Thursday, November 4, 2010

Big Bag of US Politics

When Obama cut taxes, he used some good behavioral economics: by cutting taxes by a few dollars from each paycheck instead of sending out a large refund, it was hoped that people would spend more of the money and get a bigger bang for the buck. The downside is that people don't realize there was a tax cut, but they did notice when tax withholdings bounced back up!

From Marron, a number of economics bloggers were asked about the US economy. The adjectives they used were put into this wordle diagram (where the size of the word shows how often it was mentioned). "Among the more amusing responses from other bloggers: taupe and flirtatious."

Public What You Fund shows that there is substantial variation in aid transparency, with the World Bank being the most transparent donor, Japan the least, and the US the 6th least transparent. Hat tip Roving Bandit. Dixon points out one example of increased transparency in our local post office. Dual monitors have been installed so that customers can see what the postal worker is doing. This is not very popular with the postal workers. In similar news, Transparency International's workhorse measure of corruption (CPI) based on corruption perceptions is facing increased negative reviews that want to look at different types of corruption and one that is comparable from year to year.

The Economist sounds the call for monetary stimulus: "... the entire burden of stimulating demand falls on the Federal Reserve." And for changes to pension laws:
It would seem that countries will have to choose between two forms of default. They can break their promises to their creditors or they can break their promises to future pensioners. Some countries will do the former, either by an outright failure to repay their debts or via the more subtle approach of inflation and currency depreciation.
Following up on a topic I've blogged about before, San Francisco passed a bill restricting the types of meals fast food restaurants can package with a toy. The restrictions are not draconian, but do require servings of fruit or vegetables and limit calories and the percent of calories from fat and added sugar.

Below the fold, the oh so smart, suave, savvy audience to restore sanity was asked if Obama is a Keynesian. Their responses show an ignorance to rival the factions they mock.

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