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Dylan Matthews reduces uncertainty.

By Ezra Klein  |  August 12, 2010; 11:34 AM ET
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Regarding the states with low unemployment, like Nebraska: do we know what it is about their labor supply/demand profiles that keep employment rates up? Or is it mostly that they haven't been hit hard by the burst housing bubble?

Posted by: jduptonma | August 12, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

I've been having an argument with my stepson, a second year resident, over health disparities and health care cost disparities in different countries. He argues that, for example, France is generally healthier than the U.S. because they eat better and have a more homogeneous population, whereas the US is intrinsically unhealthy and it costs a lot to treat unhealthy people.

First, I don't see how homogeneity plays a role at all, and second no European country is homogeneous and they haven't been for centuries, and third, cultural practices such as what you eat can change on a dime, and fourth, I point out that in France anyone can see a doctor whenever they need to and in the US 40 million of us can't, and fifth we aren't treating unhealthy people in the US, we are throwing them overboard.

So my question is can you quantify the extent to which health and cost disparities depend on the health care system versus other factors such as genetics or culture?

Posted by: pj_camp | August 12, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

One of the proposals mentioned for reform of the tax code is to make all deductions at one rate. For example, deductions would turn into a reduction in tax of 25% of the deductible amount. How would this impact the tax system, and how would it impact the table posted earlier by Ezra on the Bush tax changes?

Posted by: BostonEcon | August 12, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

I am very curious what actually all of this spending in Iraq/Afghanistan actually goes to. How much of that money goes to combat pay for soldiers?

Posted by: lancediverson | August 12, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse


Is there empirical evidence that liberals are smarter than conservatives? Inquiring minds and all . . .

Posted by: visionbrkr | August 12, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

I'd still like to see the questions from yesterday about the rate of increase in costs at public colleges and universities and the percentage paid by the State over time. See yesterday's threads.

Posted by: Mimikatz | August 12, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

I'm still wondering whether the $2,000 fine per FTE in the health care bill, plus the added tax revenue from moving employer expenditures on health insurance from deductible expenses to taxable profit, taxable employee wages, taxable dividends/cap gains, etc., are enough to offset the cost of subsidizing emloyees who move from employer-based insurance to the exchanges. I think it should be, but I'd like to see some math on that.

Posted by: StokeyWan | August 12, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

@visionbrkr: "Is there empirical evidence that liberals are smarter than conservatives? Inquiring minds and all . . ."

Some things are just obvious. Of course they are; it's not even a rational question to ask. But don't forget, they are also nicer, more caring and better looking.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 12, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

My son just returned to his senior year of high school after an exchange year in Germany. On the first day of school, a teacher mentioned to a noisy class that students in other countries would be more respectful of the pledge of allegiance.

My son came home wondering which other countries had loyalty pledges. Germany doesn't. He thought that North Korea probably does.

How many countries besides the USA have a "pledge of allegiance" routinely recited in schools?

Who are peers in this category?

Posted by: ummm1 | August 12, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

You had a post yesterday, "The benefits of a college degree in one graph", saying that the recession isn't being felt among the college educated. But the anecdotal stories of the PhD's who can't find jobs in this climate aside, economists documenting the growing income gap (Saez, Krugman) have shown that the College-High School wage ratio doesn't do much to explain inequality.

So how would you reconcile the fact that, while rising numbers of college graduates can't explain systemic income inequality, it can create a divide between those who feel the recession and those who don't.

Posted by: jkrantz1 | August 12, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse


I agree I'd like to see that too. I'd love to see how its changed over time and also some data that shows it on a per person basis.


yes it sucks to be ugly. A cross we bear. But hey at least we're all rich, right? I mean we'd have to be to be such nasty SOB's, right?

Posted by: visionbrkr | August 12, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

It seems like every high-level Obama appointee is an Ivy League grad and nearly all of them are Harvard undergrad and/or Harvard Law. How many have there been and is this greater than Bush and Clinton?

Posted by: xrastone | August 12, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

It may be too late in the day for this - but I have been wondering how much the states' current fiscal woes (for those states that rely heavily on income taxes) are direct result of Bush and or ARA tax cuts. For example, in North Carolina, the income tax is tied directly to the federal income tax, so any tax cuts passed in Washington act as an automatic tax cut in NC as well. Thanks!

Posted by: DavidDavidovich1 | August 12, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

How much revenue could be generated by instituting new progressive top income tax brackets at say $500'000, $1'000'000 and $5'000'000 or $10'000'000?

Posted by: Tim42 | August 12, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

The GOP is (in)famous for "just say no".

What would the national debt and the current deficit be today if the GOP had just said no to the following:

- Iraq War

- Medicare part-D

- Bush tax cuts

- bridge to nowhere bill

- tax subsidies for big oil

- royalty-free oil contracts for big oil

Posted by: lauren2010 | August 12, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

All that I have read about the deficits in state and municipal pension funding focus on total dollars. Those numbers are too big to feel tangible. Are there good numbers by state that one could scale say by households in the state, per capital by state, increase in marginal tax rate to fund etc.? I worry that we are too worried about CA which has a bid deficit, but a bid population and perhaps a high median income and we don't worry enough about say RI, which has a small deficit compared to CA but fewer people, state and municipal employment at a higher % than CA and maybe closer to crisis. Help the context please!

Posted by: fsixtimes | August 12, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Forgot to add this to the below list...

- doubling the defense budget


The GOP is (in)famous for "just say no".

What would the national debt and the current deficit be today if the GOP had just said no to the following:

- Iraq War

- Medicare part-D

- Bush tax cuts

- bridge to nowhere bill

- tax subsidies for big oil

- royalty-free oil contracts for big oil

Posted by: lauren2010 | August 12, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

well, if this were a GOP joint, Dylan would reduce taxes!

Posted by: bdballard | August 12, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

A thoughtful conservative friend and I were having a debate about tax policy. A compromise was reached: Eliminate the corporate income tax, but raise the personal income tax rate on high earners (>$200,000) enough to cover the revenue lost. How much would the personal income tax rate on high earners have to be to recover this loss? And how much of the corporate income tax revenue might be returned to the consumers in the form of lower prices on those corporate goods?

Posted by: KeninMS | August 12, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

How much money has the Federal Government invested in Wireless and Broadband networks since 1992 in terms of direct subsidies and tax breaks?

Posted by: slugrunner | August 12, 2010 6:02 PM | Report abuse

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