Dr. Jackie Brux
No, please don't be frightened away from these topics, as they are easy to understand. And, despite being lost in recent political drama, the budget is particularly important to our citizenry. The president (along with his non-economist chief economic advisor, Larry Kudlow) submitted the new budget proposal to Congress on March 10 for fiscal year 2020 (October 2019 through September 2020). Let's take some mystery out of these topics, and then move on to examining the president's proposed budget itself.
"Rules and regulations, who needs them — throw them out the door." How many of you aging hipsters remember singing along with this line from Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young?
Let's consider the nature of our economy today and tie it to our need for young workers. Mostly we need coherent economic policies to guide rational decision-making. Let me explain. Unemployment rates are at historical lows, making it difficult for businesses to find workers to expand production. Even if this were not so, businesses are reluctant to increase production when the future of our economy is so uncertain.
We are living in a polarized time, where discrimination and racism, as well as other forms of hate, are rampant. Consider the economic effects of discrimination. First, discrimination reduces our nation's GDP, which means less job creation. This is due to inefficiencies associated with an absence of free market forces that normally determine efficient outcomes associated with hiring the best person for the job. When employers make decisions based on stereotypes, they end up hiring less qualified people.
"People have no idea how badly our country has been treated by other countries . They've destroyed the steel industry, they've destroyed the aluminum industry, and other industries .... trade wars are good and easy to win."—President Donald Trump, March 2018. Oh my gosh ~ Did Trump really say that stuff? Trade wars are good and easy to win!? Did you hear a collective head bang among economists and business leaders? Granted, it's so easy to be ignorant on a Twitter account ~ there's no one to proofread it. BUT THIS ONE BOGGLES THE COLLECTIVE MIND.
Let's consider the impact of immigrants and refugees. Recently, Pope Francis pleaded for greater global support for immigrants and refugees, part of a long-standing tradition in the Catholic (and many other) churches. This admonition would have us shift the discussion toward human rights, rather than just civil rights. Clearly, there is a moral issue. And, there is considerable confusion about the economics of the issue.
I received a phone call from a reader, questioning my use of statistics. I thank him for his call, because in an era of social media on the one hand, and accusations against the press on the other, it is critically important to carefully assess information we receive. In the case of statistics, we need to determine: • whether the source is credible, • the exact meaning of the reported data, • any possible bias underlying the statistics, • the depth and breadth of the topic.
As you know, tax "reform" is on the agenda in Congress. Let's consider the impact of the Trump/Republican tax proposal. There are three purposes of taxes: They can 1) provide revenue for government spending, 2) alter income distribution, and 3) stimulate the economy. Let's consider the effects of both corporate and personal income taxes. We don't have all the details yet, but we can address what we do know.
Donald Trump's address to the United Nations on Sept. 19 focused on many political issues that have clear economic implications. Let's consider the economics of these topics in two separate columns in the River Falls Journal. 1."Wherever true socialism or communism has been adopted, it has delivered anguish and devastation and failure."