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By William A. Niskanen

Reflections of a Political Economist collects the most incisive and demanding coverage research and public selection articles by means of William A. Niskanen from the final fifteen years. His pursuits have ranged generally in this time, overlaying many alternative parts of public coverage, regularly with an eye fixed towards rigorous fiscal pondering, financial conservatism, and discovering smart, useful ideas to big difficulties. partially I readers will discover a dialogue of a big selection of coverage themes, together with taxation, overall healthiness and retirement investment, terrorism and armed forces preparedness, and company governance. those choices carry to the dialogue either demanding information and theoretical sophistication, making the case for modest, good laws, restricted executive, and unfastened company. Niskanen hardly ever shall we effortless assumptions cross unchallenged; one hallmark of his paintings is to quantify the prices and advantages of a coverage after which examine those to the normal knowledge, which frequently turns up missing. partly II Niskanen turns to public selection, in which he discusses financial versions of varied executive varieties, balloting, paperwork, and constitutional constitution. He additionally studies numerous of his contemporary learn pursuits, together with taxation and spending less than autocratic, democratic, and optimum governments; ecu constitutionalism; and diverse versions of paperwork and vote casting. Readers drawn to public selection will locate greater than simply summaries of settled questions, in spite of the fact that, as Niskanen additionally discusses a number of power examine subject matters in a box that maintains to develop. half III features a number of Niskanen's booklet experiences, during which he considers the works of alternative amazing economists, together with Paul Krugman, Mancur Olson, James M. Buchanan, and Alan Greenspan. half IV deals 3 extra own reflections, each one to a point faraway from economics, yet all reflecting Niskanen's considerate, understated method of very important concerns, anyplace he unearths them.

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Whatever the merits of the case for controlling CO2 emissions, there are no good arguments for using regulatory measures for this purpose. Such measures are grossly inefficient, often arbitrary, and are likely to be insufficient to achieve the desired emissions reduction. The Environmental Protection Agency, however, has apparently considered a variety of regulatory options to reduce CO2 emissions, some of which EPA may have the authority to implement without new legislation. A regulatory approach to this issue should be dismissed out of hand.

1. The most important broad reform would be to change the federal tax treatment of health insurance. Two quite different changes should be considered: a. Eliminate the exclusion of employer-provided health insurance from taxable income, combined with a revenue-neutral reduction in the payroll tax rate. This would be sufficient to eliminate the tax bias against both individual insurance and against direct patient payment. This policy would reduce health insurance coverage but increase wages and employment.

And a reduction in the temperature variance by region is also likely to reduce the frequency of severe storms. On one issue, the science is also quite clear: An increase in the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere increases the growth of many plants, including most food crops. This effect, plus the net increase in arable land, is likely to reduce the relative price of food and fiber in most regions of the world, as has been the case during the whole period of small net warming to date. Substantial costs and many scare stories have been attributed to the effect of global warming on the sea level.

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