Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Truth about "Sweat-Shops"

I have often suspected that there was something amiss about the argument in favor of imposing minimum wages and standards for working conditions on sweat-shops in poor countries. If people are willing to work in them, shouldn't they be allowed the opportunity? I'd love for everyone to make $100 an hour and work in comfort, but I suspect that the way to get there is through economic development and not through government regulation. Paul Krugman makes this argument more elaborately and intelligently than I can here and here. Let me know what you think.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Random Reflections: 11/15

Here are my thoughts on a few major recent events:

  • I'm elated at the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, but as The Economist is wise to note, her release probably has strings attached.
  • Obviously, I'm glad that the Republicans took control of the House, but I'm disappointed that it largely came at the expense of fiscally conservative Democrats. The Blue Dogs are probably my favorite main-stream coalition.
  • In response to public obsession over the deficit, an obsession I find misplaced, the New York Times has published an interesting tool for examining how best to eliminate the deficit. Check out a blank one here and my version here (note that the only tax increases I support are a carbon tax and a measure that will close loopholes).
  • The New York Times finds it unlikely that Don't Ask, Don't Tell will be repealed in light of the elections. I think that it would be a disappointment if we didn't get such an absurd policy removed. My hope is that the Democrats will trade spending cuts for the policy's repeal. I doubt it will happen, but I think it would appease both liberal Democrats and help new Republicans keep Tea Party favor.
  • I think that the most important thing for the new Congress to remember is that cutting spending is far better fiscal policy than raising taxes, especially in an economy filled with wasteful and inefficient subsidies and earmarks.
  • My prediction: There will be a lot of partisan grandstanding during the lame duck session, and then real compromise will happen.