Author Archive: Emily Skarbek

Emily Skarbek is a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute.
Full biography and recent publications

Don Boudreaux on Public Debt


Tuesday March 27th, 2012   •   Posted by Emily Skarbek at 7:33am PDT   •   2 Comments

Readers of MyGovCost will likely be interested in this week’s Econtalk podcast with Don Boudreaux on the nature and significance of public debt. Roberts and Boudreaux begin by discussing debt at the household level and then work to draw out which lessons apply to the spending of a federal government. In doing so, the...
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Where’s the Cheese? The Geography of Government Transfers


Wednesday March 7th, 2012   •   Posted by Emily Skarbek at 4:51am PDT   •   6 Comments

A few weeks ago, the New York Times posted a nice info-graphic on the dispersion of government transfers over time. The report show that American’s income that comes from government transfer programs has more than doubled over the last 40 years, rising from 8 percent in 1969 to 18 percent in 2009. The info-graphic...
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Fiscal Discipline?


Monday March 5th, 2012   •   Posted by Emily Skarbek at 11:50am PDT   •   0 Comments

Last week, Moody’s cut Greece’s credit rating to the lowest level on its scale, citing risk of default despite the recent write-off deal. Moody’s said the rating decision was “prompted by the recently announced debt exchange proposals for Greece, which imply expected losses to investors in excess of 70%.” The sovereign debt crisis in...
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Crony Capitalism and Phony Energy


Thursday February 16th, 2012   •   Posted by Emily Skarbek at 6:52am PDT   •   0 Comments

A revolving door between green energy firms and the Department of Energy is a prime example of crony capitalism in full swing. As the Washington Post reports, rent-seeking businessmen like Sanjay Wagel are going where the money is. Following an enduring Washington tradition, Wagle shifted from the private sector, where his firm hoped to...
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The Great Greek Default


Tuesday February 7th, 2012   •   Posted by Emily Skarbek at 10:27am PDT   •   1 Comment

Just last October, Greece received a huge injection of bailout funds to help avert bankruptcy but the country remains on the brink of default. Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos plans to gather the nation’s political leaders in an attempt to garner consensus on the necessary budget cuts. But the party chiefs have only agreed...
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Crony Capitalism XL


Tuesday January 24th, 2012   •   Posted by Emily Skarbek at 3:40pm PDT   •   2 Comments

Crony capitalism is the theme of tonight’s “State of the Union” address. Warren Buffet’s longtime secretary, Debbie Bosanek will be seated next to Michelle Obama at tonight’s speech. Bosanek has recently become the White House’s new symbol for higher taxes and what the administration terms “economic fairness”. But fairness couldn’t be farther from the...
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Why the U.S. Debt Ceiling Is Dangerous


Sunday January 22nd, 2012   •   Posted by Emily Skarbek at 10:43am PDT   •   3 Comments

My colleague Jeff Hummel pointed out an interesting blog post by Ted Levy where he asks the question: what’s the point of the debt ceiling? Levy shows that since the debt ceiling was created in 1917, it has been raised over 100 times, 8 times in just the last ten years. In fact, Congress...
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Federal Debt Climbs Past Annual GDP


Saturday January 14th, 2012   •   Posted by Emily Skarbek at 7:54am PDT   •   10 Comments

I could not resist posting this beautiful graph of the current state of the momentousness US debt. The graph is particularly useful for eyeballing the historical path of U.S. debt to GDP. Often pundits will say that our current debt-to-GDP ratio is not unreasonable because it is not too high relative to the period...
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The Costs of War


Friday January 6th, 2012   •   Posted by Emily Skarbek at 7:59am PDT   •   3 Comments

At the Pentagon yesterday, President Obama released a press statement concerning his new military strategy. The document was clear with regard to Iran, stating “U.S. policy will emphasize Gulf security, in collaboration with the Gulf Co-operation Council countries when appropriate, to prevent Iran’s development of a nuclear weapon capability and counter its destabilizing policies.”...
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How Would You Cut Defense Spending?


Thursday January 5th, 2012   •   Posted by Emily Skarbek at 7:16am PDT   •   4 Comments

The New York Times has a useful infographic outlining proposals for how to trim the defense budget. The Pentagon has committed to cutting $450 billion in spending over the next 10 years—only a small slice of the tremendous increase in war and defense spending we have seen in the previous 10 years. The graph...
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