My review of Libya on Opposite Lock

2014 State of Libya: OppositeLock Review

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World war three bitches, that is what’s new in the post snapchat world. And I was in the beginning of the middle of it between June 1st and August 1st. In the country I was born and raised for eight years before the a university in the prairies in Canada thought one of my parents was cool beans, and by beans I am alluding to agriculture. The staple of the boring part of Canada.

So I went out and visited it and now I will tell you the value of such an expedition and the value of being a citizen of a country that has as of today two parliaments, 3 militias, two armies, and two foreign entities claiming to represent it.

(Full disclosure: My mom wanted me to visit family and connect with my “roots”, whatever the hell that means. I’ll tell you what, family values are for the birds. Any ways past that topical jab I’ll say that I also put off writing this post and this perspective because I missed Netflix so much while I was gone I decided to get absorbed in it. Also, I am going through somethings right now. Transfer applications for college, can’t decide who to cheer for in F1, the Flames suck and have no forwards or anything, world cup fever just got to me and I was out for a week mostly because I spent to long telling people I always cheer for Germany (which is true). Also I wrote this while listening to Radiohead and R.E.M so really angry and tired)

Okay lets get started. I am Libyan. Moderately proud but I am a permanent resident in Canada. Explains my politeness, am I right? Also I was born in Tripoli and lived in Swani ben Adam. If I could explain the small town in a couple of sentences I would but I can’t. I always give people couple of tips when visiting it. Actually I never get asked by anyone wanting to visit it but nonetheless. When in Swani do not make eye contact, wear anything with red, green, black, or white, litter to fit in, and quickly exit through the west side roads. I recommend getting into religion because that will be your only hope.

DO NOT EXIT THROUGH JANZOR OR ZAWIA OR AIRPORT HIGHWAY.

So next summer do this and you will still be alive by the time you leave.

This Libya of course is the post-facelift 2011 model. It is the 2014 which comes with a few changes. Infinite among of cylinders that go in all directions and don’t function the proper way. They are actually finite but in the words of Douglas Adams: “It wasn’t infinity in fact. Infinity itself looks flat and uninteresting. Looking up into the night sky is looking into infinity—distance is incomprehensible and therefore meaningless. [….] [Libya's cylinder/faction numbers are] just very very very big, so big that it gave the impression of infinity far better than infinity itself.”

This model comes with a really cool new idea that I don’t think has ever worked. Its called a “civil crisis caused by lacking monopoly of force by government”. Its new but the prototype has been introduced in beautiful sand swept beaches of Somalia. But it hasn’t worked there so it might work in Libya. Remember the 42 year feature of islamic socialism I do and it kept sucking itself into obscurity. Too unreliable. Okay lets get to the best part.

 

Welfare is not an Immigration Magnet

The easy way out of a being ambushed by a pro-immigration argument is to point out that the mere existence of welfare will drive immigrants creating havoc in our dear country.. Of course this is said by partisan anti-immigrant groups. As well, such an argument was made by well known economists of the 70s and 80s. Mostly because they lacked the data and their inference was based on arguing that non-natives react differently to welfare. As if American’s reaction to different state-based benefits were never of concern. This is mostly a native bias that occurs in most people.

First, ignore the immigration problem and focus on for instance American interstate migration. America is a developed nation, a nation with in most states a substantial welfare base besides existing federal benefits. States not only control their own benefits but also the allocation of some federally determined benefits. So, this makes the data perfect for analyzing data sets to see if welfare can induce poor people to move states in seeking more benefits in a developed country.

Using the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY) from 1979-1992 Phillip B. Levine and David J. Zimmerman found little evidence that welfare benefit differences among states in the US caused migration among states. They specifically looked at:

 

The pattern of cross-state moves among poor single women with children, who are likely to be eligible for benefits is compared to the pattern among other poor households

What occurred is the little evidence can be seen of families who qualify for Aid for Dependent children moving versus other poor individuals. And they go further to note:

The are no more likely to move from low versus high benefit states than other poor individuals not eligible for AFDC. Neither are they more likely to move to a higher benefit state. This suggests that either other factors dominate their decision to move or that the perceived costs associated with moving exceed any potential gain from increased benefits.

Levine and Zimmerman produced this paper in 1999 as a answer to debates during this period concerning the failure of the “Great Society” programs. They were addressing the issues when states start retaking federal tasks in welfare and found that this didn’t create the issues predicted by some during this period, particularly the welfare magnet theory.

If one can conclude that welfare magnet theory is unfounded amongst states then I don’t think its hard to apply the same to international immigrants. Considering that for many immigrants the cost of moving is even greater and their living conditions may have been worse with lower incomes, coming to America or Europe for welfare is not exactly a good deal.

A survey of various research (section 5.1) on “welfare magnet theory” leads to the conclusion that for different countries at different times the balance of usage of welfare between natives and immigrants changes. Its not really significant and when significant differences occur they can be explained by the changes in welfare systems or changes in labor structure as a result of law or recessions. However, in the survey issues are noted that explain this discrepancy:

 

 

One issue with many of the welfare assimilation studies is the lack of separation between welfare eligibility and usage. In particular, most studies do not evaluate the extent to which various immigrant groups are eligible to work and/or to receive welfare benefits in the host country. Changes in work eligibility over time might offer interesting insights in the reasons for the greater reliance on welfare by the immigrants. Similar to the wage and employment assimilation studies, welfare assimilation studies also suffer from the issue of selective re-migration that generally has not been accounted for. In addition, none of the studies have estimated the extent to which welfare dependence is related to the “welfare magnet” effects versus employment obstacles such as discrimination, insufficient language skills, transferability of educational degrees and lack of work permits.

One of the papers, Borjas (1999), makes a case that since immigrants are clustered in high benefit states they are more sensitive to welfare compared to natives. However, this study falls for the criticism set out in the survey above. The issue is that an argument that a state like California has a lot of immigrants and  provides high levels of benefits, thus showing that immigrants cluster towards welfare is inconclusive. The research seems to fall short to mean anything. Too many variables could affect decisions. Various research came along and noted this, particularly Zacodny (1997) and Kaushal (2005).

What both papers address is the issues in finding proper experimentation parameters. This is because as mentioned before sometimes immigrants incentives and choices are large and expansive and reasoning from large but constricted samples can lead to inconclusive answers and sadly inconclusive answers have been applied to some policy in the US.

What is discovered from Zacodny and Kuashal is that immigrants location choices inside a particular country is related to work (or particular goals) and most importantly the number of immigrants in the city. This actually paints a clearer picture. And explains why New York and Los Angels are still attracting immigrants till today. Both were homes for immigrants of various generations for a long time. The issue with previous research is in my opinion the lacking grasp of determinants of immigration, as well as a the lack of depth in the variables that are overseen. The papers I mentioned that noted the lack of magnet theory both clearly looked at data in the US that looked at the changes following policy that limited benefits to immigrants in some states and while remaining in others.

I think going past this and addressing causes for changes in welfare uses (or more specifically the reaction to discrepancies in welfare benefits among nations) in Europe or Canada is even more helpful in understanding “magnet theory” but still the importance of understanding the various determinants, as well as outside macro reasons for use of welfare are important. Sadly some research overstated the existence of the magnet theory by not understanding this. Many overstated the possibility of stress by immigration on public finances mostly by using the magnet theory. Especially many politicians who till today still wield the magnet theory as the ultimate anti-immigrant tool.

PS I will follow up on Scandinavian/Canadian immigration, and possibly more in depth into pro magnet theory papers. I just had to get this out because this argument still gets used by politicians and even some of my peers.

I should note that some of econometrics in the research particularly Borjas and Kaushal/Zacodny I had trouble comparing just because my experience with econometrics is only beginning since I am only an undergraduate student. However, I focused on the qualitative determinants the papers looked at. But for the most part could compare the research, even the quantitate parts. Overall, Borjas (1999) and others in much of their work seemed lacking and inconclusive.If you’re an econometrician or know more about labor economics I would appreciate your response.

Musings on my visit to Libya

It has been four years since I visited. In those four years the country has changed. I have changed. But I can’t help but feel like the country has created up a new level of depression in me.

Imagine for instance that you dreamed of driving a DeLorean all your life (I know I have) and you researched day and night about its ride, its aluminum panels, its electricity issues, etc. You knew what the car felt like before you entered. You knew it had no power steering and new it had a weird ride and power, part of the reason for its popularity. You like the car for its pop culture importance and its uniques. But then you buy the car and discover that its spirit, the one you read about, the one in the movies is not there. Even its faults are not “cool”. They are overshadowed by an unidentifiable feeling of failure. If you slaved and saved away from your teenage years to now to see this car and feel disattached you will be depressed. This is essentially what I saw in Libya.

The live and spirited revolutionaries of Libya that the media spoke highly of, the ones my parents spoke highly of were not here. They have become walking corpses. Every face I see is darkened, every face lacking emotion. It is as if all their efforts were gone into the war. This is the unidentifiable aspect of Libya. I can’t identify the cause of complacency for violence. This has caused me great sadness.

But why slave away for a country if one is to be complacent with the criminals to rule it. Why do many Libyans, whether commentators or random civilians, manufacture ethnic tension. Is this their sophistication, their ode to everything democratic. I spent the first 10 years of my life in Libya and never learnt of any Wershifanna or Zawiyah history. They were places not ethnicities. And the tribes never really ruled like many thought. Not since the modern era at least.

Observations related to economics I have noticed have been really the lack of public services and terrible planning of many goods. Considering that electricity, water and gas are owned by the government it is really important that the government become smart with their actions. However, they have not been. Electricity gets cut continuously. Sometimes by hooligans wrecking stations or sometimes because of wear and tear. Also this is all because the majority of Libyans refuse to pay electricity bills. So, really the fault is in the average Libyan. Talk to any of them and tell them this and they will wave you away telling you they can’t do anything about that. But the can. Basic rule of economics: there is no such thing as a free lunch.

The same goes for water but even more importantly the same goes for gas. In a country where the petroleum is cheaper than water you have a slightly weird situation where there is no gas. There are lines everywhere for gas, especially diesel. Now the simple solution is end subsidies and raise the price. You reduce lines and people reconsider their wasting of fuel. However, bring this up to any Libyan and they will reject this. Bring up privatization of oil industry and they’ll call you Gadaffi (while really not noticing the irony). But this line of rejection doesn’t end with electricity and fuel. It continues in their zoning and construction. Personally I think sometimes certain zoning laws and property taxations in the western world are terribly inefficient but thats a more nuanced discussion and one I just began to be interested in. However, in Libya zoning laws are not even considered. People build stores right along highways and don’t consider parking. Such processes lead to externalities and these can be dealt with. They pollute on others land and many times steal land itself from other people.

All of this and much more (including the excessive littering) are activities many Libyans including my own family members are complacent with. This is my depression. Seeing people who were bright and resilient in the civil war become okay with violence and low standards. Some people say they want security but push them more and they’ll will change minds once their manufactured ethnic tensions come up or their memory of a cousin who is a carjacker return. Everyone is selfish. No one will accept a centrality of force and law as long each Libyan doesn’t truly desire it. And when they do it will be too late. There are too many desiring to be their own Gadaffi’s, hating on good people successes.

Now I am stuck in this country as the airport is shut down. I will always find the desert mystical and the history interesting but in its modern form my emotional draw to it has decreased almost entirely. Hopefully this can change but there is nothing I can do alone to fix Libya.

PS I can’t find a solution personally but many Libyan journalists on twitter are trying and they deserve around of applause, however unlike most Libyans they live in the west or are open minded and not attached to rivalries at home.

Thoughts on the adequacy of undergrad economics

Introductory economics courses are the scorn of bloggers. Mostly because they are blamed for an apparent epidemic economic misunderstanding, especially by heterodox schools that see them as the breathing ground for economists they don’t like.

Now the link between econ 101 and bad economists is really weak. We have to consider that to become an economist an advanced degree is required, as well as research experience. This means that scholarly standards and focus on empirical analysis are important. Thus, the “bias” of economists is formed most likely through their research efforts not by a 101 textbook.

Furthermore, the intro courses are themselves very clearly simple. Demand and supply models are introduced properly. As well, the limitations are mentioned. It is true some people become extremist when they couple this with political views but those types of people don’t become prominent economists. They may affect politics but really that’s a stretch that should be blamed on the political discourse not Mankiew’s textbook.

The focus on strict marginal analysis is also helpful not hurtful. Most of it results in the introduction of math into economics. This leads to a tradition of empirical analysis that results in quantifiable research. Teaching economics students, whether they are econ majors or not, in a full literary fashion is not conducive to increasing productivity the field. I doubt that the field could have moved on past the debates of free markets versus socialism of the mid 20th century.

Today, the left over of “principles” courses that focus on marginal analysis has resulted in a greater diversity of economics student. Its no longer the 60s, quantifiable and theoretical work has blended well to have a wider diversity of economists. Noah Smith points this out excellently:

I have the vague sense that if you were an idealistic, brilliant young libertarian in the 1960s and ’70s, you might naturally dream of growing up to be an economist. You might watch a rousing speech by Milton Friedman, and you might imagine that one day you, too, would use the power of logic and rationality and mathematics to ward off the insanity of socialism. Well, America still has some idealistic, brilliant young libertarians, and some of them probably still dream of becoming economists. But now they will be in the minority. They will be joined by quite a few—maybe more—idealistic brilliant young liberals, who recognize the power of markets but also want to figure out how to fix things when markets go wrong. And they will also be joined by quite a few brilliant engineers, for whom political ideals take a back seat to the solving of practical, real-world problems. 

 

Socialism and centrally planned economies failed, free trade and markets won but now with quantifiable economics we can focus on nuances and really improve society. In many ways principles courses help the field of economics but noting to students that externalities exist and introduces, much like the courses’ titles note, economics in the modern world. This economics is nuanced, expansive, and while not an exact science it’s not its 19th century version any longer.

Thoughts on Price Discrimination and Public Healthcare Insurance

I recently came across an article by Uwe Reinhardt in Economix on equalizing payments. He addresses the price discrimination in healthcare costs and the cost shifting among public and private payers.

 While there evidently is pervasive price discrimination within the private health-care sector, there are also sizeable price differentials between public payers on the one hand and private payers on the other.

 

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The article is really great and the discussion of other multi-insurance regimes in Germany and Switzerland is really insightful, considering the recent question of the right structure of healthcare.

I do think that it’s important to analyze the more positive or interesting effects of price discrimination. For instance people with access to certain governmental benefits (Medicaid/Medicare) tend to have less price elasticity in healthcare expenditure. Once one can differentiate consumer based on elasticity, that is those on benefits and those not on benefits and moreover, between those that are wealth and those who aren’t, its more efficient (profit wise) to shift output from the consumer’s with low elasticity to those with higher elasticity. Resulting in higher costs for the inelastic consumer and lower costs for the elastic consumer.

Now since price discrimination in healthcare can occur between the rich and poor, then the effect of benefits on such discrimination should be acknowledged. Reinhardt mentions that the concept of cost shifting in healthcare because of price discrimination is really not of concern to the debate. However, I argue that if one looks at price discrimination and elasticity of various consumer sectors then one may explain certain effects caused by Medicare/Medicaid and how price discrimination itself helps avoid some of their negative fallout.

For instance, assuming that no benefits exist and two different consumers exist in the market then output will shift to the elastic one and price will rise to the inelastic one. Depending on severity the price increase could be very large; one has to remember that the hospital is assumed to be profit maximizing.

 

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Now from this point imagine that the poorer customer has a less elastic demand. This would mean that the shift of prices and output would be smaller. This may explain why Reinhardt doesn’t care much for cost shifting in this sector as the benefits make it so the hospitals have difficulty differentiating between consumers. And in most cases can force them to lower operating costs versus shifting output. This is because the price discrimination analysis focuses mainly on changes in elasticity, not changes in costs between different segments.

Now, recent research (as recent as 2013) has shown that Medicaid has actually possibly reduced private insurance costs instead of shifted.

Using regression analyses, I found that a 10 percent reduction in Medicare payment rates led to an estimated reduction in private payment rates of 3 percent or 8 percent, depending on the statistical model used. These payment rate spillovers may reflect an effort by hospitals to rein in their operating costs in the face of lower Medicare payment rates. Alternatively, hospitals facing cuts in Medicare payment rates may also cut the payment rates they seek from private payers to attract more privately insured patients. My findings indicate that repealing cuts in Medicare payment rates would not slow the growth in spending on hospital care by private insurers and would in fact be likely to accelerate the growth in private insurers’ costs and premiums.

Now, like I mentioned Reinhardt probably ignores this (or at least doesn’t put as much weight on it) because just basic price discrimination analysis doesn’t reflect cost shifting. However, as prices for the private insurers (generally more wealthy) fall (realistically increase slower) in response to more Medicaid I could argue that it’s because of the changing elasticity of the other consumers. They become less elastic and thus the shift in price discrimination is not large and maybe sometimes non-existent.

In reality, the explanation of the pressures of Medicaid on operating costs, at least in the short-run makes more sense (lack of direct of cash subsidy). In the long-run programs like Medicaid generally don’t help costs for the general market. In that case price discrimination by doctors may explain why possibly costs haven’t sky rocketed similarly to what some pundits claim. Costs may generally rise under government subsidization of certain people’s incomes but its more nuanced than that. And like Reinhardt says, in general price discrimination doesn’t mean cost shifting and even if Medicaid reduces price discrimination effects it certainly doesn’t remove it completely.

To conclude his piece, Reinhardt advocates for “All Payer” system. A system in which costs are negotiated by all insurers and hospitals as a whole and thus same rate is applied to public and private consumers. This system in my opinion has one large benefit and that is less administrative costs, and thus makes it incredibly attractive. However, allocation arguable is not more efficient but possibly more equal, more charitable. For instance, Maryland introduced this system and these were the results for uncompensated costs:

In Maryland, the “reasonable costs” of uncompensated care are recognized in payment rates, and all payers contribute equitably to covering these expenses. Hospitals therefore have a financial incentive to treat all patients. Between 1978 and 2007, uncompensated care in Maryland rose from 4.0 percent of revenue to more than 8.1 percent of revenue (from $36 million in 1977 to $927 million in 2007).13 The uninsured have access to all hospitals, including private community facilities and the state’s two well-known academic medical centers.

This is a relatively important thing to consider, as the low administrative costs possibly could have helped Maryland cover costs for the low-income patients. However, possibly it could be because in general public insurers don’t skip out on costs by getting lower prices because of their relative elasticity. This means that some people maybe be able to get care when needed, but it’s mostly likely not allocativily efficient and the poor who can just afford to pay will be most effected. Not sure what the possibly consequences on the public funding is.

If the aim of American healthcare policy is just to increase uncompensated care access then possibly an All Payer system like Germany of Switzerland works, but to have an efficient and arguably one that is more allocative then price discrimination ought to continue. However, when people are given public insurance and price discrimination occurs arguably to cover for costs access doesn’t increase. Because only private insurers (generally wealthier) can cover costs, so their prices are dropped (relatively)or operating costs are dropped. Either way uncompensated care decreases. This shows possibly an explanation of public provision’s negative effect on uncompensated care. But still All Payer theoretically offers more “charitable care” from generally profit seeking hospitals.

Personally, I think instead of looking at Maryland alone one should look at the European states. Macroeconomic pressures are much more prevalent in Germany than Maryland for instance and thus the general reality of such an All Payer system may be more allocative than imagined as it could limit the oligopoly power of insurers. This is possible but can’t be proven without strict analysis of market structure of insurers in Germany, a subject I am not familiar with at all.

P.S. I just realized I have the most scattered thoughts ever, but if you can’t be scattered on the internet where else.

Libya Exists Outside Reality

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I try to talk almost exclusively about economics. This is because this blog if anything is my educational tool. Even when I talk about Libya I talk purely about economics. Something about Libya is so complicated, and so incredibly backwards that solutions for Libya seem to be useless. It seems that the only solution is to cry for an army. But how do you build one when no central authority exists. It seems that one can find the route cause of why property rights are not protected, why Sufi shrines are desecrated and why a Kingpin look a like in the east is selling oil to North Koreans.

What made the Europe or for that matter the West surpass China and the Islamic Empire after the dark ages is a combination of state autonomy and private property. Now the private property facilitated trade and the state autonomy lead to a level of protection and a level of freedom. Of course we can debate to what extent a nation state must intrude to fix people’s lives. But to large extent the state wasn’t an institution to which gave you permission to do a handful of things but rather an institution that worked towards protecting you from transgressions. This principle of course wasn’t followed fully in Europe during 1600-1700. But in the places it did occur the lack of full border autonomy among the various connected kingdoms and states allowed trade to occur and with private property rights it provided incentives for innovation and meaning for trade. In the Islamic Republic no property protection occurred or at least it came and went and especially went away when wars occurred or political infighting occurred. In China the same occurred. Therefore, people traded and for that matter knowledge was traded. And this knowledge challenged current structured and this caused innovation and ideas to accelerate. Of course the latter growth, especially as France and Britain developed into full on nations can be attributed to colonialism. When Europe could no longer have anything to gain from invasion as property was not beholden to states but to people they looked for squalor in other worlds. But that initial structure lead to a consumer society and lead to a large and expansive civil society. Why can’t Libya have this? Is it rooted in national defence?

I don’t think so. I don’t think that all Libya needs is some patriotic men and women in uniform and then some how the special interest ideologues that want to get their militias high paying salaries will disappear. Such a thing doesn’t happen and there is proof of it. Whether it’s Afghanistan or a variety of post-war/post-colonial African nations. You achieve growth and development through trade and openness. The government will need an army as a requirement for governance but you can’t have Libya at pause just to wait for the government to deal with adversarial groups. Their power lies in their ability to delay pre war institutions from returning to work. This includes public works, international trade, etc. What needs to happen is for the government to assert that they are in charge of international trade and that they welcome outsiders to come to Libya. Actually completing work rather than empty gestures could do this. Like for example working oil refineries in Zawiyah could be sold or operated fully and competitively. Drive Ibrahim “Kingpin” Jathran out, so much so his hissy fit could be put on display in a courthouse and soon made into a made-for-TV drama on some Libyan version Lifetime.

They idea of competing for legitimacy from Militias is ridiculous but I am not proposing the government say they are better. I am trying to say that fears of federalism are exaggerated. This is not because its going to happen, rather its because its already here. Any Libyan can see this. Different militias with the claim to “work for the people” rule even parts of cities, so really I would love to have just three provinces. But in Libya you have a hundred. All with attempts at economic policy and religious policy. Its crazy to think the government is struggling to pass bills when all that is needed is a framework to suggest that it’s the governing body. But no framework exists and no constitution exists. No framework exists to say that ever city has a municipal body with said role. Rather it seems militias take a city block and rule it like a nation state, saying that the GNC is corrupt. Of course the GNC is corrupt, but really the GNC isn’t even supposed to have a serious role. Its role is supposed to be dealing with governmental framework, but till now all they have done is sends their “injured” children to Europe to be treated for claimed injuries during the war. As well as pay high salaries for workers who never show up to work. While still not paying workers, most of who are immigrants for work that they actually do. I can’t tell you how poorly the Libyan government treats street sweepers and garbage men, most of which are immigrants that aren’t hired in capable jobs because of racial intolerance in Libya. This issue could be dealt with if public servants did their job but why would day if no framework existed and if the boys club of ignorance continued to try to be some fake congress when their job is to allow a constitution to be created so that there is no excuse for militias to be the “people’s representatives”.

The recent constitutional council is a little weak. Only 30% of eligible voters voted. But you don’t get two chances to create a real government. One that will be recognized as in charge of the border, one that will protect property rights and one that is looked at to get rid of militias. One that people may want to volunteer in to protect.

So, while my thoughts have been scrambled I think there is a central message there. Previous ways to form order aren’t the only answer to Libya. Just having an army is not enough. It’s the effort to be the prime institution and crafting rules for governance, and at least attempting at defining a new constitution that make others absolutely illegitimate. Until then the country will be divided and even though everyone hates militias and the GNC they will never be able to recognize a central authority. One that only exists as more than just a collection of empty gestures. Government must be one that creates an example for Libyans and tells them that their property is theirs, their lives are theirs and that a framework exists that protects them. Weapons are not how you protect people, its institutions. If they create an army they can’t take on every militia head on, they have to make them useless, almost run them out of business.

Cynical Infrastructure Spending

It seems that if the government is ever going to spend money on something it’s going to over pay. It just seems that too often rent seeking occurs rather than actually production or services served for each dollar spent. Now I don’t care much for most fiscal stimulus. Current effects have been minimal with little to no fiscal multiplier effect. But I will give one concession concerning spending that should be done now.

Currently a lot of American infrastructure is deteriorating. This includes roads, highways, waterways, bridges, etc. The public works of the nation are not in a good state. And since the government is the sole party responsible for this structure then it is necessary that elected officials complete the duty. Now some people argue that this is good because you are paying for someone to work on the roads and thus giving them an income, from which the recovery can ensue. Such statements are inaccurate and the magnitude to which they claim the government’s infrastructure spending can spur short-term recovery is incredibly ridiculous. However, I have a better reason.

Currently there is a slump, wages are down and infrastructure sucks. This is provides a great opportunity to invest in infrastructure spending as wages will be low. It will comparatively cost less to higher workers. Now, I am not sure to what extent Obama’s minimum wage to federal workers effects all contracts but even so the labor could be cheaper now, especially if the project is done during the spring and summer months when theoretically the manual labor supply is greatest.

I understand the cynical nature behind such a project. I am obviously supportive because labor is so cheap and to some it doesn’t seem to be so egalitarian. But the other choice is a deteriorating infrastructure that could effect overall production in the long term. As well as deficits when there is a boom that will be more costly then one now considering rising costs.

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