Benjamin Studebaker

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

Tag: Tax

Britain: For the Love of God, Please Stop Theresa May

On June 8 (this Thursday), Britain has a general election. I care deeply about British politics–I’m doing my PhD at Cambridge. But more importantly, Theresa May’s government has managed the country’s economy and public services with stunning fecklessness, and I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t do my part to point this out.

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Don’t Vote for the Tories: Their Manifesto Can’t Compete With Labour’s

British Prime Minister Theresa May has announced plans for a snap election on 8 June. She’s ahead in the polls (although not as far ahead as she was when I started this series), and the Conservatives may win–they may win by a lot. But they shouldn’t. So I’m continuing a blog series called “Don’t Vote for the Tories.” Each post gives you a new reason to reject the Tories at the polls this June, grounded in research and data. Previously, we’ve looked at some of issues the Conservatives have mishandled, and at the alternative on offer in Labour’s manifesto. Today we’ll be looking at the Conservative manifesto and running their promises directly against Labour’s.

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Should You Flee to Canada if Trump Wins?

Recently Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hung out with President Obama. The American left has been cooing all over Trudeau, and many people suggest they might move to Canada if Donald Trump becomes president. This idea of Canada as a haven for American progressives is an old one, and at times it has come in handy for Vietnam draft dodgers and runaway slaves. For many left-leaning democrats, Canada is considered something of a paradise, and in some ways it is–healthcare is a right of all people in Canada, and Canada scores better on life expectancy, homicide rate, obesity, social mobility, and in a number of other areas. But lately I get a sense that Americans are being perhaps a bit too utopian about Canada, and if you’re considering relocating, there are a few things you should know first.

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Bernie Sanders: What the Economists are Fighting About

Economists have gotten into a big fight with each other about the potential economic impacts of Bernie Sanders’ proposals. First Gerald Friedman came out with a new paper anticipating a tremendous improvement in economic performance under Sanders. Then four economists (Krueger, Goolsbee, Romer, and Tyson) affiliated with the Obama and Clinton administrations wrote a joint letter asserting that Friedman’s claims “cannot be supported by the economic evidence”. Paul Krugman subsequently took their side on his popular blog. Others have defended Friedman–Jamie Galbraith accuses the four of not having rigorously reviewed the paper, while Dean Baker claims that the New York Times is not giving Sanders’ side a platform and that there’s far more support among economists than we are being led to believe. In the popular press, this argument has rapidly devolved into a question of which authorities are more or less credible. I want to give you something better–a readable analysis of the actual arguments at stake here.

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Tax Credits and How to Fix the House of Lords

In Britain, the House of Lords recently impeded an attempt by Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative government to cut tax credits for working families as part of its austerity program. The average beneficiary family stood to lose £1,300 (about $2,000) a year, often on incomes of £20,000 or less. It effectively would have amounted to a 5% to 10% income cut for 3.3 million of Britain’s poorest families. This would have inflicted terrible and unnecessary suffering on these families and it would have damaged consumer spending and harmed Britain’s economy. It is a wonderful thing that the House of Lords blocked these cuts. It illustrates just how important it is to have another legislative house with the power to curb the excesses of the House of Commons. Yet because the members of the House of Lords are chosen on an anachronistic and often arbitrary basis, it cannot be trusted with the power it would need to mount a broader, more serious opposition to austerity. So how do we fix that?

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