"Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking" - JMK
- Mark Thoma makes the very important point that perhaps many people forget: social insurance is not welfare. I think people in the domestic policy world have a solid sense of this - and there is a huge conceptual divide between basic insurance schemes and welfare schemes. With social insurnace programs like Social Security, Medicare, workers' comp, unemployment insurance, etc., everybody pays into it and you get out of it a benefit commensurate with what you pay into it. That's very different from something like TANF, Medicaid, food stamps, etc. - and people in the policy world think of them in very, very different lights. This is the source of a lot of the outrage when, for example, people abuse the Social Security disability program. It treats a social insurance program like a welfare program. Anyway, I've worked with programs in both categories in my time at the Urban Institute, and this is a very broadly held attitude here. But Mark Thoma does well to remind us of all this.
- Jonathan Catalan has some excellent thoughts on Robert Higgs and regime uncertainty.
- If you thought the Earth was the only place that China handled externalities and market failures really, really, badly, think again. Irene Klotz shares findings from a Russian space agency report that suggests that China is by far the biggest source of space junk.