: January 1, 2014 at 12:01 AM (Wednesday)

Three economic forces are pushing toward shorter workweeks for employees during the new year.
The red line in the chart below is a monthly index of the employment-to-population ratio, normalized to a value of 100 in December 2007, when the recession began. In this series, each employed person counts the same, regardless of how many hours she or ...

Casey Mulligan: Welfare Benefits for Big Business
Posted: December 25, 2013 at 12:01 AM (Wednesday)

News reports have emerged this year that some of the nation’s largest and best-known corporations – like Walmart and McDonald’s – may have disproportionate numbers of their employees taking part in public assistance programs like Medicaid and food stamps. A video that went viral on YouTube criticized McDonald’s for offering its ...

Casey Mulligan: Inequality and Good Intentions
Posted: December 18, 2013 at 12:01 AM (Wednesday)

A new book says good intentions are a barrier to equality and to progress among the world’s poor.
For most of human history, family incomes were barely enough to survive and life was short. But in “The Great Escape: Health, Wealth and the Origins of Inequality,” Professor Angus Deaton of Princeton writes that while economic progress allowed ...

Casey Mulligan: Conflicting Pressures on Demand for Doctors
Posted: December 11, 2013 at 12:01 AM (Wednesday)

The supply and demand for health services will experience a variety of changes in the near future, especially those from the Affordable Care Act. But nobody has quantified their net impact on the market for doctors. The new law pushes demand for physicians in both directions, making it is easy for advocates on either side of the law to ...

Casey Mulligan: Robots and Property Values
Posted: December 2, 2013 at 03:30 PM (Monday)

As robots begin to move goods and people from place to place, urban land might become more valuable. has announced that it is testing package delivery by drones — small, unmanned helicopters that would bring a purchase from Amazon’s fulfillment center to the customer’s front porch. Driverless cars are being developed to help move ...

Casey Mulligan: Changing Assistance for the Unemployed
Posted: November 27, 2013 at 12:01 AM (Wednesday)

Even if federal unemployment insurance expires at the end of the year, it will be replaced by an even more generous assistance program for people leaving their jobs.Unemployment insurance is jointly administered and financed by federal and state governments, offering funds to “covered” people who lost their jobs and have as yet been unable to ...

Casey Mulligan: The Labor Market and Labor Policy Since Kennedy
Posted: November 20, 2013 at 12:01 AM (Wednesday)

Fundamental changes in economic performance since the John F. Kennedy presidency help explain why economic policy debates are so polarized these days.
In its 34 months, the Kennedy administration embraced a range of interesting federal economic policies. Kennedy proposed permanently cutting personal and corporate income tax rates to ...

Casey Mulligan: The Slow Death of the Employer Mandate
Posted: November 13, 2013 at 12:01 AM (Wednesday)

Students of health reform can be informed and entertained by revisiting a book by the health reform champion John E. McDonough.
As a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1985 to 1997, Mr. McDonough had worked for state health reform well before the now famous Romneycare health reform of 2006. During that time he also earned ...

Casey Mulligan: In the Death Spiral We Trust
Posted: November 6, 2013 at 12:01 AM (Wednesday)

The insurance-market death spiral makes sense in theory, but economists do not really know if, and how often, it is a practical consideration in real-world health insurance markets.
Adverse selection refers to a failure of buyers and sellers to transact because one or the other has additional information about the quality or cost of the product ...

Casey Mulligan: Work Now, and Let Uncle Sam Pay You Later
Posted: October 30, 2013 at 12:01 AM (Wednesday)

Notwithstanding quirks in the Social Security system, public policy has sharply reduced the reward to work since 2007.
On Monday, the Economix blogger Nancy Folbre helped explain some of the complex factors that determine the rewards of working. Among other things, she noted the roles of work experience and Social Security benefits, both of ...

Casey Mulligan: The Power of the Individual Mandate
Posted: October 23, 2013 at 12:01 AM (Wednesday)

If and when the Affordable Care Act is executed as planned, it will leave few members of working families uninsured.
About 31 million members of nonpoor working families are without health insurance (according to my calculations from the Census Bureau’s current population survey). An important reason they do not have private health ...

Casey Mulligan: Aging, Taxes and the State of the Labor Market
Posted: October 16, 2013 at 12:01 AM (Wednesday)

As people age each year, that tends to increase average ages. At the same time elderly people die and babies are born, and that tends to decrease average ages. The combination of these two forces can keep the average population age constant over time.
The baby boom from the late 1940s to early 1960s changed this calculus, because the number ...

Casey Mulligan: Public Policy and Wages
Posted: October 9, 2013 at 12:01 AM (Wednesday)

Public policies in the United States and Britain have been different since their most recent recessions began but have achieved essentially the same result: real wage cuts for workers.

Between 2009 and 2011, the value-added tax in Britain increased to 20 percent from 15 percent. (The value-added tax is essentially a national sales tax.) Because the tax is part of the overall price of essentially anything bought in the country, it was no surprise that the ...

Casey Mulligan: How ObamaCare Wrecks the Work Ethic
Posted: October 2, 2013 at 07:37 PM (Wednesday)

The health-care law, starting Jan. 1, will begin driving up marginal tax rates—well above 50% for many. A new wave of redistribution will arrive in America on Jan. 1, primarily thanks to the Affordable Care Act. The president's health-insurance plan forces those who hire, work and produce to pay full price for health care, while creating ...

Casey Mulligan: The Tax Equation in the Health Care Law
Posted: October 2, 2013 at 12:01 AM (Wednesday)

In more ways than one, the new health insurance “marketplaces” are a big deal for low-wage workers.

Beginning this week, families can use the Affordable Care Act’s marketplaces to enroll for health insurance coverage that begins Jan. 1, and in many cases receive federal assistance with their premiums and other health costs on the basis of their expected income for ...

Casey Mulligan: Medicare's Lessons for the Affordable Care Act
Posted: September 25, 2013 at 12:01 AM (Wednesday)

Next week will not be the first time that the federal government has introduced a new, subsidized health insurance program for millions of people. The introduction of the Medicare program a half-century ago provides some indicators of how the Affordable Care Act’s new health insurance marketplaces might evolve after they open ...

Casey Mulligan: The 'Coase Theorem' and Labor Unions
Posted: September 11, 2013 at 12:01 AM (Wednesday)

Labor unions are organizations of workers through which workers collectively bargain with their employer(s) over wages, fringe benefits, working conditions and other ingredients of employment contracts.

Labor unions tend to support candidates from the Democratic Party more than they support Republicans, and “liberals” are thought to be the ones who would acknowledge socially productive activities by unions. ...

Casey Mulligan: Obamacare vs. Romneycare, The Labor Impact
Posted: September 4, 2013 at 12:01 AM (Wednesday)

From a tax perspective, the Affordable Care Act is in a different league than the Massachusetts health reform law passed in 2006.

The Affordable Care Act was intended to expand the fraction of the United States population covered by health insurance. The law includes taxes on employers and various implicit taxes on employees that go into effect over the next two years. Economic theory suggests that ...

Casey Mulligan: Behind the Big Increase in Food Stamps
Posted: August 29, 2013 at 11:01 AM (Thursday)

The food-stamp program spending grew primarily because of new program rules, and going back to 2007 program rules would yield significant savings for taxpayers.

Something unusual has been happening with the food-stamp program, now known as SNAP, for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Between 2007 and 2012, spending on SNAP more than doubled, adjusting for inflation and population growth. ...

Casey Mulligan: Robotic-Task Economics
Posted: August 21, 2013 at 12:01 AM (Wednesday)

The forces of supply and demand suggest that the machines of the future will continue to be significantly different from people.

Anthropomorphic robots are prominent in science fiction. Novels like Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein,’ and films like ‘E.T.,’ ‘Star Wars’ and ‘The Terminator’ feature machines with one head, two eyes and many other features of humans. But those robots were created by authors ...

Casey Mulligan: Health Care Inflation and the Arithmetic of Labor Taxes
Posted: August 7, 2013 at 12:01 AM (Wednesday)

A modest reduction in health care inflation by itself might increase employment or number of hours worked, but the effect will be overwhelmed by new taxes coming into effect in the next two years.

Health care and the labor market are connected because so much of the non-elderly population obtains health insurance through an employer or the employer of a family member. As the decades have gone by, Americans have been spending more and more on health care, largely ...

Casey Mulligan: More on Consumer Spending and Growth
Posted: August 1, 2013 at 09:30 AM (Thursday)

Chicago Bears fans like myself eagerly anticipate the beginning of the new Bears season, less than 10 days from now. If you visit any part of Chicago on a Sunday during the season, you readily hear shouts of “the Bears are No. 1!” and “the Packers stink!,” or perhaps the same sentiment vividly expressed in more colorful language (the Packers ...

Casey Mulligan: Consumer Spending and Economic Growth
Posted: July 31, 2013 at 12:01 AM (Wednesday)

Perhaps the most important topic in economics is the determinants of sustained growth for an economy. The arithmetic of compound interest tells us that even a small addition to the annual economic growth rate creates huge improvements in living standards for ...

Casey Mulligan: The New Economics of Part-Time Employment
Posted: July 24, 2013 at 12:01 AM (Wednesday)

A revised definition of part-time employment may have some popular appeal, but it will not repair the Affordable Care Act’s disincentives for full-time employment or its extra costs for taxpayers.

Part-time employment rarely includes health benefits. The lack of health benefits and the lower pay for part-time work have traditionally discouraged people from taking part-time jobs rather than full-time jobs, but both of those attributes of part-time jobs are about to ...

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