No Nonsense Economics

9
Feb

Reforming the ACA: Losing the Forest for the Trees

Californians are correct to be worried about the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) now that the Republicans control both branches of Congress and the White House. But they should be more worried about a looming crisis that neither presidential candidate addressed during the contentious election season — the coming fiscal calamity being driven by spiking Medicare costs. During

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30
Nov

Trump and the Triumph of ‘Miserabilism’

Donald Trump’s victory a few weeks ago threw the political science world into turmoil. As far as we know, most of the truly serious pollsters went into the election with numbers that suggested Hillary Clinton was highly likely to win—perhaps one reason why the Clinton camp failed to make needed investments in the swing states that threw the election Trump’s

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3
Nov

California’s Ballot Propositions: A Few Thoughts

In California, this year’s bumper crop of confusing and often contradictory ballot propositions are the best example of a bad idea that has rapidly grown out of control (our most recent post, The Tyranny of Direct Democracy, lays out the serious and intensifying problems associated with the state’s Initiative system). But despite a distorted and misused process, this year’s state and

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27
Oct

The Tyranny of Direct Democracy

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was co-authored by Adam J. Fowler.  Remember when the biggest thing arriving in your mailbox over the course of the year was the massive old Sears catalog? Times have changed. For many, this year’s heftiest arrival was probably the 2016 California Voter Guide, which came in at over 200 pages. The number of statewide ballot measures in

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28
Sep

Keeping An Eye On The IE

It sometimes seems like the Inland Empire is the Rodney Dangerfield economy—it just doesn’t get any respect. It’s tough being the blue collar sibling to the gigantic Los Angeles economy and the glitzy resorts of Orange County. But given the region’s ascendency as an economic engine, that will likely change. The fact is the Inland Empire is one of the

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1
Sep

Miserabilism Debunked: Middle Class Stagnation

Humans by nature are inherently discontent—not that this is a bad thing. Much of human progress can be traced to people striving to improve their own personal circumstances. Discontent in fact drives much of the human innovation that ultimately benefit everyone. As Adam Smith famously noted “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker

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30
Jun

Brexit As A Non Issue

When the UK voted to leave the European Union, it set off an explosion of media coverage even as equity markets around the globe, including in the United States, dived in the aftermath. Bond markets rallied and the $US spiked up sharply. The market has settled down a bit—but judging by the initial reactions you’d think Brexit was the single

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21
Apr

California’s Minimum Wage Hike Debate…Or Debacle?

A few weeks ago Governor Jerry Brown suddenly, and seemingly without warning, reached a deal with union groups under which California’s minimum wage will be sharply raised to $15 per hour by 2022. The measure was quickly rubber-stamped by the state legislature and puts California firmly on a path to one of the highest wage floors in the nation. The

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16
Mar

US Financial Market Drama: Much Ado About Nothing

This year started with a thud rather than a bang as financial markets across the globe saw major selloffs. Analysts liberally assigned the cause of the panic to fears about oil, fears about China, fears about terrorism, fears about deflation, fears about who knows what—perhaps fears about fears. But whatever was driving the alarm appears to have faded. Major stock

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26
Feb

Exporting Water In A Drought

The good news is that El Nino came back in 2016 bringing with it much needed rains and a snowpack that is already well above normal. California’s drought may not be gone—in fact it could go on for some time—but its effects are clearly reduced. That doesn’t mean we should stop talking about water, however. There will be another drought

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