Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Deficit

The 3 Ways Governments Raise Money Part II: Borrowing

Today I’m continuing my three-part series on how governments finance themselves. The aim is to clear up the popular misconception that the state’s budget is similar to that of a corporation or a household, that government borrowing is always necessarily a bad thing. Previously we talked about taxation–today is all about borrowing.

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Shutdown: Don’t Hate the Players, Hate the Game

Today I’ve been reading around the internet the myriad reactions to the US government shutdown. Seemingly universally, these reactions all assign blame for the shutdown to someone. Most are blaming congressional republicans, but some are blaming senate democrats and the administration, while others are blaming both at once. I wish to challenge this entire way of talking about the government shutdown by arguing that the shutdown is the result of structural forces outside the control of any of the participating factions. I will argue that instead of blaming republicans, democrats, or both, we should blame none of the above. Instead of hating the players, we should hate the game–the political institutions that have failed us.

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Only 6% of Voters Know Anything

I am often told that I take too negative a view of the average voter, that people do not need to be experts to vote well or to have good political instincts. I am not the least bit troubled by these critiques. Why? Because I continue to stumble upon utterly depressing statistics. These statistics show that contrary to our optimistic inclinations or general idealistic hopefulness, the average voter is well and truly spectacularly ignorant. The one I wish to discuss today certainly blew my mind–perhaps it will blow yours.

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How Spending Cuts Make Debt Problems Worse

The IMF has a new paper out that confirms what I have long suspected–when a state with a depressed economy reduces spending, the spending cuts lead to sufficient contraction to result in the cancellation of savings for the state. How does it work? Let’s explore.

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