Thursday, March 30, 2017

Ok, Tim, let me ask

Tim Taylor says:
There is considerable concern among economists and social scientists that the Trump administration will take a hatchet to the government statistical programs. I find it difficult to argue for the value of government statistics, because their value seems so obvious to me that it is hard for me to imagine someone who both disagrees with me on this point but is potentially persuadable. However, Nicholas Eberstadt, Ryan Nunn, Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, and Michael R. Strain have taken on the job a March 2017 working paper, "“In Order That They Might Rest Their Arguments on Facts”:The Vital Role of Government-Collected Data." The authors are from both the Hamilton Project at the Democratic-leaning Brookings Institution and the Republican-leaning American Enterprise Institute. 
They point out that total federal spending on statistics is about 0.18% of the federal budget--and just to be clear, that's not 18%, but rather a little less than one-fifth of 1 percent.  As the authors point out in detail, with examples, the potential benefits of this information are considerable. The federal budget is about $3.6 trillion, and of course the federal regulatory apparatus imposes additional costs. Information helps to direct government spending, taxes, and regulations, and it helps citizens to hold their government accountable. In addition, businesses and households often build on government statistics when making their own plans and decisions, thus allowing the economy to function more smoothly than if this information was only available, in partial chunks, from private providers.

Tim claims that he is happy with the government economic statistics, and it only cost him .18% of his do-re-me.

OK, then Tim, why is your ATM fee typically 1.5%??  Why do banks spend so much money counting shit?  I  give you the answer, banks are required by law to guarantee currency risk, and you pay for that guarantee with 1.5% of your purchases. Goldman-Sachs runs the racket in the senate, and they are about to raise your ATM fees.

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