Become a Patron! One of the most frustrating things that comes up almost immediately when you start talking to people about money is the way people treat certain purely regulatory or legislative figures as having some kind of moral or persuasive value. The example that has driven me crazy for years is the advice to "contribute enough to your 401(k) to maximize your … [Read more...] about Minimums, Anchors, and Thresholds
Become a Patron! It became fashionable in the 20th century to distinguish between two kinds of sudden changes, or "shocks" that could impact an economy, for better or worse: demand-side shocks and supply-side shocks. This conceit has played such an important role in economic policy-making, it's worth looking at iconic examples of each kind. After World War II the US … [Read more...] about Mass death is a supply shock, too
Become a Patron! This is a post I've been looking forward to writing for 7 weeks, and had started to give up hope I'd ever be able to publish: today I found out my unemployment insurance claim has finally been approved and paid. How unemployment insurance "works" Until the present crisis, most white collar professionals have only had the vaguest idea of how the … [Read more...] about My Unemployment Insurance Saga, or, Not All Heroes Wear Capes
Become a Patron! I got a nice response to my first post on personal finance during the plague so, as long as we're trapped inside together, I'll be sharing some more thoughts on what the pandemic means and how we can choose to respond to it. Over the past few months, a lot of people have stumbled into an uncomfortable truth: as Mindy Isser elegantly put it in Jacobin, … [Read more...] about After the plague: an economy of addition or subtraction?
Become a Patron! After they finish hemming and hawing about "constitutional" arguments, opponents of proposals for an American tax on very large fortunes typically make one of two arguments: a more-progressive, better-enforced income and estate tax code could achieve the same revenue goals as a wealth tax, or; a value-added tax, like those used to fund European … [Read more...] about Why even the perfect income tax can’t substitute for a wealth tax