Monday, March 28, 2011

Monday Quick Hits

The eastern seaboard is clearly under attack from global cooling.  Here are some interesting links to get you through these dark and cold "spring" days.
  • Sarah Palin advocates import liberalization in India, further solidifying her free trade bona fides: "[I]n the early 1990′s, due to clear, commonsense, pro free-market reforms, India’s economy took off! [It] abolished import licenses; cut import duties; removed investment caps & broke the union’s grip on industry."
  • The United States has the most progressive tax system in the industrialized world.  Key graf: "[T]he top 10 percent of households in the U.S. pays 45.1 percent of all income taxes (both personal income and payroll taxes combined) in the country. Italy is the only other country in which the top 10 percent of households pays more than 40 percent of the income tax burden (42.2%). Meanwhile, the average tax burden for the top decile of households in OECD countries is 31.6 percent."
  • A fascinating study (and a related WSJ op-ed) from the UK think tank Policy Exchange on the impact of global trade on the effectiveness (or, more accurately, the impotence) of the EU's climate change regulations has me wondering whether our policymakers will (i) learn the right lesson from the EU's experience - and the one advocated by Policy Exchange ("to accelerate the development of technologies that will be genuinely competitive with fossil fuels" rather than "browbeat[ing] developing countries into going green") or (ii) use the study to justify their calls for eco-protectionism.  I'm hoping the former but cynically expecting the latter.
  • US steelmaking giant Nucor recently broke ground on a new iron making facility in Louisiana that would employ hundreds.  The same site is also permitted for another iron facility, and many are guessing that a steel mill will also show up down there in the next few years.  Oddly, ABC News isn't doing a week's worth of news stories on the Nucor plant(s) or any of the many other industrial expansion efforts across the country.
  • Cato's Dan Griswold points out that the easiest way to decrease American income inequality appears to be destroying the US economy.  (Obvious response: Shh, dude, don't give anyone any bright ideas.)
  • So much for the silly myth of "McJobs" in the service industry.  According to this handy primer from the National Retail Federation, the import-dependent retail industry in 2009 employed 330,000 managers who earned an average annual salary of $91,650.  And there are another 300,000 or so well-paid folks in other positions.  (This isn't new, but it's worth mentioning here anyway.)
  • Finally, Jonah Goldberg at AEI points us to an awesome video from Hans Rosling about the amazing improvements in global wealth and health over the last few decades.  All of it is cool and worth watching, but for our purposes, the most relevant point is around the 10:00 mark when Rosling unequivocally credits the dramatic, disproportionate (relative to other African nations) improvement of Mauritius on the country's embrace of free trade.


    Colin said...

    Hey Scott, may want to double check the UCLA link, which is dated 2004. Not that new -- maybe you meant something else?

    Scott Lincicome said...

    Thanks, Colin. No, it's old. It was new to me, and thus I have further proven the depths of my egotism. :-) (Or I'm just sloppy.)