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Dylan Matthews doesn't cry. He graphs.

By Ezra Klein  |  July 14, 2010; 10:59 AM ET
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Could you compare the budgetary effects of an extension of unemployment benefits (currently being considered in Congress) versus a proposal from Senators Lincoln (D-AR) and Kyl (R-AZ)to freeze the top rate on estate taxes at 35% and cap and moving the tax thresholds to estates worth $5 million or more? (

Posted by: byelin | July 14, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

hello. it would be nice to see a chart of the business cycles since 1960 (by gpd, perhaps?), another line for gvt revenues, and landmark tax legislation (kennedy, reagan, clinton, bush) marked on the graph to see if there is any positive correlation between tax policy and economic/gvt revenue growth.

Posted by: jc8023 | July 14, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Matt Yglesias has had a series of posts quibbling with the definition of manufacturing and generally arguing that it's fine for the US to continue to move into services. What I'd like to see, however, is evidence that new jobs are being created in the service sector for working class people that offer anything like the pay or benefits of traditional manufacturing jobs. It seems logical to me that for a low to medium skilled person with, say, a high school education manufacturing, with its high productivity and high capital investment, is really the only way into the middle class. Are we producing jobs like that in other sectors today? Does this have to do with our decade or more of stagnant median wage growth?

Posted by: Castorp1 | July 14, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Why are states in the Upper Midwest (Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, etc) better than other states in keeping down health care costs and providing high quality care? (See: Why have these states been better at keeping down unemployment? (

Posted by: jackie_chiles | July 14, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

How much revenue would a financial transactions tax raise? And, how much would it slow trading activity?


Posted by: jbirk10 | July 14, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

What does the effect of unemployment benefits have on movement of the unemployed?
Do those collecting unemployment benefits move less often to other parts of the country that have lower unemployment numbers? Do states with better benefits have less emigration of the unemployed because they have little reason to leave?

Posted by: Okobojicat | July 14, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

i'd be interested in seeing current studies that show the impact of provider owned radiology centers and their utilization rates as it compares to non provider owned facilities. I'd also be interested in the per unit cost if available.

oh and how is the unemployment rate in San Francisco since "Healthy San Francisco" has been in effect?

Posted by: visionbrkr | July 14, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

How about a chart showing income distribution among the 5 quintiles, the top 5% and the top 1%, maybe even the top .1%, so that some of the people commenting here can see where they really fall as they make arguments that almost certainly aren't in their economic interest? Add in the tax burden each group bears.

Posted by: Mimikatz | July 14, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Robert Hall of Stanford did a nice interview with the Minneapolis Fed Region magazine on a variety of topics of current interest -- a synopsis or follow up on it might be interesting to some

Posted by: bdballard | July 14, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Although I'm certainly on board with the Krugman/DeLong/Klein take on the deficit/debt issue, I don't have the analytical chops to evaluate this type of argument:

Can you take a shot?


Posted by: jifster | July 14, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Could you present some research on vegetarianism? I forget why Ezra chooses to eat little meat (environment, ethics, economics, something else?), but I know there's lots of good research out there. Some thoughts: per capita meat consumption; international comparison (maybe normalized for GDP?); some projections for meat consumption in developing nations as they get richer; environmental effects (greenhouse gasses, water use; water pollution); growth in e.coli outbreaks over time. I'm not a semi-vegetarian, but I probably should be - convince me!

Posted by: AronB | July 14, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

There's a lot of talk on the blog about Reagan and George W cutting taxes while expanding government and, thereby, raising deficits. Here's a quote from Ezra:

"I'll just add that Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush both cut taxes, and government -- alongside deficits -- grew. Bill Clinton raised taxes, and government -- and deficits -- shrank."

I know that Bush II and Reagan were fighting recessions during at least portions of their presidency, while Clinton was operating during the boom. Is Ezra's statement still true in the possible world where Clinton had been dealing with a lackluster economy, and everyone had been flush during the Reagan/Bush II years?

I know this isn't a question with a hard answer, but I think it's an important one to consider.

Posted by: CRagg1 | July 14, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

My understanding is that there is a lot of misunderstanding about the Kennedy tax cuts, and that while he cut the top rates, he also closed a lot of loop holes in the tax code and it was those actions that led to increased returns. Is this true, and what actual changes to the tax code were implemented?

Posted by: rickenharp | July 14, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

A quick question about Research Desk - what's the policy about re-submitting questions that I've asked before?

Posted by: vince432 | July 14, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

You recently posted a graph of the size of government as a percentage of GDP. I curious how the graph would look if you took out health care, retirement, and defense. Without these wallet busting programs in the picture is the government really getting that much bigger?

Posted by: hotbbq | July 14, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Ezra recently pointed out (again) that our elections are predictable almost entirely by economics. Is the same true of other countries? Which ones?

Posted by: TALlama | July 14, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

vince432 - Feel free to submit as many times as you want. Keep in mind, though, that if you submit 5-6 times and it isn't chosen, it may just be that it's not a topic that's suitable for this format.

Posted by: DylanMatthews | July 14, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Tom Friedman today said Singapore pays its cabinet ministers $1 million! How about a comparison of what nations pay their primo leader and their top bureaucrat?

Posted by: bharshaw | July 14, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

i'd love to see a study that shows how often Dylan chooses non-liberal leaning studies/graphs for research desk ;-)

Posted by: visionbrkr | July 14, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

What exactly is CHAKRA? Would the release of former vice president Gore's chakra, which he supposedly requested at an Oregon hotel, have policy consequences? Would it have been a carbon neutral act, or not? Would he have required the release of chakra in a red state? In Tennessee? Please answer and, if appropriate, use graphs. Thank you.

Posted by: truck1 | July 14, 2010 8:48 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to see the total revenue raised by a so-called "millionaire's tax" bracket on annual incomes over $1M. This was first floated by Nate Silver over at fivethirtyeight -

Posted by: fakedude1 | July 14, 2010 10:16 PM | Report abuse

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