This Blog Post Is Dedicated to Stephen Bainbridge

The "moral outrage over tax inversions" is feigned outrage. It is ginned up, fake, astroturfed outrage that will go away as soon as the midterm elections are over. It currently commands (too much) attention because President Obama and the Democratic party are worried that they might lose the Senate in the midterms, because they have no genuine …

Some Common Sense on Corporate Tax Inversions

Courtesy of Greg Mankiw:“Some people are calling these companies ‘corporate deserters.’ ”That is what President Obama said last month about the recent wave of tax inversions sweeping across corporate America, and he did not disagree with the description. But are our nation’s business leaders really so unpatriotic?A tax inversion occurs when an American company merges with …

Integrity Inverted

Anyone really surprised by this?President Barack Obama won’t return campaign donations to executives, advisers and directors who have profited from offshore mergers that reduce corporate taxes using a technique he has called “unpatriotic.”Responding to a Bloomberg News report that described connections between more than 20 Obama donors and the tax-cutting transactions, White House Deputy Press Secretary …

If Only We Had Some “Economic Patriotism” in the White House

To wit:President Barack Obama says U.S. corporations that adopt foreign addresses to avoid taxes are unpatriotic. His own administration helped one $20 billion American company do just that.As part of the bailout of the auto industry in 2009, Obama’s Treasury Department authorized spending $1.7 billion of government funds to get a bankrupt Michigan parts-maker back …

Summing Up Jonathan Alter

A know-nothing when it comes to economics and a McCarthyite when it comes to discourse. The notion that corporations and other businesses now have to take "loyalty oaths" so that they will be prevented from acting rationally in the face of ridiculous and onerous taxes and tax policy insults the intelligence of just about everyone, …

Still More on the Piketty Wars

Responding to Piketty's response (linked here) to the charges raised by the Financial Times, Chris Giles notes that there remain concerns with Piketty's presentation: There are a few things on which we agree. First, the source data on wealth inequality is poor. I have written that it is “sketchy” and Prof Piketty says it is “much …

Understanding Paul Krugman on Thomas Piketty

Gentle readers, whenever Paul Krugman issues a defense of Thomas Piketty regarding the charges against the latter, by all means, be sure to read that defense. Be sure to consider its merits seriously. Be sure to closely and carefully examine the data Krugman might present in defense of his point and if Krugman actually makes a …

The Tragedy of Thomas Piketty

The latest Pikettian response to Giles's and Giugliano's assertions regarding the quality of Piketty's data and research is to accuse Giles and Giugliano of being "dishonest." (Hat tip in comments here.) I suppose this means that Piketty's is employing a classic I-am-rubber-and-you-are-glue-whatever-you-say-bounces-off-me-and-sticks-back-to-you defense, but there is little substance to the accusation; at best, Piketty can assert (without …

What the Piketty Errors Mean

Remember the Reinhart/Rogoff spreadsheet error? In the event that you do not, here is a summary. Those who follow debates between economists will recall that the spreadsheet error led to all kinds of excorations of Reinhart and Rogoff on the part of liberal economists, who claimed that Reinhart and Rogoff were responsible for austerity policies …

Facts Are Stubborn Things . . . As Thomas Piketty Is Beginning to Find Out

I have bought Thomas Piketty's book Capital in the Twenty-First Century, and while I have posted many an item that takes issue with the books claims and conclusions concerning wealth inequality, I do plan on reading Piketty; his book has made quite the intellectual and cultural impact, and although I know what his basic arguments are, …