How do politics and economics mix? As they’ve traveled across the country, U.S. Presidential candidates have made a variety of economic proposals and promises. National Public Radio’s Planet Money asked 22 economists from across the political spectrum for their two cents on the matter. Survey participants were given three options: good, debatable, or bad. Here are their opinions:

1. End the “carried interest” tax break, which benefits hedge fund managers and private equity executives.
* Good: 20
* Debatable: 2
* Bad: 0

2. Lower the corporate tax rate to 25 percent.
* Good: 10
* Debatable: 10
* Bad: 2

3. Create a “National Infrastructure Bank” seeded with public money to help finance infrastructure projects.
* Good: 10
* Debatable: 8
* Bad: 4

4. Make tuition free at public colleges and universities.
* Good: 1
* Debatable: 1
* Bad: 20

5. Make tuition free at community colleges for students who contribute earnings from working 10 hours a week.
a. Good: 5
b. Debatable: 9
c. Bad: 8

6. Impose a “spectator tax.” Stock trades will be taxed at 0.5 percent and bonds at 0.1 percent.
a. Good: 4
b. Debatable: 6
c. Bad: 12

7. Raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.
a. Good: 2
b. Debatable: 4
c. Bad: 16

8. Remove single taxpayers who earn less than $25,000, and married taxpayers (and those filing jointly) who earn less than $50,000 – approximately over 50 percent – from the tax rolls.
a. Good: 2
b. Debatable: 9
c. Bad: 11

9. Everyone pays the same 10 percent tax rate. It retains some version of the earned income tax credit and deductions for lower-income families.
* Good: 1
* Debatable: 0
* Bad: 21

10. Expel immigrants who are in the United States illegally.
* Good: 0
* Debatable: 0
* Bad: 22

We’ll find out what the American people think later this year!

Weekly Focus – Think About It

“And along the way I discovered that a lot of great originals in history were procrastinators. Take Leonardo da Vinci. He toiled on and off for 16 years on the Mona Lisa. He felt like a failure. He wrote as much in his journal. But some of the diversions he took in optics transformed the way that he modeled light and made him into a much better painter.”
                                                                                           –Adam Grant, Organizational psychologist


http://www.npr.org/sections/money/2016/02/26/468298576/economists-on-candidates-proposals-mostly-bad  (Numbers correspond to the dots in right-hand boxes)