Posts filed under “Taxes and Policy”

A Spike in Corporate Inversions

Source: Ways and Means Committee Democrats

Category: Corporate Management, Taxes and Policy

John Oliver: Medicaid Gap


The election in 2016 decides our new president, but the one this year could determine whether many Americans will have healthcare.

Category: Humor, Really, really bad calls, Taxes and Policy, Video

Most Competitive Countries in the World

113 indicators from the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2015-16 (via  Bloomberg) leads to a not at all Lettermanesque top 10 list of most competitive countries in the world.  Here’s a look at this year’s top 10: Switzerland Singapore United States Germany Netherlands Japan Hong Kong Finland Sweden United Kingdom Fascinating list . . ….Read More

Category: Corporate Management, Economy, Taxes and Policy

Medicare Part D pays needlessly high brand-name drug prices

Category: Taxes and Policy, Think Tank

Lowering Medicare Part D Prices

Of all of the many poor domestic tax decisions that came out of the Bush Administration, the massive corporate giveaway that is Medicaid Part D was one of the most offensive. A new study has found that this is a very expensive mistake. Its title: “Medicare Part D pays needlessly high brand-name drug prices compared with other…Read More

Category: Corporate Management, Really, really bad calls, Taxes and Policy

What Happens If We Redistribute Bill Gates Wealth to the Poor?

Today’s column might anger some people on the right AND the left. Try not to react emotionally. Instead consider this as a way to point out some obvious truths to your ideological opposites. Take a look at the Robin Hood Index chart at right (via Bloomberg). It shows the effect of confiscating all of the wealth of…Read More

Category: Really, really bad calls, Taxes and Policy, Wages & Income

More Food for Thought on Seattle Minimum Wage

@TBPInvictus (Pun intended in the title) There are myriad factors that typically go into determining the success or failure of any legislative policy. It will be no different with regard to the minimum wage. Let’s turn (again) to Seattle, currently Ground Zero for the minimum wage debate, where the minimum wage was recently kicked up…Read More

Category: Current Affairs, Data Analysis, Economy, Taxes and Policy, Wages & Income

Mark Perry Doesn’t Understand Geography

@TBPInvictus here: As I recently highlighted, Mark Perry – an AEI scholar and professor of economics - is playing very fast and loose with data surrounding employment in Seattle post its recent minimum wage hike. In his recent “report” on the subject, which was picked up far and wide by conservative outlets, Professor Perry wrote (emphasis mine):

“In June of last year, the Seattle city council passed a $15 minimum wage law to be phased in over time, with the first increase to $11 an hour taking effect on April 1, 2015. What effect will the eventual 58% increase in labor costs have on small businesses, including area restaurants? It’s too soon to tell for sure, but there is already some evidence that the recent minimum wage hike to $11 an hour, along with the pending increase of an additional $4 an hour by 2017 for some businesses, has started having a negative effect on restaurant jobs in the Seattle area. The chart below shows that the Emerald City MSA started experiencing a decline in restaurant employment…”

The minimum wage hike took place in the city of Seattle, population ~650,000. What’s all this talk about “area restaurants,” “the Seattle area,” and the “Emerald City MSA”? (Note that companies with under 500 employees — that includes most restaurants — the actual date is 2021, not 2017).

This is simply someone with an agenda deliberately being intellectually dishonest in an attempt to mislead readers and spread misinformation widely through the conservative echo chamber. It’s a tried and true method that, unfortunately, has worked time and again.

When Perry talks about Seattle (city proper) and the “Seattle area,” you may not know it, but he’s talking about two very, very different areas.

Legislatively, economically, legally and socially, these are two completely different regions. Perhaps most important of all, in terms of data collection for the subject at hand, the map below shows exactly how different they are:


Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 6.08.17 PM


Seattle, the city in question whose minimum wage is now $11, on its way to $15 over the next 3-7 years – is (as best as Paintbrush lets me draw it) the area within the red oval. The “Seattle area” or “Emerald City MSA,” as Perry misleadingly wrote, are the three more darkly shaded counties – Pierce (bottom), King (middle), and Snohomish (top) – engulfing Seattle and making it look, well, geographically tiny in comparison.

The MSA Perry referenced as being impacted by the new minimum wage has an overall population of some 3.6 million versus the aforementioned population of Seattle at about 650,000. What’s to compare? As Media Matters put it in their takedown of Perry’s work: “The employment trends of the entire region are not representative of the impact of a local wage ordinance in a single city.” But Perry does not care, as he’s repeatedly referenced the same irrelevant data point multiple times on Twitter. He is exactly the man whom Upton Sinclair was referring to when he said, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”

Why would anyone look at a MSA when it is the city – and ONLY THE CITY  - that has the new minimum wage law. The New York equivalent would be to suggest that perhaps an ordinance in New York City might somehow have a ripple effect in White Plains, N.Y., or Hackensack, N.J. After all, they are both part of the greater tri-state region (there is a massive New York-Newark-Jersey City MSA). It’s absurd on its face, and any honorable analyst understands this.

This suggests that Perry is engaging in fraud or ignorance. Neither reflects on him favorably. Perry should apologize and AEI should retract that piece in entirety.


An analyst as intellectually dishonest as Perry apparently is could do something similar on the flip side:

Seattle Passes Higher Minimum Wage; Area Food Biz Employment Now at 134,000!

First, I’d point out that at the end of 2013, the most recent year for which we have good statistics on the city itself, Seattle city employment in two broad categories combined – Arts, Entertainment & Recreation and Accommodation & Food Services – totaled about 40,000, as seen below.

Screen Shot 2015-08-15 at 6.36.53 PM

Source: American FactFinder

Then, I’d trumpet the “fact” that the “Seattle area” or “Emerald City MSA” (see what I did there?) has more than tripled that total to a whopping 134,000. I’d then claim victory at having “demonstrated” that the ordinance I supported was having its desired effect.

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 7.47.13 PM

Source: St. Louis Fed

But I’d never do such a thing. Most reputable people wouldn’t.

Read More

Category: Cognitive Foibles, Current Affairs, Data Analysis, Employment, Really, really bad calls, Taxes and Policy, Wages & Income

When Do Gasoline Sales Peak?

On Monday, I discussed why Tesla’s latest announcement was big. The electric carmaker said it planned a modification that would give its autos the ability to accelerate faster than cars that cost two to three times more and keep up with those that cost 10 to 20 times more. That’s an astonishing accomplishment. I made the…Read More

Category: Energy, Politics, Really, really bad calls, Taxes and Policy

John Oliver on Taxpayer Funded Stadiums

Cities spend massive amounts of public money on privately-owned stadiums. Cities issue tax-exempt municipal bonds that — wait, don’t fall asleep!


Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Stadiums (HBO)



Category: Humor, Sports, Taxes and Policy, Video