The 1996 US federal welfare reforms at 20

Despite the dire predictions, there has been a permanent reduction in child poverty of 25%, a 35% increase in the employment rates of never married mothers and a 16% increase in the employment rates of single mothers.

Minorities benefited the most from the 1996 US federal welfare reforms in terms of higher employment rates and lower child poverty rates.

As part of the 1996 reforms, Medicaid eligibility was not lost when going off welfare and single parents by getting a job qualified for the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Once were Sweden! New Zealand, Swedish and Australian general government expenditure as % of GDP since 1986

I came across this data showing that New Zealand and Sweden had the same sized public sectors in the mid-1980s some years ago. The data could not be found again for a long time in the OECD statistical databases. One reason was the OECD changed its name to general disbursements.


Data extracted on 12 Feb 2016 08:45 UTC (GMT) from OECD.Stat.

The size of the public sector in Australia has not changed much for 30 odd years. The public sector has been in a long decline in Sweden and New Zealand since peaks  as a percentage of nominal GDP in the late 1980s  and early 1990s respectively.

I know of no comments on the large size of the New Zealand public sector as measured by general government expenditure in the late 1980s. Its contribution to the stagnant economic growth of that time is worth exploring.

Texas Preacher Given Citation For “Offending People” For Speaking Off Campus at the University of Texas


Screen Shot 2016-02-11 at 6.25.33 PMThere is a new disturbing video that seems to reaffirm the growing intolerance for free speech on (or in this case near) our campuses. In the confrontation between a preacher named Joshua and University of Texas at Austin police, the preacher was told that, even though he was not on campus, he was still guilty of “offending someone” with this speech and would be given a citation.

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5 reasons why anecdotes are totally worthless

The Logic of Science

anecdotal evidence anti-sciencePersonal anecdotes are often the primary ammunition of those who deny science. If you ask anyone in the alternative medicine or anti-vaccine movements for their evidence, you will almost certainly get flooded with anecdotes. A quick internet search will reveal countless people who are insisting that totally worthless treatments like homeopathy work because they took them and then felt better. These accounts are often accompanied by emotional stories about how they “tried everything but only [insert nonsense miracle cure] worked.”  Similarly, I frequently encounter people who are adamant that detox solutions aren’t scams or that organic food is better than GMOs because “they just feel healthier when they eat organic/use the detox supplement.”

Anti-vaccers are probably the worst group for using anecdotes. They use personal anecdotes to blame vaccines for every ailment imaginable, but they don’t just stop there. For them, collections of reported symptoms such as the vaccine

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Colour films were initially thought to be uncompetitive on cost grounds

Ten behavioural biases and effects in regulation

Source: Stephen Littlechild via Who’s Phooling Whom? – Clive Crook.

Harvard business School survey discovers that workers want more

Justice Scalia on corporate free-speech

Justice Scalia on corporate free-speech


Economic Mobility, Class Warfare, and Poverty

International Liberty

The quality of economic analysis from politicians is never good, but it becomes even worse during election season.

The class-warfare rhetoric being spewed by Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton is profoundly anti-empirical. Our leftist friends genuinely seem to think the economy is a fixed pie and that it’s their job to use coercive government power to reallocate the slices.

The only real quandary is whether Bernie’s sincere demagoguery is more disturbing or less disturbing than Hillary’s hypocritical attacks on the top 1 percent.

Since I mentioned that the left’s rhetoric is anti-empirical, let’s look at the evidence.

I’ve previously shared very detailed IRS data showing that the so-called rich pay a hugely disproportionate share of the tax burden.

Let’s augment that analysis by perusing some data on income mobility.

Writing for Money, Chris Taylor explains that America is not a land of dynastic wealth.

…70% of wealthy families lose…

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F A Hayek – Unemployment And The Free Market

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