Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Wisconsin Has Largest Union Membership Decline In US After Walker's 2011 Reforms

From The Wall Street Journal, Opinion, "Wisconsin’s Reform Lesson: Scott Walker’s union reform has yielded huge political benefits:"
[Wisconsin Governor Scott] Walker’s 2011 reforms, known as Act 10, removed the ability of public unions to collectively bargain for benefits and required that unions be recertified every year by a majority of all members. The law ended the government’s role as the union’s automatic dues collector, and in 2015 Wisconsin also became a right-to-work state.

Given a choice for the first time, workers have left the union in droves. A recent analysis by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel found that since 2011 the state has seen the largest decline in the country in the concentration of union members in the workforce. By 2015 union members made up some 8.3% of workers in Wisconsin, down from 14.2% before Mr. Walker’s reforms. The Badger State has some 187,000 fewer union members than in 2005, and the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association has lost some 30% of its members.

Unions still have clout but they must now operate on the same footing as other groups that represent member interests—such as trade associations—by providing services in exchange for financial support. [Emphasis added.]

The Problem With Charitable Tax Deductions

A comment I posted on Arnold Kling's askblog on December 1, 2012, "The Tax Deduction for Charitable Contributions:"
A problem with charitable deductions is that it is focused on organizational structure and not actions. If I invite and feed a poor person in my house on Thanksgiving, the tax deduction is not available. If I donate food or money to a food bank or church that feeds the same person on Thanksgiving, I get a deduction.

I get a deduction for giving money to the Red Cross, but do not get a deduction for donating blood to the Red Cross.

If I grocery shop or cook a meal for a needy, ill senior in my neighborhood, no deduction, If I donate to a community organization that has volunteers who do the same thing, I get a deduction.

Charitable deductions are a disincentive to community and social responsibility.

When there is suffering, such as the Haiti earthquake, do we need a tax deduction to motivate us to send money, food, and other items? Of course not.

Let’s eliminate the charitable deduction. If the government takes too much money from us so that we cannot donate as much as we would like to charities, let’s fight for lower taxes and not more deductions.
A reader of askblog posted a reply that enhanced my comment:
Rick Weber on December 3, 2012 at 6:49 am said:
Your point about structure is spot on! A deduction (or credit) is a subsidy (so we get more charity, which is nice) but access to that subsidy requires organizations to meet the unavoidably bureaucratic rules of the subsidizer. The outcome may result in less effective output than if there were no subsidy at all, in addition to any number of adverse unintended consequences such as an increase in the relative cost of directly touching someone’s life.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

2016 Presidential Voter Breakdown By Socioeconomic Group And Percent Change

From The Wall Street Journal, "Vote Breakdowns Show How Parties Changed With Trump, Clinton at Top of Ticket: Democratic Party relied more on women and Americans with advanced college degrees, while the GOP depended on men and voters with some college experience" by Aaron Zitner:
The picture of the two parties comes from exit polls conducted during the past two elections. Those polls show whether Mr. Trump or Mrs. Clinton won a particular voter group.
In addition, the polls show the makeup of each political party—what share of its members come from which voter groups.

Voter Breakdown In 2016 Election
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Friday, November 25, 2016

My Unconventional Comment To Peggy Noonan's Opinion Piece On Trump's Conflict of Interests In The Wall Street Journal

My unconventional comment to The Wall Street Journal, Opinion, "No More Business as Usual, Mr. Trump: He has to abandon his company in order to deal on the country’s behalf." by Peggy Noonan:
If Trump does well as the President of the US, every item, hotel and rental property with or associated with the Trump name will increase in status and also will be more valuable. If he does poorly as the US President, every Trump item and property will be less valuable. He is probably the only US president who has ever had the equivalent of an equity stake in the success of his presidency, the future of the US economy and the global success of US foreign policy. He is probably the only US president who while in office has monetary incentives to do the right thing for the US. Unless Trump is promising to a foreign country some specific US governmental benefit, such as foreign aid, US military support, easier immigration to the US, ignoring human rights violations, etc., in return for a Trump Inc benefit, there is no conflict in continuing his Trump holdings. Unless Trump is following or recommending policies that solely benefit Trump holdings there are no conflict of interests.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Who In The US Has Not Read A Book In The Past 12 Months?

From Pew Research Center, "Who doesn’t read books in America?" by Andrew Perrin:
About a quarter of American adults (26%) say they haven’t read a book in whole or in part in the past year, whether in print, electronic or audio form. So who, exactly, are these non-book readers?

Source: Pew Research Center

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Job Growth From New Firms At Lowest Level In Over 20 Years

From The Wall Street Journal, Real Time Economics, "Job Gains at Startups Are Way Down and That’s a Bad Sign: Job gains from new firms are at the lowest share of employment since 1992" by Anna Louie Sussman:
Job gains from new firms are at the lowest share of employment in over 20 years, another sign of the declining role entrepreneurship plays in the U.S. economy.

Job gains from opening establishments as a percentage of overall private-sector employment dropped to 1% in the first quarter of 2016, the lowest level recorded since the Labor Department began the data series in 1992, and half what it was at its peak.

Throughout the 1990s, the share hovered between 1.6% and 2%, and edged lower throughout the subsequent decade. Since 2009, when the economic recovery began, it held between 1.1% and 1.3%.
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Monday, November 7, 2016

Trump Has 20 To 30 Percent Chance Of Winning The Presidency According To Online Betting Markets

As of 5 PM EST, November 7, 2016, Donald Trump has between a 20 and 30 percent chance of winning the US Presidential election, according to several online political betting sites.

The University Of Iowa's online political betting market, Iowa Electronic Markets, gives Donald Trump a 22.6 percent chance of winning the US presidential election.

The online Ireland company political betting site, Predictious, shows Trump's chances of winning between 27.4 percent and 29.9 percent (bid ask prices).

The online betting site, PaddyPower, has Trump's odds as winning as 10 to 3, which is equivalent to 23.1 percent chance of winning.