Published data show that the number of passengers using Washington Dulles airport is declining while the number using Washington Reagan National is increasing. Lori Aratani of the Washington Post takes a stab at explaining why. She falls prey to the spin of the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority, which seems inclined to “solve” its Dulles problem by lobbying Congress to make Reagan National less useful.
Category Archives: Congress
Today’s Washington Post includes an article on Virginia politics that, among other things, purports to explain why the Marketplace Fairness Act is needed to achieve fairness. Brick-and-mortar tennis specialty shop owner Justin Wilson is featured prominently, presumably because he’s giving up:
“Six percent on a $200 racket is 12 dollars they don’t have to pay me,” he said. “I put up the white flag. It’s just simply not worth it.”
Wilson and other Virginia business owners are frustrated with Congress’s failure to act on a bill that would force online retailers without a brick and mortar presence in states such as Virginia to levy sales tax at the point of purchase.
Reporter Jenna Portnoy does not cite any other Virginia business owners, so it is reasonable to infer that she completely believes Justin Wilson’s explanation.
But does Wilson’s explanation make economic sense?
A dispute has flared between those who support travel restrictions and those who do not. While some proponents can be faulted for excessive confidence in their effectiveness, opponents can be faulted for demanding that they be perfectly effective to justify adoption. Read More →
Minimum Wage, Part 6:
If raising it to $10/hour causes no unemployment, why not raise it to $100/hour?
Richard Epstein has published an accessible analysis and commentary on the adverse economic effects of President Obama’s proposed increase in the minimum wage. Read More →
Wall Street Journal columnist Caril Bialik notes that estimates by the Congressional Budget Office of the effects of proposed legislation are likely to be highly inaccurate. He notes several reasons for this, including rules that require CBO to rely on assumptions that everyone knows are false:
The agency is in a tough spot. Its purpose is to give Congress a quick take on how a law would affect the nation’s finances, and occasionally to assess broader economic impact. But, unlike private forecasters, it is constrained by rules on what can and can’t be taken into account. For instance, the CBO assumes existing laws will prevail, or expire as scheduled, even if the political reality likely is different.
Another reason why CBO estimates are unreliable is the CBO refuses to discount future effects, something that is taught to every student enrolled in a course on benefit-cost analysis. In the case of the immigration bill recently passed by the Senate, CBO has company from at least one Washington-based think tank: the Heritage Foundation. Unlike the CBO, however, Heritage economists are not compelled by legislators to rely on substandard and misleading methods.
In today’s Wall Street Journal, retired accountant Raymond L. Dever proposes to “level the playing field” among retailers by shifting the burden of tax collection to the States. Dever’s argument in favor of his proposal also explains why Congress is unlikely to adopt it. And by “leveling the playing field” this way, it would unlevel it in others.