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Articles about the work of Amity Shlaes

The Shlaes Plan
futureofcapitalism.com

Amity Shlaes has been astonishingly prolific lately -- a piece for AOL News July 8, a piece for the Wall Street Journal July 13, and a piece for Bloomberg also published July 13.

The best of the three pieces in my view is the Bloomberg column: "What is failing us isn't our economy, but our politics," she writes, calling for humility in government. She likes Rep. Paul Ryan and Governor Mitch Daniels, and she suggests cutting taxes and regulations, abandoning fiscal stimulus, and reducing expectations about entitlements. She preemptively acknowledges her plan will be "ridiculed," but says it's worth laying out nonetheless.

Read More...


Amity Shlaes on Wickard v. Filburn
futureofcapitalism.com

Amity Shlaes has a new Bloomberg column up on a 1942 Supreme Court case, Wickard v. Filburn, that expanded the federal government's powers under the Commerce Clause of the constitution. She notes a Rasmussen Poll finding that "only 23 percent of Americans believe their government rules with 'the consent of the governed.'" And she suggests "passage of a constitutional amendment that explicitly delineates limits to government intervention in states."

Read More...


Toke and Tax
futureofcapitalism.com

Momentum seems to be building for marijuana legalization. Rep. Barney Frank, in a New York Times interview over the weekend: "Do you think your bill to legalize marijuana will ever pass? Yes, in the next five years." Amity Shlaes, in a new Bloomberg column: "People feel about marijuana today the way they felt about liquor when FDR became president. Americans are increasingly supporting legalization of the drug. For the first time in memory, it seems conceivable that a president might be able to push legalization through Congress. If the administration backed the legalization of marijuana, consumers would be so grateful that the government could tax the heck out of the herb."

Read More...


Amity Shlaes on Social Security
futureofcapitalism.com

Amity Shlaes has a new column posted at Bloomberg observing that the president has not progressed up what she calls "the Social Security learning curve." She writes, "This world-is-flat executive is the price we pay for electing as president someone who hasn't thought much about either the economy or entitlement reform"

Read More...


State Tax Competition
futureofcapitalism.com

Amity Shlaes has a new column up at Bloomberg about the tax competition between states, including that between New Hampshire and Massachusetts and between Connecticut and New York.

Read More...


More Republicans for Soaking the 'Rich'
futureofcapitalism.com

The increasing number of voices on the center-right of the political spectrum who want to try to solve the entitlement problem on the backs of "the rich" is a trend we have been following closely here.

Two more data points: First, an Amity Shlaes column reporting on a proposal by the Heritage Foundation's David John, who "would stanch the Social Security system's red ink by reducing government pensions that higher earners receive." (Mr. John's earlier ardor for fixing Social Security's finances regardless of the principles at stake prompted a 2006 New York Sun editorial headlined "The Heritage Tax," which elicited a letter to the editor in response from the think tank.)

Read More...


Amity Shlaes on Taxes
futureofcapitalism.com

Amity Shlaes has a new Bloomberg column up on taxes:

In the 1990s, scholars designed an experiment to see whether people understood the difference between progressive structures, under which rates go up as people earn more, and proportional ones, under which higher earners pay taxes at the same rate as lower earners.

Read More...


Amity Shlaes on the Robber Barons
futureofcapitalism.com

Amity Shlaes has a really wonderful piece in the weekend Wall Street Journal reviewing the book American Colossus: The Triumph of Capitalism 1865-1900 by H.W. Brands:

Read More...


Amity Shlaes on the Tax Deal
futureofcapitalism.com

Amity Shlaes has a Bloomberg News column critical of the tax deal because of the cut in the Social Security payroll tax. She writes, "Pensions are contracts, even public pensions like Social Security....When a showcase contract like Social Security is compromised, citizens' faith in other contracts, public or private, begins to fray. Their willingness to invest or hire weakens....In its Social Security component the new tax deal honors the precedent set when the federal government sacrificed bondholders and creditors to unions in the recent auto bailouts. It seems any deal or promise is subordinate to servicing the general economy and its managers."

Read More...


Amity Shlaes on Walker and Coolidge
futureofcapitalism.com

Amity Shlaes has a column up at Bloomberg News about the Wisconsin public employees and Governor Scott Walker: "Walker's move won't necessarily hurt his career. It may catapult him to the national stage, or even the presidency."

Read More...


Kerry's Infrastructure Bank
futureofcapitalism.com

Read it here first: In commenting over the weekend about Senator Kerry's plan for a $10 billion or $600 billion "federal infrastructure bank," I said, "infrastructure spending is a big favorite of the Chamber of Commerce." Today Mike Allen's Politico Playbook reports that Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Donahue will appear with Mr. Kerry today to endorse the proposal. So will Republican senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas.

Mr. Allen quotes an anonymous Kerry aide as saying, ""This legislation is John Kerry's climate change effort of 2011 – meaning he's going to throw his heart and soul into it." Mr. Allen is too polite to suggest an alternative meaning – that, like the climate change legislation, it's not going to pass.

Meanwhile, over at Bloomberg News, Amity Shlaes has a column skeptical about the effects of infrastructure spending:

Read More...


Shlaes on 'Tax Sanctimony'
futureofcapitalism.com

Amity Shlaes has a tax column up at Bloomberg News:

In 1980, the top 1 percent of earners paid 19 percent of income taxes, and the bottom half of earners paid 7.1 percent. A decade later, with a lower maximum rate, the top 1 percent paid 25 percent of taxes, while the bottom earners paid just 5.8 percent. By 2008, top earners paid 38 percent of taxes, the bottom half 2.7 percent....

tax sanctimony gets in the way of tax reform. In a progressive rate structure, the rich almost always get bigger tax cuts, because their rates are higher to begin with. So their cuts sound unfair. The more progressive a tax structure, the more unfair its dismantlement appears.

Read More...


Shlaes on a New Gramm-Rudman
futureofcapitalism.com

Amity Shlaes has a Bloomberg column digging into the details of the new Gramm-Rudman being discussed as part of a budget deal:

More important though is to decide what the goal here is, mere budget balancing or government cutting. A new constraint mechanism that includes tax increases may indeed check government growth, or even shrink it. Such a trigger plan, however, may also allow the House and Senate to prance around claiming they are demonstrating discipline even as they expand government. It is, after all, possible to maintain a large balanced budget. My preference would be for a mechanism whose sole aim is to make government smaller, where any spending increases triggered spending cuts of double the size.

Read More...


Shlaes on the Budget
futureofcapitalism.com

Amity Shlaes has a column up at Bloomberg arguing that Congress should give the president back the "impoundment" authority it took away in 1974: "Such a law needn't make the president into a dictator. It need merely restore the balance that existed before 1974."

Read More...


Shlaes on the Congressional Effect
futureofcapitalism.com

Amity Shlaes has a Bloomberg News column on Eric Singer's Congressional Effect Fund, which invests in stocks only when Congress is on recess, and goes to treasuries when Congress is in session. Her conclusion: "Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has lately been ripping President Barack Obama for taking a 10-day holiday on Martha's Vineyard; he argues that Obama should abort his holiday and hurry back to the Oval Office. But the Congressional Effect theory suggests Obama is right to enjoy his island stay, and might even lengthen it."

Read More...


The Best Piece Yet on Occupy Wall Street
futureofcapitalism.com

What a wonderful Wall Street Journal editorial page to start off the week!

Gordon Crovitz, who lives a block away from the Occupy Wall Street protest, has written THE best piece yet anywhere about it. He quotes a letter from the owner of the property being occupied: "Complaints range from outrage over numerous laws being broken including but not limited to lewdness, groping, drinking and drug use to the lack of safe access to and usage of the park, to the ongoing noise at all hours, to unsanitary conditions and to offensive odors."

Amity Shlaes has a fine column about how some developments in the late 1970s helped set the stage for the boom of the 1980s and thereafter. Her point about "the Steiger Amendment, which halved the capital gains rate, to an effective 25%," is particularly well taken.

Read More...


Tax Foundation on Payroll Taxes and Growth
futureofcapitalism.com

Amity Shlaes has a column about a new Tax Foundation study that the Foundation headlines, "Global Evidence on Taxes and Economic Growth: Payroll Taxes Have No Effect."

Shlaes is a genius and a friend with whom I agree probably 99.9% of the time, and the Tax Foundation is a wonderful institution that I also usually agree with. But on this one I think they are missing a key point. Here's the Shlaes column:

Maybe payroll-tax cuts don't equal growth. Perhaps they don't matter to growth. Perhaps other steps generate better growth....Some countries featuring very high or regressive payroll-tax rates, such as the Slovak Republic, with taxes in the mid-40 percent range, grew fast over the decade.

Here's the Tax Foundation report:

Read More...


Tax Foundation on Payroll Taxes and Growth
futureofcapitalism.com

Amity Shlaes has a column about a new Tax Foundation study that the Foundation headlines, "Global Evidence on Taxes and Economic Growth: Payroll Taxes Have No Effect."

Shlaes is a genius and a friend with whom I agree probably 99.9% of the time, and the Tax Foundation is a wonderful institution that I also usually agree with. But on this one I think they are missing a key point. Here's the Shlaes column:

Maybe payroll-tax cuts don't equal growth. Perhaps they don't matter to growth. Perhaps other steps generate better growth....Some countries featuring very high or regressive payroll-tax rates, such as the Slovak Republic, with taxes in the mid-40 percent range, grew fast over the decade.

Here's the Tax Foundation report:

Read More...


The Best Piece Yet on Occupy Wall Street
futureofcapitalism.com

What a wonderful Wall Street Journal editorial page to start off the week!

Gordon Crovitz, who lives a block away from the Occupy Wall Street protest, has written THE best piece yet anywhere about it. He quotes a letter from the owner of the property being occupied: "Complaints range from outrage over numerous laws being broken including but not limited to lewdness, groping, drinking and drug use to the lack of safe access to and usage of the park, to the ongoing noise at all hours, to unsanitary conditions and to offensive odors."

Amity Shlaes has a fine column about how some developments in the late 1970s helped set the stage for the boom of the 1980s and thereafter. Her point about "the Steiger Amendment, which halved the capital gains rate, to an effective 25%," is particularly well taken.

Read More...


Shlaes on the Congressional Effect
futureofcapitalism.com

Amity Shlaes has a Bloomberg News column on Eric Singer's Congressional Effect Fund, which invests in stocks only when Congress is on recess, and goes to treasuries when Congress is in session. Her conclusion: "Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has lately been ripping President Barack Obama for taking a 10-day holiday on Martha's Vineyard; he argues that Obama should abort his holiday and hurry back to the Oval Office. But the Congressional Effect theory suggests Obama is right to enjoy his island stay, and might even lengthen it."

Read More...


The Shlaes Plan
futureofcapitalism.com

Amity Shlaes has been astonishingly prolific lately -- a piece for AOL News July 8, a piece for the Wall Street Journal July 13, and a piece for Bloomberg also published July 13.

The best of the three pieces in my view is the Bloomberg column: "What is failing us isn't our economy, but our politics," she writes, calling for humility in government. She likes Rep. Paul Ryan and Governor Mitch Daniels, and she suggests cutting taxes and regulations, abandoning fiscal stimulus, and reducing expectations about entitlements. She preemptively acknowledges her plan will be "ridiculed," but says it's worth laying out nonetheless.

Read More...


Amity Shlaes on Wickard v. Filburn
futureofcapitalism.com

Amity Shlaes has a new Bloomberg column up on a 1942 Supreme Court case, Wickard v. Filburn, that expanded the federal government's powers under the Commerce Clause of the constitution. She notes a Rasmussen Poll finding that "only 23 percent of Americans believe their government rules with 'the consent of the governed.'" And she suggests "passage of a constitutional amendment that explicitly delineates limits to government intervention in states."

Read More...


Toke and Tax
futureofcapitalism.com

Momentum seems to be building for marijuana legalization. Rep. Barney Frank, in a New York Times interview over the weekend: "Do you think your bill to legalize marijuana will ever pass? Yes, in the next five years." Amity Shlaes, in a new Bloomberg column: "People feel about marijuana today the way they felt about liquor when FDR became president. Americans are increasingly supporting legalization of the drug. For the first time in memory, it seems conceivable that a president might be able to push legalization through Congress. If the administration backed the legalization of marijuana, consumers would be so grateful that the government could tax the heck out of the herb."

Read More...


Amity Shlaes on Social Security
futureofcapitalism.com

Amity Shlaes has a new column posted at Bloomberg observing that the president has not progressed up what she calls "the Social Security learning curve." She writes, "This world-is-flat executive is the price we pay for electing as president someone who hasn't thought much about either the economy or entitlement reform"

Read More...


State Tax Competition
futureofcapitalism.com

Amity Shlaes has a new column up at Bloomberg about the tax competition between states, including that between New Hampshire and Massachusetts and between Connecticut and New York.

Read More...


More Republicans for Soaking the 'Rich'
futureofcapitalism.com

The increasing number of voices on the center-right of the political spectrum who want to try to solve the entitlement problem on the backs of "the rich" is a trend we have been following closely here.

Two more data points: First, an Amity Shlaes column reporting on a proposal by the Heritage Foundation's David John, who "would stanch the Social Security system's red ink by reducing government pensions that higher earners receive." (Mr. John's earlier ardor for fixing Social Security's finances regardless of the principles at stake prompted a 2006 New York Sun editorial headlined "The Heritage Tax," which elicited a letter to the editor in response from the think tank.)

Read More...


Amity Shlaes on Taxes
futureofcapitalism.com

Amity Shlaes has a new Bloomberg column up on taxes:

In the 1990s, scholars designed an experiment to see whether people understood the difference between progressive structures, under which rates go up as people earn more, and proportional ones, under which higher earners pay taxes at the same rate as lower earners.

Read More...


Amity Shlaes on the Robber Barons
futureofcapitalism.com

Amity Shlaes has a really wonderful piece in the weekend Wall Street Journal reviewing the book American Colossus: The Triumph of Capitalism 1865-1900 by H.W. Brands:

Read More...


Amity Shlaes on the Tax Deal
futureofcapitalism.com

Amity Shlaes has a Bloomberg News column critical of the tax deal because of the cut in the Social Security payroll tax. She writes, "Pensions are contracts, even public pensions like Social Security....When a showcase contract like Social Security is compromised, citizens' faith in other contracts, public or private, begins to fray. Their willingness to invest or hire weakens....In its Social Security component the new tax deal honors the precedent set when the federal government sacrificed bondholders and creditors to unions in the recent auto bailouts. It seems any deal or promise is subordinate to servicing the general economy and its managers."

Read More...


Amity Shlaes on Walker and Coolidge
futureofcapitalism.com

Amity Shlaes has a column up at Bloomberg News about the Wisconsin public employees and Governor Scott Walker: "Walker's move won't necessarily hurt his career. It may catapult him to the national stage, or even the presidency."

Read More...


Kerry's Infrastructure Bank
futureofcapitalism.com

Read it here first: In commenting over the weekend about Senator Kerry's plan for a $10 billion or $600 billion "federal infrastructure bank," I said, "infrastructure spending is a big favorite of the Chamber of Commerce." Today Mike Allen's Politico Playbook reports that Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Donahue will appear with Mr. Kerry today to endorse the proposal. So will Republican senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas.

Mr. Allen quotes an anonymous Kerry aide as saying, ""This legislation is John Kerry's climate change effort of 2011 – meaning he's going to throw his heart and soul into it." Mr. Allen is too polite to suggest an alternative meaning – that, like the climate change legislation, it's not going to pass.

Meanwhile, over at Bloomberg News, Amity Shlaes has a column skeptical about the effects of infrastructure spending:

Read More...


Shlaes on 'Tax Sanctimony'
futureofcapitalism.com

Amity Shlaes has a tax column up at Bloomberg News:

In 1980, the top 1 percent of earners paid 19 percent of income taxes, and the bottom half of earners paid 7.1 percent. A decade later, with a lower maximum rate, the top 1 percent paid 25 percent of taxes, while the bottom earners paid just 5.8 percent. By 2008, top earners paid 38 percent of taxes, the bottom half 2.7 percent....

tax sanctimony gets in the way of tax reform. In a progressive rate structure, the rich almost always get bigger tax cuts, because their rates are higher to begin with. So their cuts sound unfair. The more progressive a tax structure, the more unfair its dismantlement appears.

Read More...


Shlaes on a New Gramm-Rudman
futureofcapitalism.com

Amity Shlaes has a Bloomberg column digging into the details of the new Gramm-Rudman being discussed as part of a budget deal:

More important though is to decide what the goal here is, mere budget balancing or government cutting. A new constraint mechanism that includes tax increases may indeed check government growth, or even shrink it. Such a trigger plan, however, may also allow the House and Senate to prance around claiming they are demonstrating discipline even as they expand government. It is, after all, possible to maintain a large balanced budget. My preference would be for a mechanism whose sole aim is to make government smaller, where any spending increases triggered spending cuts of double the size.

Read More...


Shlaes on the Budget
futureofcapitalism.com

Amity Shlaes has a column up at Bloomberg arguing that Congress should give the president back the "impoundment" authority it took away in 1974: "Such a law needn't make the president into a dictator. It need merely restore the balance that existed before 1974."

Read More...


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Amity Shlaes

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