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Articles by Keith Yost

STAFF COLUMNIST
September 23, 2011
For decades, the U.S. government has attempted to encourage home ownership through a tax provision called the home mortgage interest rate deduction (HMID). Formed in an era before politicians began christening each of their creations in Orwellian NewSpeak, the HMID does exactly what its moniker suggests: for those taxpayers who itemize, the HMID allows any interest payments on a home mortgage to be deducted from their taxable income.
STAFF COLUMNIST
September 20, 2011
Last week, President Obama unveiled a $447 billion spending plan. Notice I say “spending plan,” rather than “stimulus plan” or “jobs plan,” because there is a difference. None of the plan’s components, which consist of roughly $250 billion in payroll tax cuts, $60 billion in unemployment insurance, and $140 billion to fund infrastructure (most of it going to a national infrastructure investment bank), can be considered significantly stimulative, and without stimulus, we’re unlikely to see many new jobs.
STAFF COLUMNIST
September 16, 2011
As Rick Perry basks in his front-runner status, the national conversation is turning to the topic of Texas. Assuming Perry does indeed secure the Republican nomination, here is the discussion you can expect to hear up until election day:
STAFF COLUMNIST
September 13, 2011
Hello freshmen.
STAFF COLUMNIST
September 13, 2011
In 1965, Milton Friedman, the scion of right-wing economics, famously declared, “We are all Keynesians now.” If he were alive today, Friedman might add, “And we are all Keynesians still.” The view of mainstream economics (and myself) is that the United States is suffering from a lack of aggregate demand, and the solution to our economic woes is economic stimulus, i.e., some combination of tax cuts, government spending, and an expansion of our monetary supply.
STAFF COLUMNIST
September 9, 2011
The decennial of the greatest terrorist attack against the United States is an occasion packed with retrospection and reflection. Every news network and publication is offering its two cents on what the U.S. did, what it should have done, and where it should go in the future. Normally, I might complain about the artificiality of it all — shouldn’t we take stock of matters near actual watershed moments rather than a random anniversary? But September 11, 2011, strikes me as a well-placed time for self-assessment — with bin Laden dead, Qaddafi in exile, and our missions in Iraq and Afghanistan coming to a conclusion, we may well be looking at an inflection point in our foreign affairs.
STAFF COLUMNIST
September 6, 2011
Frequent readers of this paper may recall a piece by MIT President Susan J. Hockfield and Harvard President Drew G. Faust in the Boston Globe, titled “Riding the Innovation Wave,” and this columnist’s negative response, “Voodoo Innovationomics.” Well, last Monday, President Hockfield was at it again, this time with a solo piece in the New York Times titled, “Manufacturing a Recovery.”
STAFF COLUMNIST
September 2, 2011
Social Security is primarily made of three insurance programs: old age insurance, insurance against on-the-job injuries (workers compensation), and insurance against career-ending disabilities (disability insurance). Old age insurance, being the bulk of Social Security, is what comes up in conversation most often. But the remainder of Social Security is in dire need of reform as well, and if Congress paid a little more attention to Disability Insurance (DI) in particular, they might go a considerable way toward fixing the nation’s budget deficit.
STAFF COLUMNIST
August 30, 2011
In the parlance of military planning, the U.S. wields what one would call a “two-MRC force.” That is to say, as structured, the armed forces should be able to fight two “major regional conflicts” (Iraq-sized wars), simultaneously. The logic behind this sizing is simple: should the U.S. choose to fight in one region (say, the Korean peninsula), it doesn’t want to find itself without a free hand in dealing with other regions (say, the Persian gulf). Two MRC’s worth of military might gives the U.S. the strength to conduct big stick diplomacy with troublemakers even while taking action against another rogue state.
STAFF COLUMNIST
August 26, 2011
The Stewart-Colbert rally was a good bit of entertainment in and of itself, but the best bit of comedy to come out of it was a video made by a pair of faux reporters who went about asking the rally-goers “Is Barack Obama a Keynesian?” The attendees, unaware of John Maynard Keynes and his contribution to modern macroeconomics, confused Keynesian for Kenyan; hilarity ensued.
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