AHRF/ARF 2012-13 data is available free

AHRF=Area Health Resource File (Formerly ARF)

2012-2013 ARHF can now be downloaded at no cost.

The 2012-2013 ARF data files and documentation can now be downloaded. Click the link below to learn how to download ARF documentation and data.


“The Area Health Resources Files (AHRF)—a family of health data resource
products—draw from an extensive county-level database assembled annually from
over 50 sources. The AHRF products include county and state ASCII files, an MS Access
database, an AHRF Mapping Tool and Health Resources Comparison Tools (HRCT). These
products are made available at no cost by HRSA/BHPR/NCHWA to inform health resources
planning, analysis and decision making..”

“The new AHRF Mapping Tool enables users to compare the availability of healthcare providers as well as environmental factors impacting health at the county and state levels.”

A Monkey’s Fight for Equal Pay

This 2:44 extract from a TED talk by Frans de Waal, a professor of primate behavior at Emory University shows beyond a doubt the role that fairness plays in our  society.

It is both hilarious and incredibly insightful.



Press Interviews and Quotes

Partly just to keep track of them for my BU annual report, This post links to my press interviews and quotes.

“STUDY: Grad student loan debt on the rise” The Daily Free Press. Boston University March 26, 2014.

“South Shore Hospital, Partners HealthCare defend merger plan” The Patriot Ledger. by Christian Schiavone.  1/17/2014

“The Healing Begins for Healthcare.gov”  TechNewsWorld By Erika Morphy 12/04/13 4:12 PM PT

“Financial squeeze awaits W.Pa. hospitals”, TribLive. By Alex Nixon. Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013.

Wenermaar aan, Obamacare blijft“, Trouw Buitenlandredactie. (Article on ObamaCare in Dutch Newspaper) In Dutch. October 4. 2013

Menino plans to build about 30,000 housing units by 2020. Daily Free Press, Boston University, Sep 11, 2013

“Boston welcomes startups, entrepreneurship, despite study results” Daily Free Press, Boston University, Sep 11, 2013

Mass. residents driving less since 2004, study suggests. Daily Free Press, Boston University, Sept 4, 2013.

Medical Costs Register First Decline Since 1970s. Wall Street Journal Blog.  June 18, 2013,

Employers fear economic climate, fail to make hires, new study suggests. Daily Free Press, Boston University, April 24, 2013.

Outside spending in Senate race tops $1.25 million. Daily Free Press, Boston University, April 9, 2013.

New delayed-start loan repayment plan may help grads.Daily Free Press, Boston University, April 3, 2013.

Years after recession, Mass. job numbers finally bounce back. Daily Free Press, Boston University, April 2, 2013.

Popeye’s President Unconcerned About Obamacare, Says Health Insurance ‘Just Not Affordable’ Huffington Post. March 28th, 2013

Tax-based aid needs reform, report suggests. The Daily Free Press. Boston University. Feb 27, 2013.

Minimum wage-earners face hardship paying rent. The Daily Free Press, Boston University, Feb 5, 2013

Gas prices in Mass. shoot up 14 cents a gallon. The Daily Free Press, Boston University. Feb 5, 2013

Freshmen see college as necessary to riches, study suggests. The Daily Free Press, Boston University. Jan 30, 2013.

College debt high despite lower credit card, general debt. The Daily Free Press, Boston University. Dec 3, 2012

Government officials demand sales tax for items bought online. The Daily Free Press, Boston University. Nov 27, 2012

Interview with ASHEcon President Randy Ellis. American Society of Health Economists (ASHEcon) Newsletter Vol. 4 Fall 2010.



Health Exchange Rating Areas with More Insurers Offering Plans Have Lower Premiums


For some reason I have been unable to embed these two figures, but these links should work.




BU to be Well Represented at ASSA 2014


Boston University is again well represented at the ASSA (AEA) meetings to be held in Philadelphia, January 3-5 2014. Counting coauthors, people presiding and discussants equally, current BU affiliates are on the program 46 times (31 distinct names). In addition, recent BU Economics alumni are also on the program at least 24 times, bringing the total to at least 70 BU participants, nearly tying the 71 participants at the 2013 meetings in San Diego. (This total is almost certainly an undercount, since recognizing the names of BU alumni is imprecise. I apologize for missing some names.) Of these 70 participating, 28 are current Economics faculty, 11 are current SMG faculty, one is in the SPH, six were Ph.D. Economics students at the time they submitted, and 24 are alumni. This year three professors share the title for the most appearances on the ASSA program: Alisdair McKay, Kevin Lang and Laurence Kotlikoff, each of whom appears three times on the program in various roles. Well done colleagues!


PS: It is not too early to begin planning for attending the 2015 meetings, which will be January, in Boston and are sure to set a new record for BU involvement.


PPS. If you attend either conference, plan to attend the BU reception, which is now an ASSA tradition for Saturday evening at 6:00.

Saturday, Jan 4, from 6-8pm at the Loews Philadelphia- Commonwealth Hall A1.

The preliminary ASSA program is linked here. http://www.aeaweb.org/aea/2014conference/program/preliminary.php

Below is a full list of BU participants and the time and place of their sessions. (Also an easy way for you to check for your own time and room although this is the PRELIMINARY program.)


Jan 03, 2014 8:00 am, Philadelphia Marriott, Meeting Room 305
American Economic Association
Evaluation of Social Programs (H4)
Smallpox and Human Capital Development: 1850-1930
Dara N. Lee (University of Missouri)
Jan 03, 2014 8:00 am, Loews Philadelphia Hotel, Regency Ballroom A
American Finance Association
Credit Risk I (G1)
Synthetic or Real? The Equilibrium Effects of Credit Default Swaps on Bond Markets
Martin Oehmke (Columbia University)
Adam Zawadowski (Boston University)
Jan 03, 2014 8:00 am, Philadelphia Marriott, Meeting Room 306
American Economic Association
Health Economics (I1)
Presiding: Kathleen Carey (Boston University)
Does Reputation Matter? Patient-Created Reviews and Drivers of Demand for Physician Services On ZocDoc.com
Sonal Vats (Boston University)
Michael Luca (Harvard Business School)
Why Does the Health of Immigrants Deteriorate?
Osea Giuntella (University of Oxford)
Jan 03, 2014 8:00 am, Philadelphia Marriott, Meeting Room 403
Econometric Society
Industrial Organization: Theory and Applications (L1)
Strategic Responses to Used-Goods Markets: Airbus and Boeing since 1997
Myongjin Kim (Boston University)
Discussants: Myongjin Kim (Boston University)
Jan 03, 2014 10:15 am, Pennsylvania Convention Center, 201-A
American Economic Association
Looking Back at the United States during the Late Nineteenth Century: Lessons from the American Economy during the Time of the Great Migration Era (J6)
Technical Change and the Relative Demand for Skilled Labor: The United States in Historical Perspective
Lawrence Katz (Harvard University)
Robert Margo (Boston University)

Jan 03, 2014 10:15 am, Philadelphia Marriott, Grand Ballroom – Salon J
American Economic Association
Firms, Uncertainty and the Business Cycle (E3)
Entry, Exit, Firm Dynamics, and Aggregate Fluctuations
Berardino Palazzo (Boston University)
Gian Luca Clementi (New York University)
Jan 03, 2014 10:15 am, Pennsylvania Convention Center, Grand Hall
American Economic Association
Macroeconomics Poster Session (E1) (Poster Session)
Investment Decisions of the Elderly
Valentina Michelangeli (Bank of Italy)
Jan 03, 2014 10:15 am, Philadelphia Marriott, Grand Ballroom – Salon K
Association of Environmental & Resource Economists
Automobiles, Fuel Markets and Energy Efficiency (Q4)
Testing a Model of Consumer Vehicle Purchases
Gloria Helfand (US Environmental Protection Agency)
Ari Kahan (US Environmental Protection Agency)
David Greene (Oak Ridge National Laboratory)
Changzheng Liu (Oak Ridge National Laboratory)
Michael Shelby (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)
Jan 03, 2014 10:15 am, Pennsylvania Convention Center, 102-A
Labor & Employment Relations Association
Building a Sustainable Biomedical Research Workforce (J5)
The Biomedical Postdoc: Human Capital Investment or Holding Pattern?
Shulamit Kahn (Boston University)
Donna K. Ginther (University of Kansas)
Jan 03, 2014 2:30 pm, Pennsylvania Convention Center, 201-C
American Economic Association
Public Policy and the Design of Medicare Part D (I1)
Medicare Part D: Are Insurers Gaming the Low-Income Subsidy Design?
Francesco Decarolis (Boston University)
Jan 03, 2014 2:30 pm, Pennsylvania Convention Center, 105-B
American Economic Association
Women and Development (J16)
Presiding: Alicia Adsera (Princeton University)
Jan 03, 2014 2:30 pm, Philadelphia Marriott, Meeting Room 406
Cliometrics Society
Enterprising America: Businesses, Banks, and Credit Markets in Historical Perspective (N2)
Economies of Scale in Nineteenth Century American Manufacturing Revisited: A Resolution of the Entrepreneurial Labor Input Problem
Robert A. Margo (Boston University and NBER)
Carola Frydman (Boston University and NBER)
Jan 03, 2014 2:30 pm, Philadelphia Marriott, Meeting Room 401
Econometric Society
Banks, Sovereign Risk and Currency Wars (F5)
Sovereign Risk and Financial Risk
Simon Gilchrist (Boston University)
Vivian Yue (Federal Reserve Board)
Egon Zakrajsek (Federal Reserve Bank)
Jan 03, 2014 2:30 pm, Philadelphia Marriott, Meeting Room 306
National Economic Association
Innovations in Innovation and Entrepreneurship (O3)
Innovation Strategies in Entrepreneurial Firms: Market Maturity and Killer Apps in the iPhone Ecosystem
Pai-Ling Yin (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Jason Davis (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Yulia Muzyrya (Boston University)
Jan 04, 2014 8:00 am, Pennsylvania Convention Center, 103-B
American Economic Association
Financial Frictions, Business Cycles and Investment Dynamics (E2)
Uncertainty, Financial Frictions, and Investment Dynamics
Simon Gilchrist (Boston University)
Jae Sim (Federal Reserve Board)
Egon Zakrajsek (Federal Reserve Board)
Francois Gourio (Boston University)
Berardino Palazzo (Boston University)
Jan 04, 2014 8:00 am, Pennsylvania Convention Center, 107-B
American Economic Association
Racial Disparities (J1)
Presiding: Kevin Lang (Boston University)
Attorney Empowerment in Voir Dire and the Racial Composition of Juries
Jee-Yeon K. Lehmann (University of Houston)
Jeremy Blair Smith (Analysis Group)
The Black-White Education-Scaled Test-Score Gap in Grades K-7
Timothy N. Bond (Purdue University)
Kevin Lang (Boston University)
Johannes Schmieder (Boston University)
Jan 04, 2014 8:00 am, Philadelphia Marriott, Meeting Room 307
Economic Science Association
Identifying Time Preferences from Lab and Field Data (D9)
Identifying Self Control in Field Data
Sendhil Mullanaithan (Harvard University)
Supreet Kaur (Boston University)
Michael Kremer (Harvard University)
Jan 04, 2014 10:15 am, Philadelphia Marriott, Grand Ballroom – Salon C
American Economic Association
Agency Conflicts and Asset Pricing (G1)
Andrea M. Buffa (Boston University)
Dimitri Vayanos (London School of Economics)
Paul Woolley (London School of Economics)
Jan 04, 2014 10:15 am, Pennsylvania Convention Center, 204-C
American Economic Association
Behavioral Economics and Public Policy (H3)
How Product Standardization Affects Choice: Evidence from the Massachusetts Health Insurance Exchange
Keith Marzilli Ericson (Boston University)
Amanda Starc (University of Pennsylvania)
Jan 04, 2014 10:15 am, Pennsylvania Convention Center, 109-B
American Economic Association
Computational Solutions to Optimal Policy Problems (C6)
Presiding: Laurence Kotlikoff (Boston University)
Generational Risk – Is It a Big Deal?
Jasmina Hasanhodzik (Boston University)
Laurence J. Kotlikoff (Boston University)
Laurence J. Kotlikoff (Boston University)
Jan 04, 2014 10:15 am, Philadelphia Marriott, Meeting Room 404
Econometric Society
Risk and Ambiguity (D8)
No Two Experiments are Identical
Larry Epstein (Boston University)
Yoram Halevy (University of British Columbia)
Jan 04, 2014 10:15 am, Philadelphia Marriott, Meeting Room 405
Econometric Society
Wage Inequality (E2)
Presiding: Alisdair McKay (Boston University)
Idiosyncratic Risk and the Dynamics of Aggregate Consumption: A Likelihood-Based Perspective
Alisdair McKay (Boston University)
Jan 04, 2014 10:15 am, Loews Philadelphia Hotel, Regency Ballroom C2
International Economic & Finance Society
Exchange Rates and Fundamentals (F4)
On What States Do Prices Depend? Evidence from Micro-Prices in Ecuador
Craig Benedict (Vanderbilt University)
Mario Crucini (Vanderbilt University)
Anthony Landry (Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas)
Jan 04, 2014 2:30 pm, Loews Philadelphia Hotel, Millenium Hall
American Finance Association
The Consequences of Imperfect Financial Markets (G1)
Intangible Capital and Corporate Cash Holdings
Antonio Falato (Federal Reserve Board)
Dalida Kadyrzhanova (University of Maryland)
Jae Sim (Federal Reserve Board)
Jan 04, 2014 2:30 pm, Philadelphia Marriott, Meeting Room 406
Cliometrics Society
Technology and Property Rights (N7)
Copyright and the Allocation of Talent
Petra Moser (Stanford University)
Megan MacGarvie (Boston University)
Hoan Nguyen (Stanford University)
Turning Points in Leadership: Shipping Technology in the Portuguese and Dutch Merchant Empires
Claudia Rei (Vanderbilt University)

Jan 04, 2014 2:30 pm, Pennsylvania Convention Center, 102-A
Labor & Employment Relations Association
Human Capital at Work: Education and Health (J5)
Impact of Comorbid Mental and Physical Illness on Employment,, Earnings Loss and Disability
E. Nilay Kafali (Harvard University)
Benjamin Cook (Harvard University)

Jan 04, 2014 2:30 pm, Philadelphia Marriott, Meeting Room 401
Econometric Society
Bounded Rationality and Markets (D4)
Presiding: Bart Lipman (Boston University)
Foundations for Optimal Inattention
Andrew Ellis (Boston University)
Jan 04, 2014 2:30 pm, Loews Philadelphia Hotel, Washington A
National Tax Association
Taxes, Top Incomes, and Executive Compensation (H2)
The Impact of Taxes and Regulations on Executive Compensation: An Examination of the TARP Rules
Carola Frydman (Boston University)
Seth H. Giertz (University of Nebraska)
Jacob Mortenson (Georgetown University and Joint Committee on Taxation)
Jan 05, 2014 8:00 am, Pennsylvania Convention Center, 201-C
American Economic Association
Theory and Measurement of Intangible Capital (E2)
Customer Capital over the Business Cycle
Francois Gourio (Boston University)
Leena Rudanko (Boston University)
Jan 05, 2014 8:00 am, Pennsylvania Convention Center, 203-A
American Economic Association
Transfers and Networks in Developing Countries (O1)
The Network Effects of Financial Interventions: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Nepal
Margherita Comola (Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne)
Silvia Prina (Case Western Reserve University)
Silvia Prina (Case Western Reserve University)
Jan 05, 2014 8:00 am, Philadelphia Marriott, Meeting Room 404
Econometric Society
Searching and Contracting (D3)
Repeated Contracting in Decentralised Markets
Sambuddha Ghosh (Boston University)
Seungjin Han (McMaster University)
Jan 05, 2014 8:00 am, Pennsylvania Convention Center, 102-A
Labor & Employment Relations Association
Human Capital at Work: Talent, Skills (J5)
Shulamit Kahn (Boston University)
Jan 05, 2014 10:15 am, Philadelphia Marriott, Grand Ballroom – Salon K
American Economic Association
Credit and Collateral (G2)
Rising Intangible Capital, Shrinking Debt Capacity and the United States Corporate Savings Glut
Jae W. Sim (Federal Reserve Board)
Antonio Falato (Federal Reserve Board)
Dalida Kadyrzhanova (University of Maryland)
Jan 05, 2014 10:15 am, Philadelphia Marriott, Grand Ballroom – Salon A
American Economic Association
Education, Human Capital and Gender (J16)
Presiding: Kevin Lang (Boston University)
Labour Market Decisions of Immigrant Households
Alicia Adsera (Princeton University)
Ana Ferrer (University of Calgary)
Daniele Paserman (Boston University)
Jan 05, 2014 10:15 am, Philadelphia Marriott, Meeting Room 403
Econometric Society
Life-Cycle Decision-Making with Intergenerational Interactions and Health/Life Expectations (I1)
Bequest Motives in a Life-Cycle Model with Intergenerational Interactions
Loretti Isabella Dobrescu (University of New South Wales)
Fedor Iskhakov (University of South Wales)
Jan 05, 2014 10:15 am, Philadelphia Marriott, Meeting Room 406
Econometric Society
Using Information Technology to Improve Health in Developing Countries (O1)
Presiding: Wesley Yin (Boston University)
Using Text-Message Authentication to Combat Counterfeit Pharmaceuticals
Daniel Bennett (University of Chicago)
Seema Jayachandran (Northwestern University)
Wesley Yin (Boston University)
Jan 05, 2014 1:00 pm, Philadelphia Marriott, Grand Ballroom – Salon I
Association for Comparative Economic Studies
Shall I Fear Thou? Theoretical and Empirical Evidence on the Determinants, Effects, and Persistence of Aggression vs. Cooperation (Z1)
Presiding: Pauline Grosjean (University of New South Wales)
Terrorism: A Tale of Reputation and Intimidation
Sambuddha Ghosh (Boston University)
Gabriele Gratton (University of New South Wales)
Caixia Shen (Shangai University of Finance and Economics)
Jan 05, 2014 1:00 pm, Philadelphia Marriott, Meeting Room 401
Econometric Society
Asset Pricing-Theory (G1)
Robust Contracts in Continuous Time
Jianjun Miao (Boston University)
Alejandro Rivera (Boston University)
Jan 05, 2014 1:00 pm, Philadelphia Marriott, Meeting Room 403
Econometric Society
Inference and Statistical Decision Theory (C1)
On the Computation of Size-Correct Power-Directed Tests with Null Hypotheses Characterized by Inequalities
Adam McCloskey (Brown University)
Jan 05, 2014 8:00 am, Pennsylvania Convention Center, 204-A
American Economic Association
Medical Innovation (I1)
The Local Influence of Principal Investigators on Technology Adoption: Evidence from New Cancer Drugs
Leila Agha (Boston University)
David Molitor (University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign)
Entries with current affiliation of Boston University (46 entries, 31 names)
Adam Zawadowski (Boston University) SMG
Alejandro Rivera (Boston University) SMG
Alisdair McKay (Boston University) Econ  *3
Andrea M. Buffa (Boston University) SMG
Andrew Ellis (Boston University) Econ PhD (now at LSE)
Bart Lipman (Boston University) Econ
Berardino Palazzo (Boston University) SMG *2
Carola Frydman (Boston University and NBER) Econ *2
Daniele Paserman (Boston University) Econ
Francesco Decarolis (Boston University) Econ
Francois Gourio (Boston University) Econ *2
Jasmina Hasanhodzik (Boston University) Econ Ph.D. candidate
Jianjun Miao (Boston University) Econ
Johannes Schmieder (Boston University) Econ
Kathleen Carey (Boston University) SPH
Keith Marzilli Ericson (Boston University) SMG
Kevin Lang (Boston University) Econ *3
Larry Epstein (Boston University) Econ
Laurence J. Kotlikoff (Boston University) Econ *3
Leena Rudanko (Boston University) Econ
Leila Agha (Boston University) SMG
Megan MacGarvie (Boston University) SMG
Myongjin Kim (Boston University) Econ Ph.D (now at U Oklahoma) *2
Robert A. Margo (Boston University and NBER) Econ *2
Sambuddha Ghosh (Boston University) Econ *2
Shulamit Kahn (Boston University) SMG *2
Simon Gilchrist (Boston University) Econ *2
Sonal Vats (Boston University) Econ Ph.D candidate
Supreet Kaur (Boston University) SMG, (IR?)
Wesley Yin (Boston University) Econ *2 (now at UCLA)
Yulia Muzyrya (Boston University) SMG

Jan 04, 2014 2:30 pm, Pennsylvania Convention Center, 102-A
Labor & Employment Relations Association
Human Capital at Work: Education and Health (J5)
Presiding: Phanindra Wunnava (Middlebury College and IZA)
Private and Social Returns to Education: Evidence from the Current Population Survey
Kristen Monaco (California State University-Long Beach)
Steven Yamarik (California State University-Long Beach)
Impact of Comorbid Mental and Physical Illness on Employment, Earnings Loss and Disability
E. Nilay Kafali (Harvard University)
Benjamin Cook (Harvard University)
Employment Patterns of Foreign-Born Immigrants in the United States: The Role of English Proficiency
Ying Zhen (Wesleyan College)
Paul Harrington (Drexel University)

Joe Stiglitz Essay on Martin Luther King and inequality

My colleague Michael Manove forwarded this article which is worth reading and pondering.

It is available directly at the New York Times at the link below. Two pages.


The Great Divide August 27, 2013, 8:58 pm 167 Comments
How Dr. King Shaped My Work in Economics

“I had the good fortune to be in the crowd in Washington when the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
gave his thrilling “I Have a Dream” speech on Aug. 28, 1963. I was 20 years old, and had just finished
college. It was just a couple of weeks before I began my graduate studies in economics at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology…”

I thank Saikat Kundu  for bringing to my attention the following NYT article.  I pasted two short excerpts below.

July 31, 2013, 10:20 am

Revealing a Health Care Secret: The Price


“The Surgery Center of Oklahoma is an ambulatory surgical center in Oklahoma City owned by its roughly 40 surgeons and anesthesiologists. What makes it different from every other such facility in America is this: If you need an anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction, you will know beforehand — because it’s on their Web site — that it costs $6,990 if you self-pay in advance. If you need a tonsillectomy, that’s $3,600. Repair of a simple closed nasal fracture: $1,900. These prices are all-inclusive.”


“Why are health care costs so high? It’s not because of quality; numerous studies have failed to find any correlation between price and quality. Nor is price a function of hospital costs — not when one facility in Oklahoma City can charge 7.5 times what another charges for the same procedure.

One of the most important reasons has to do with the political and market power of health care providers, who are essentially able to name their charges. The foundation of that system is the fact that only sellers, and not buyers, know the price. If prices are secret, patients can’t comparison shop. There is no way to push prices down, or force providers to compete on price. Price secrecy hides the need for reform. “Getting prices out in the open is crucial to bringing prices down,” said Katherine Hempstead, senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.”


Our Daily US Gun Killings

This repost is from the Daily Kos.


While Sandy Hook murders and the Marathon Bombing get a lot national attention, it is the daily tragedy of gun shootings and killings that should be of greatest concern. The Daily Kos simply compiled lists of all of the daily reports of murders for a week ending April 1 on the above web site.  Here is the April 1 media summary, the Monday after Easter.

April 1, 2013 edition (Monday)


Northwest Miami-Dade, Fla. — A 4-year-old girl died after being struck by a bullet while sitting in a parked car at a residence along with several other children about 6:10 p.m. Saturday. Police believe one of the children might have accidentally fired the gun.

Kansas City, Mo. — A 14-year-old boy, a middle school student, was shot and killed on a street when someone fired at him from a passing car about 3 p.m. Saturday. A 15-year-old boy who was with the victim was not injured.

Indianapolis, Ind. — A man cleaning his gun was killed about 3:30 p.m. Saturday when the weapon accidentally discharged.

Philadelphia, Penn. — A 27-year-old woman was accidentally shot and killed by her 28-year-old boyfriend about 7:45 p.m. Saturday. The boyfriend says he was arguing with a neighbor, possibly an uncle, when the neighbor threatened him with a hammer. Fearing for his safety, the boyfriend took out a gun, but then tripped and accidentally pulled the trigger, shooting the woman in the neck.

Cleveland Heights, Calif. — A 25-year-old woman was apparently accidentally shot and killed outside a restaurant by a security guard about 3 a.m. Saturday. Police say the victim and three other women were involved in an altercation with the guard inside the restaurant. As he was escorting them off the property, he was knocked to the ground and his weapon discharged, hitting the victim.

Harrisburg, N.C. — A 50-year-old man shot and killed two of his neighbors — a 64-year-old man and a 42-year-old man — in the backyard of one of their homes on a cul-de-sac. He then used the gun to kill himself after a several-hours-long standoff with police. The shooting was related to a dispute of some sort.

Ashtabula, Ohio — A 52-year-old man was shot and killed outside a church by his 25-year-old son shortly after Easter services ended about 1:15 p.m. Sunday.

Hartford, Conn. — A 22-year-old man was shot to death behind a building about 9:20 p.m. Sunday. He was hit once in the head.

Forney, Tex. — A 63-year-old man and his 65-year-old wife were found shot to death at their home Saturday night. The man was the district attorney for the county and police believe the victims were targeted.

North Harris County, Tex. — A 25-year-old man was fatally shot outside a house about 11:30 p.m. Saturday night.

Los Angeles, Calif. — About 11:10 p.m. yesterday, a man and woman encountered two gunmen after they went outside their home to investigate a car-alarm that was going off. A confrontation resulted and it ended up in the house where the man, 50 years old, was shot twice in the chest. He died a short time later. Police report that the gunmen and the victim might have known each other.

Washington, D.C. — A 33-year-old man was shot and killed about 2:10 a.m. Saturday outside an apartment complex. He had been shot in the chest.

Melbourne, Fla. — A sales manager at an auto dealership was shot and killed during an apparent road-rage incident while test-driving a vehicle for a trade-in. During the test drive, the manager stopped to make a right-hand turn and was rear-ended by another car. The driver of that car, a 64-year-old man, then shot the victim, killing him.

Oakland, Calif. — A 31-year-old man was fatally shot while sitting inside a car around 10 a.m. yesterday. The gunman fled in a vehicle.

Oakland, Calif. — A man was fatally shot while on a street about 4:10 p.m. yesterday.

Oakland, Calif. — A man was fatally shot while on a street about 8:10 p.m. yesterday.

Jacksonville, Fla. — A 32-year-old man was fatally shot Sunday morning after getting into a disagreement with a 20-year-old man. Police are looking for the suspect.

Brooklyn, N.Y. — A 37-year-old livery-cab driver on his way to pick up a fare was killed about 12:45 a.m. today after being shot in the face and crashing his minivan.

Bronx, N.Y. — A 28-year-old man was shot in the throat and killed about 12:15 a.m. yesterday inside an apartment building.

Las Vegas, Nev. — A 43-year-old man is a suspect in the shooting deaths of his mother and father. The son claimed he found the couple fatally shot inside their home about 9 p.m. Friday. Police initially thought it was a case of murder-suicide, but now believe the son killed them.

St. Louis, Mo. — When someone in a passing car shot at a group of people, one of the bullets struck a 4-year-old girl in the shoulder as she walked with her mother up the steps of a home. Police arrested a 23-year-old man in connection with the incident.

South Pittsburgh, Tenn. — About 6:30 p.m. Thursday, a 13-year-old was struck in the shoulder by a bullet when his father tested his gun by firing it from his back porch into thick woods. The father didn’t know his son was in the woods; he thought the boy was inside the house. The victim was listed in good condition.

Madison County, Ga. — A 17-year old boy watching TV in a living room accidentally shot himself in the hand while trying to unload a pistol on Saturday.

Port Deposit, Md. — A 20-year-old man accidentally shot himself in the torso when he tripped and fell while walking back to his house after target shooting Saturday about 2:30 p.m. No word on his condition.

Chicago, Ill. — Someone in a moving car opened fire on a 21-year-old man sitting on a porch about 7:30 p.m. yesterday. The victim was struck in the abdomen and was listed in serious condition.

Chicago, Ill. — A 26-year-old man was shot in the hip and knee while leaving a store about 9:15 p.m. yesterday. He was listed in critical condition.

Chicago, Ill. — A 29-year-old man walking down a street was shot in the leg about 9:50 p.m. when someone fired shots at him from a passing car. He was listed in stable condition.

Stamford, Conn. –About 7 p.m. Thursday, a 26-year-old man accidentally shot himself in the leg at his residence while cleaning his semi-automatic gun after returning from a firing range. No word on his condition.

Milwaukee, Wis. — About 9:15 p.m. Saturday, a 17-year-old male was shot by someone during an altercation over a female acquaintance. No word on his condition.

New Orleans, La. — A man was shot in the foot about 7 p.m. yesterday. No word on his condition.

Oakland, Calif. — Someone was shot about 7 p.m. yesterday. No word on the victim’s condition.

Jacksonville, Fla. — A man was shot in the upper torso about 9 p.m. yesterday. He was expected to survive.

Washington, D.C. — A 16-year-old boy was shot and wounded while on a street about 12:40 a.m. today when someone in a car fired at him. His injuries were reported as non life-threatening.

Jacksonville, Fla. — A man sitting in front of a house with two or three friends was shot twice in the leg about 5 p.m. Saturday when a car pulled up and someone in the car opened fire. The victim was reported to have non life-threatening injuries.

Oregon City, Ore. — After a 22-year-old woman parked her car about 10:20 p.m. Sunday, a male stranger approached from behind and grabbed her hair and then began dragging her backward. The assailant fled when she pulled out a handgun and pointed it at him.

Today’s sources: Akron Beacon Journal, cecildaily.com, Chicago Tribune, Denver Post, Hartford Courant, Houston Chronicle, KABC-TV Los Angeles, KCTV-TV Kansas City, madisonjournaltoday.com, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Oakland Tribune, The Oregonian, Orlando Sentinel, stamfordpatch.com, Times-Picayune, Washington Post, WCAU-TV Philadelphia, WISH-TV Indianapolis, WRCB-TV Chattanooga, WSOC-TV Charlotte, WTLV-TV Jacksonville


Early Exchange Bids from NY are VERY LOW

This news is sufficiently important that I am posting sections of several articles and summaries.

From July 16, 2013 New York Times:

Health Plan Cost for New Yorkers

Set to Fall 50%

By and
Published: July 16, 2013

Individuals buying health insurance on their own will see their premiums tumble next year in New York State as changes under the federal health care law take effect, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Wednesday.

Read Full article here. Particularly view the graphic.


Comments from today:

New York Times

9) Obamacare is the Right’s Worst Nightmare
from New York Times by Paul Krugman

News from New York: it looks as if insurance premiums on the individual market are going to plunge thanks to Obamacare. This shouldn’t come as a surprise; in fact, the New York experience perfectly illustrates why Obamacare had to look the way it does. And it also illustrates why conservatives should be terrified about this legislation, as it takes effect. Americans may have had a lot of misgivings in advance, thanks to vast, deliberately spread misinformation. But I agree with Matt Yglesias – unless the GOP finds even more ways to sabotage the plan, this thing is going to work, it’s going to be extremely popular, and it’s going to wreak havoc with conservative ideology.

Wall Street Journal

10) Big Labor Wakes Up to ObamaCare
from Wall Street Journal by Editorial Board

Every revolution devours its children, but it’s still surprising to see some of ObamaCare’s keenest boosters deny paternity so soon after the birth. Witness the emotional volte-face from three top union leaders, warning that the program will “shatter not only our hard-earned health benefits, but destroy the foundation of the 40-hour workweek that is the backbone of the American middle class.”


11) ObamaCare’s Coalition Begins to Fracture
from Wall Street Journal by Karl Rove

The three union leaders also complained their nonprofit insurance plans are still subject to ObamaCare’s new 2%-3% tax on each insurance policy. They want their members exempted from the tax every other family with health insurance must pay. Who knew labor leaders were such staunch tax opponents? It will not help Democratic enthusiasm in the 2014 midterm elections if ObamaCare causes (a) more workers to lose their union-provided insurance and (b) their hours and paychecks to be cut. In addition, Democratic candidates could be seriously damaged if the three labor bosses follow through on their letter’s threat to stop helping elect Democrats if the law isn’t changed.

2) Obama to Tout Americans Already Benefiting from Health Law
from USA Today by Aamer Madhani

President Obama will use a speech at the White House on Thursday to tout how a provision in his signature health care law is forcing health insurance providers to return money to consumers. With his administration facing deadlines to establish health care exchanges in all 50 states by Oct. 1 and GOP lawmakers continuing to call for a repeal of the law, the president is looking to trumpet the law by highlighting one of the most tangible ways Americans are benefiting from it even as his administration struggles to fully implement it. With that objective in mind, Obama will hone in on what is known as the medical loss ratio provision of the health care law in his speech. The provision requires insurers to refund customers when they spend less than 80% of premiums they collect on medical care. This year the provision will result in 8.5 million Americans receiving $500 million in rebates later this summer, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. The agency estimates that the average rebate is about $100 per family.

Washington Post

8) Obama’s Last Campaign: Inside the White House Plan to Sell Obamacare
from Washington Post by Ezra Klein and Sarah Kliff

The focus on young, minority voters. The heavy reliance on microtargeting. The enthusiasm about nontraditional communications channels. The analytics-rich modeling. It sounds like the Obama campaign. And administration officials don’t shy away from the comparison. But the effort will have to go far beyond engineering turnout among key demographics. The administration needs to build more insurance marketplaces than they ever expected, and create an unprecedented IT infrastructure that lets the federal government’s computers seamlessly talk to the (often ancient) systems used in state Medicaid offices. They need to fend off repeal efforts from congressional Republicans – like Wednesday’s vote to delay the individual mandate – and somehow work with red-state bureaucracies that want to see Obamacare fail. And they can’t escape the fact that the law, three years after passage, remains stubbornly unpopular.

To the Sea by the T

Although Boston has many beaches, all swimmable, many people just go to the Cape and don’t think to try the beaches nearby. This link from BU TODAY, To the Sea by the T has a really cool Map showing the beaches and how to get there via the T for the cost of a subway fare. My favorite is Revere Beach (200 meters from the Blue Line Revere Beach stop), particularly for the National Sand Sculpting Festival that runs July 19-21 in 2013. Most people’s favorite is Nantasket Beach on Hull (best by car, since still a 3.1 mile walk or short taxi from the T).  Bicycling is another option…  Taking the ferry to one of the Boston Harbor Islands is another easy choice.

To the Sea by the T

A guide to MBTA-accessible beaches


National Sand Sculpting Festival

Unbelievable pictures from past sand sculpture contests at Revere Beach.

2012 and 2012




Enjoy Summer!

Useful reference for serious SAS programmers

I often do bootstrap and simulations in my research, and for some background research, I found the following excellent short article on how to use SAS to do efficient replications/bootstrapping/jackknifing.

Paper 183-2007
Don’t Be Loopy: Re-Sampling and Simulation the SAS® Way
David L. Cassell, Design Pathways, Corvallis, OR


Here is an elegant example that shows how to do 1000 replications of the Kurtosis of X. Note that proc univariate could be replaced with anything. Discussion of proc append and critique of alternative programs is also useful.

(I will note that it starts by creating a sample that is 1000 times as large as the original, but still, it is very fast given what is being done.)

proc surveyselect data=YourData out=outboot /* 1 */
seed=30459584 /* 2 */
method=urs /* 3 */
samprate=1 /* 4 */
outhits /* 5 */
rep=1000; /* 6 */
proc univariate data=outboot /* consider noprint option here to reduce output */;
var x;
by Replicate; /* 7 */
output out=outall kurtosis=curt;
proc univariate data=outall;
var curt;
output out=final pctlpts=2.5, 97.5 pctlpre=ci;

31 charts to destroy your faith in humanity

This humorous web site from the Washington Post’s WonkBlog is worth a look. It will only take a couple of minutes.

31 charts that are informative but illustrates how one can put a negative spin on anything.


Here is the original post that it is spoofing.


Congrats to our 570 New Graduates!

I invite you to join me in celebrating our Class of 2013  Department of Economics graduates.

This past weekend, Boston University’s College of Arts and Sciences Department of Economics awarded degrees to

21    PhD students
257 MA students  of all kinds (MA, MAPE, MAEP, MAGDE MA/MBA, BA/MA)
292 BA students

Congratulations to all 570 degree recipients!

The number of graduate degree recipients (278) fell behind the number of  BA students (292) with strong grown in both!

Last year (2012) there were 15 PhDs, 245 MA degree recipients, and 257 BA recipients. Overall, we had a one year growth of over 10%!

Wennberg, Staiger et al on Observational Intensity Bias

This very interesting paper by John Wennberg, Doug Staiger et al develops a new approach for calibrating risk adjustment models so as to not over adjust for the higher intensity of coding that results when there are more visits. In short, in markets where doctors do more visits, they will also tend to code more diagnoses. Their approach takes into account both visits and diagnoses to improve model fit. There are many further questions one could ask, but this is destined to be an influential paper.


NEJM Study Says Eat Olive Oil and Nuts

There has been a lot of news recently about a NEJM randomized trial  Spanish study of diets that shows  statistically significant benefits of two Mediterranean diets, one providing free olive oil, the other providing free nuts (mostly walnuts), along with other diet recommendations.Scientists randomly assigned 7,447 men and women in Spain over age 55 who were overweight, were smokers, or had diabetes or other risk factors for heart disease to follow the Mediterranean diet or a low-fat diet as the control group. Here is the key paragraph from the NY Times.

“One group assigned to a Mediterranean diet was given extra-virgin olive oil each week and was instructed to use at least 4 four tablespoons a day. The other group got a combination of walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts and was instructed to eat about an ounce of the mix each day. An ounce of walnuts, for example, is about a quarter cup — a generous handful.”

The articles in the Times and Post have emphasized that it was the Mediterranean diet, but the following important blog from Dr. Aaron Carroll, highlights that it very likely that the effects were solely due to increased olive oil and nuts, since the three groups do not differ meaningfully in their consumption of other foods (red meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, grains, red wine, etc.).  Hence instead of saying “Go Mediterranean”, it should have said “Eat Olive Oil and Nuts” to reduce heart and stroke risks.

See table linked in this blog.

Now we’re all going Mediterranean?


More work should be done in this area.

Here is the full cite and abstract from the NEJM.

Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease with a Mediterranean Diet

Ramón Estruch, M.D., Ph.D., Emilio Ros, M.D., Ph.D., Jordi Salas-Salvadó, M.D., Ph.D., Maria-Isabel Covas, D.Pharm., Ph.D., Dolores Corella, D.Pharm., Ph.D., Fernando Arós, M.D., Ph.D., Enrique Gómez-Gracia, M.D., Ph.D., Valentina Ruiz-Gutiérrez, Ph.D., Miquel Fiol, M.D., Ph.D., José Lapetra, M.D., Ph.D., Rosa Maria Lamuela-Raventos, D.Pharm., Ph.D., Lluís Serra-Majem, M.D., Ph.D., Xavier Pintó, M.D., Ph.D., Josep Basora, M.D., Ph.D., Miguel Angel Muñoz, M.D., Ph.D., José V. Sorlí, M.D., Ph.D., José Alfredo Martínez, D.Pharm, M.D., Ph.D., and Miguel Angel Martínez-González, M.D., Ph.D. for the PREDIMED Study Investigators

February 25, 2013DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1200303


Abstract: The traditional Mediterranean diet is characterized by a high intake of olive oil, fruit, nuts, vegetables, and cereals; a moderate intake of fish and poultry; a low intake of dairy products, red meat, processed meats, and sweets; and wine in moderation, consumed with meals. In observational cohort studies and a secondary prevention trial (the Lyon Diet Heart Study), increasing adherence to the Mediterranean diet has been consistently beneficial with respect to cardiovascular risk. A systematic review ranked the Mediterranean diet as the most likely dietary model to provide protection against coronary heart disease. Small clinical trials have uncovered plausible biologic mechanisms to explain the salutary effects of this food pattern. We designed a randomized trial to test the efficacy of two Mediterranean diets (one supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil and another with nuts), as compared with a control diet (advice on a low-fat diet), on primary cardiovascular prevention.

Steve Brill Interview on the Daily Show

Steve Brill, who just wrote a 36 page article for Time Magazine, conducted an informative interview on the daily show on Thursday, Feb 21, 2013. Here is the link to the unedited version. It is in three parts, and lasts about 12 minutes (including some ads). Worth watching if you have time.


Myths, Presumptions, and Facts about Obesity

There is a very interesting article about obesity in this week’s New England Journal of Medicine. I recommend it highly to anyone interested in the topic.

K. Casazza and Others | N Engl J Med 2013;368:446-454

To tempt you to look at the full article, here is the list of what the team considers myths.



Small sustained changes in energy intake or expenditure will produce large, long-term weight changes

Setting realistic goals in obesity treatment is important because otherwise patients will become frustrated and lose less weight

Large, rapid weight loss is associated with poorer long-term weight outcomes than is slow, gradual weight loss

Assessing the stage of change or diet readiness is important in helping patients who seek weight-loss treatment

Physical-education classes in their current format play an important role in preventing or reducing childhood obesity

Breast-feeding is protective against obesity

A bout of sexual activity burns 100 to 300 kcal for each person involved


Read the article to learn about “presumptions” and “facts”.

#5 “Let the Children and Grandchildren Pay?”

Time to Change the Tax Discussion #5

This is the  fifth and final posting in a five part series about taxes.

Every time congress passes legislation to increase public spending, they should have to specify which taxes they favor increasing to balance the budget. If not, then congress should have to openly discuss why they believe it is appropriate to LET THE CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN PAY. If every unfunded benefit increase included this selfish labeling of the congressmen who voted for it, perhaps it would make it more stigmatizing to fight unfunded wars, increase discretionary spending (e.g., disaster relief) or resist Medicare payment increases without other spending cuts or tax increases.

Case in point: as I write this blog the House is debating how large the Hurricane Sandy relief fund should be, in the neighborhood of $50 billion ($160 per American). While I favor this expenditure, but I also favor committing to how we will pay for it (even if we only start next year…) This is a large enough expense that Congress should also be committing to the tax increase that will pay for it. For example 1% more income tax on the wealthy, or eliminating one subsidy or tax subsidy would do it. Note that ObamaCare legislation was forced to do this. It is possible.

Almost every Republican in Congress has signed Grover Norquist’s No Tax Pledge not to increase any taxes, ever. This pledge is highly destructive of rational discussion of taxes and deficit reduction. I would be much happier if fiscally conservatives  instead signed a pledge not to increase our budget deficit ( and hence national debt) unless it is specifically part of an economic stimulus to deal with a potential or actual recession. Too often we have cut taxes even in times of a growing economy, effectively pushing onto our children and grandchildren (who do not even vote yet) the burden of paying for our overspending.

Increasing taxes will never be attractive, but why should we LET THE CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN PAY?

Here are links to my four previous blogs on Taxes

#1 All Taxes and Budgets Should be Expressed as Dollars per Person

#2. Include Social Security and Medicare taxes when discussing tax burdens

#3 Tax Bads (or at least don’t subsidize them!)

#4 State Tax Rates are Not Related to State Income or Growth

#5 “Let the Children and Grandchildren Pay?”

#4 State Tax Rates are Not Related to State Income or Growth

Time to Change the Tax Discussion #4

This is the fourth in a five part series about taxes.

It has  become common in the media to argue that state income or sales taxes cannot be increased or it will dampen incentives and hurt the state or local economy. While this might be true at sufficiently high tax rates, there is no evidence that tax rates currently imposed on income or sales by states has any effect on the level or growth rates of the state economy. The following nine plots will let you decide for yourself whether there is any relation between

{Sales tax revenue, income tax revenue, or total state and local government revenue}


{Levels of Gross State Product per Capita, One year changes in Gross State Product (the “recovery”) and Ten year changes in Gross State Product per Capita)

If there is, it is a very weak relationship, not worth worrying about. Instead we should be debating whether we want more or fewer government services relative to private goods.

All data used state-level rates as stored on the  web site http://www.usgovernmentrevenue.com maintained by Christopher Chantrill, self-described “writer and conservative”.



















I intentionally chose a strong title for this blog. My academic colleagues will reasonably argue that sales and income taxes DO have some dampening effect on a state economy. I do not disagree that there is some effect. But these graphs reveal that it is not detectable when it is realized that tax increases are used to pay for public services. For political decision-making, which of the following two statements is more nearly true? I would go with the latter.

Raising sales or income taxes by one percent in order to invest in bridges, public transit and education will have a meaningful negative effect on the state economy.

Raising sales or income taxes by one percent in order to invest in bridges, public transit and education will have a meaningful positive effect on the state economy.

Here are links to the previous three blogs on Taxes

#1 All Taxes and Budgets Should be Expressed as Dollars per Person

#2. Include Social Security and Medicare taxes when discussing tax burdens

#3 Tax Bads (or at least don’t subsidize them!)

#3 Tax Bads (or at least don’t subsidize them!)

Time to Change the Tax Discussion #3

This is the third in a five part series about taxes.

Introductory economics tells us that when the government taxes something, unless it is perfectly inelastically supplied or demanded, the tax will cause a distortion in a market and reduce the taxed activity. For most things (labor, profits, food, etc.) this reduction is considered a bad thing, and causes welfare losses. Yet taxes on BADS (i.e., goods with strong negative externalities) are welfare improving, since they reduce something that you want to reduce anyway.  Almost all economists will agree with this conceptually. Yet politicians and consumers are not forced to confront this reality. Perhaps economists could do a better job holding politicians accountable to this, by speaking out more. Here are six examples from recent policy debates. Why are economists not lining up behind these?

1. Tax the Sale of Guns.

The constitution asserts the right of people to own “arms” but says nothing about them being free or cheap. Econmists should favor taxing the sale of all guns, and even taxing the annual ownership of guns (similar to what we do for cars and housing) because of their large negative externalities. Higher taxes on more dangerous weapons (e.g. assault weapons), would also be appropriate. We could raise several billion dollars a year this way, and even earmark it for the extra medical care and law enforcement made necessary by the widespread ownership of guns. (In theory, I prefer not to earmark revenues, but history shows it is much easier to pass legislation if this is done, such as taxes on cigarettes. Hence in practice I support it.)

2. Tax Carbon

We will never have unanimous agreement that our excess carbon is a major cause of global warning, but we don’t need to believe this unanimously to be willing to act on it. British Columbia (Canada) implemented a carbon tax in 2008 which is raising billions of dollars while nudging people to use less fuel. Look at two recent postings here

Climate Action Through a Tax Swap Describes a currrent initiative in Washington State to implement a state carbon tax. See numerous links within it.

More on BCs carbon tax shift. Posted in 2009 this discusses the reasons for the British Columbia’s tax

3. Remove US Subsidies on Corn and Sugar

It is totally bizarre that at the same that we are thinking of taxing soft drinks for their sugar content, we are still spending billions on subsidizing corn (and hence high fructose corn syrup). US Department of Agriculture numbers show that in 2011 alone we spent 4.9 billion dollars subsidizing corn, which is  $16 per American. Visit the excellent website of  Environmental Working Group, which tracks agricultural subsidies and focus on Corn if you wish.

Remarkably, even farmers in Massachusetts benefit from the corn subsidy:

Corn Subsidies** in Massachusetts totaled $16.8 million from 1995-2011.

That works out to $4 per Massachusetts resident over 17 years. But the Massachusetts subsidy is nothing compared to Iowa which received

14.9 billion dollars ($4,866 per resident, or $286 per Iowa resident per year) over the same period. 2011 is not a particularly large outlier.

For further discussion of the serious problems with our crop insurance program consider this quote about US crop insurance.

“The most stunning evidence of the need to overhaul the current system is Dr. Babcock’s estimate that taxpayers
send $1 dollar to insurance companies and agents for every $1 dollar that goes to farmers.”

Bruce Babcock “Giving It Away free: Free Crop Insurance Can Save Money and Strengthen the Farm Safety Net”
April 2012, (Professor of Economics at Iowa State University)


4. Remove subsidies on US fossil fuel production, consumption, and depletion.

This follows from point #2 above. I know it is hard to do, but so is a Carbon Tax.

The surprising reason that Oil Subsidies Persist: Even Liberals Love them. Forbes, April 25, 2012.

We should not be subsidizing oil, coal and natural gas: 15.1 billion dollars in 2010 ($48 per American in 2010), according to OECD estimates.

5. Tax (more) people who do not purchase health insurance

As a health economist, I had to add at least one health related “bad”.

The Affordable Care Act of 2010 includes provisions for taxing people who choose not to purchase health insurance, as it should, since they impose costs on the rest of us who do by: relying on charity care when they have emergency medical needs, relying on bankruptcy when they have high uninsured costs, and raising average premiums for insurance buyers since the people not buying insurance are on average healthier (and lower cost) than average. Hence this tax will be welfare improving, overall.

I thought about discussing/supporting taxes on obesity, smoking, or alcohol abuse, but see lots of problems with that, even those these are bads, often under the control of consumers.

6. Don’t subsidize war

War is bad, and has a lot of negative externalities. (Yes, there are also some benefits.) In 2013 the US will spend $902 billion  on national defense (excluding police, fire, law and prisons). That is $2863 per American in 2013 alone on “defense”. (Health and Education have mostly positive externalities.)

Brown University researchers maintain a web site on the cost of wars since 9/11

Here is one sobering sentence from a recent press release.

“The war bills already paid and obligated to be paid by the U.S. federal government as of fiscal year 2012 are $3.7 trillion in constant dollars.”

That is $11,746 per US citizen…

There are many more bads that should be taxed and not subsidized, but I will end here.

For related discussion see the earlier blogs

#1 All Taxes and Budgets Should be Expressed as Dollars per Person

#2. Include Social Security and Medicare taxes when discussing tax burdens