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jim kirby

Your statement, "Medicaid and related government health programs are supposed to be for children and parents in poor families," implies that you favor taxing singles and the childfree to support pro-natalism and breeding.

Is there an economic justification for producing children at all, when there are lots of willing immigrants potty-trained, educated and ready to work? If not, I consider your statement as one sponsored by the Vatican. Are you angling for a Nobel Prize in Religion?

C Scott Willy

Wow. No mention of the increase in military spending? Becker looses any credibility as a non-bias observer. Just a political hack.

Terry Bennett

This is an excellent post, calling attention to earlier times when government programs were designed more sensibly and functioned much more effectively. Back when people carried major medical insurance they still had a stake in their own health care, and it incentivized plausible behaviors. The whole own-your-own-home policy has not panned out, and as sovereignty rights continue to usurp property rights becomes less justifiable by the year. While I also am a fan of the Fair Tax consumption-based initiative, a flat income tax has major appeal. The unchallenged bloat of the federal government, 33% in 12 years as a share of the whole economy, is certainly at the heart of our other problems.

What I do not understand above is the suggestion that employers not be able to deduct the legitimate business expense of employee health care contributions, which are a form of employee compensation. I would agree we should get rid of the perk itself and not let employers have anything to do with their employees' health care, and I would also agree that EMPLOYEES should not be able to get an employer to pay their health care and then not pay income tax on the value of that compensation. In other words, if you're being paid $50k a year plus health insurance, you're really being paid $65k a year or so, and you should pay income tax on that higher amount. I do not think it fair to say however that employers are getting corporate welfare because they write off a legitimate expense that they actually pay.


A wonderful post indeed. How did Barack Obama allegedly teach law at the University of Chicago, yet, to all appearances, learn nothing from Gary Becker? What a missed opportunity.

Don Kirk

Great post, but still another example of wide-spread frustration with Congress to do its job responsibly. The forty-year trend of increasing partisan extremism and the 1956 end of Progressive Era reforms in partisan politics guarantees there is nothing the Congress is capable of doing to help itself from slowly destroying the fiscal health of the republic.

Just as the Progressive Era combined center-Rights and center-Lefts to link reform with expanding the state, so a new Freedomist Era would combine center-Lefts and center-Rights to link reform with slowing down the expanding state. But then, whoever said Dr. Becker was center-Right or that he would be interested in the Freedomist Era?

Eric Rasmusen

It's common to talk about how reducing deductions would help. I've started to wonder, though, whether maybe we've done a lot in that direction already---- via the AMT. It limits the deduction of state and local taxes. Doesn't it limit the mortgage interest deduction too? On the other hand, it doesn't apply to charitable deductions, or to the invisible health insurance premium deduction.

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