Fiscal Policy


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Inflation and Its Discontents

by Michael J. Boskinvia Analysis
Saturday, November 1, 1997

This essay discusses the inflation of the 1970s and the disinflations of the 1980s and 1990s. It provides historical and intellectual history perspectives on these events. It argues that the consensus view of economists on inflation and its costs has changed more than on any other subject in the past thirty years. As late as 1980, many economists argued that the cost of inflation was low and that the cost of disinflation so great that it was better to live with 10 or 12 percent inflation than bear the temporarily higher unemployment and lost output that would accompany a disinflation.

Fortunately, Federal Reserve Board chairmen Paul Volcker and Alan Greenspan engineered two rounds of disinflation, first from 12.0 percent to 4.5 percent and then to 2.5 percent. Although there were costs--a severe recession in 1981–82 and a not-so-soft landing in 1990–91--the low and relatively stable inflation of the 1980s and 1990s has been a major factor in a long boom in the United States, two long expansions interrupted by a short, mild recession. And economists' thinking about the costs and consequences of high inflation has shifted to the view that stable low inflation, like the lowest possible tax rates and minimum necessary regulation, is a fundamental pillar of maximizing sustained long-run growth.

Laboratories of Democracy

by Bernadette Malonevia Policy Review
Saturday, November 1, 1997

A tax revolt is stirring-in the states

Robin Hood Lives in Texas

by Robert J. Barrovia Hoover Digest
Thursday, October 30, 1997

Last spring, Governor Bush proposed a hike in the state sales tax to fund Texas schools. Hoover fellow Robert J. Barro explains what the governor was up to, why the financing of Texas schools is such a mess, and how the problem really ought to be solved.

Keeping Savers from Saving

Keeping Savers from Saving

by David A. Wise, John Shovenvia Hoover Digest
Thursday, October 30, 1997

Beginning in the 1980s, the government began introducing individual retirement accounts and 401(k) programs--widely heralded moves. Since then, in widely unheralded moves, the government has imposed new, all but confiscatory taxes on the saving these programs have encouraged. An analysis by Stanford dean John B. Shoven and Hoover fellow David A. Wise.

Two Deficits That Just Don't Matter

by Charles Wolf Jr., Walter B. Wristonvia Hoover Digest
Thursday, October 30, 1997

Day in and day out, politicians and the press harp on the trade deficit and the federal deficit. Hoover fellow Charles Wolf Jr. and former Citicorp chairman Walter Wriston explain why they should save their breath.

Securing Social Security

by Rita Ricardo-Campbellvia Hoover Digest
Thursday, October 30, 1997

Hoover fellow Rita Ricardo-Campbell chaired President Reagan's 1981 task force on Social Security. Here she looks at the latest proposals for fixing the system.

CPR for Tax Reform

by William A. Niskanenvia Policy Review
Monday, September 1, 1997

Tax-cut advocates try to regain some momentum

John Shoven

Geezer Boom

by John Shoven, David A. Wise, Peter M. Robinsonvia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, July 30, 1997

Hoover fellow David Wise and Dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences John Shoven recently spent an hour discussing the effects of Social Security on the aging baby boom population. Their conclusions? Without radical reforms, Social Security won't work. And without Social Security, a lot of boomers will go bust. An interview by Hoover fellow Peter Robinson.

Double Your Money Back

by David R. Hendersonvia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, July 30, 1997

Hoover fellow David R. Henderson explains how to replace Social Security with personal retirement accounts--a step he believes would create vast new wealth for all Americans.

Pyramid Scheme

by Thomas Sowellvia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, July 30, 1997

Social Security has been "a hoax since day one." By Hoover fellow Thomas Sowell.


Economic Policy Working Group

The Working Group on Economic Policy brings together experts on economic and financial policy to study key developments in the U.S. and global economies, examine their interactions, and develop specific policy proposals.

Milton and Rose Friedman: An Uncommon Couple