Bill Styring

Bill
Styring

Styring is an economist.

Full Biography

Styring is an economist.

Full Biography

January 6, 2015 2:55 PM 30 Comments

Merry Christmas from property rights: $2.00 gas

My old Buick swizzled up a full tank today.  It was the return of the $20 fillup.  Gas at two bucks. The world is awash in U. S. oil.  Thanks to fracking. But mainly due to property rights.  In the U. S., property owners own mineral rights on their land.  Ain’t so in most of the rest of the world.  Governments there own subsurface mineral rights.  Technology–hydraulic fracturing or “tracking”– could unlock carbon fuel in…

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December 12, 2014 8:05 PM 7 Comments

Clock ticks soon on the “Iron Law of Presidential Elections”

Political scientists have made whole careers concocting models to “predict” (or “explain”) election outcomes, particularly presidential elections.  Some of these are quite elaborate.  Sixty or seventy variables.  Everything from demographics, economics, electoral college maps, etc.  About the only thing that hasn’t  been modeled is the cube root of the cod catch in the Bay of Biscay (lagged by a year).  And somewhere there probably is a grad student writing his doctoral dissertation on the “Fish…

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December 7, 2014 9:25 PM 2 Comments

Eric Garner, John Hancock would have been a soul mate

Eric Garner’s death while being arrested by New York city police and the subsequent decision by a Staten Island grand jury to return no indictment against the police has reignited protests around the country.   The Justice Department is investigating whether Mr. Garner’s civil rights might have been violated. I don’t intend here to speculate about the circumstances of Mr. Garner’s death.  I’ll leave that to others with more knowledge of the circumstances surrounding the…

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November 28, 2014 3:41 PM

In Memoriam: Annette “Polly” Williams

I just learned that Annette “Polly” Williams recently died.  That name probably means nothing to you.  Polly Williams as much as anyone (in my opinion, more than anyone) is responsible for the success of school choice in Indiana. A strange accomplishment for a black state representative from Milwaukee. Here’s how Polly fits in.  In the latter 1980’s I was the guy in charge of education policy for the Indiana Chamber of Commerce.  The economist in…

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November 26, 2014 9:08 PM

Rioting, Mainly for Fun and Profit

Edward C. Banfield, a tenured Harvard sociology prof, took his professional life in his hands back in 1968. He wrote a book: The Unheavenly City.  Some few of us recall that book hit the press during riots in Los Angeles, Detroit, Washington, D. C. and elsewhere. Banfield analyzed why our cities were then close to being taken over by mobs.  (Banfield was quite sympathetic to the plight of black Americans). What might Banfield have said about…

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November 18, 2014 6:20 AM 12 Comments

Jonathan Gruber, my intellectual twin brother

(Had I been asked to craft Obamacare, an event about as unlikely as all of us being killed in the next five minutes by an undetected asteroid colliding with Earth, here would have been my advice.  You will note it is remarkably similar to what caused Professor Jonathan Gruber to gain so much recent notoriety). President Barack H. Obama The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Washington, D. C. Dear Mr. President: I am indeed flattered…

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November 7, 2014 8:25 PM 3 Comments

Obamacare: Round # I’ve lost count

Come January, Republicans will control both houses of Congress.  Everyone knows they will send a symbolic repeal of Obamacare to the President.  Everyone knows he will duly veto it.  Everyone also knows the 2/3 majorities to override a veto will not be there. And then the Republicans will do…what?  Repealing the “individual mandate” (everyone must have health insurance or pay a hefty fine, redefined in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius as a “tax”)…

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October 17, 2014 1:07 PM 6 Comments

Markets work: Friedman’s smart parrot

Milton Friedman once quipped that if he could teach a parrot to say nothing more than “Supply and Demand, Awwk-Whee-Hoo!” said parrot would be smarter than 99% of the politicians. Markets work.  Some work faster than others, and most are constantly under- or overshooting their equilibriums.  But markets work better than the alternative of politically dictated prices, price ceilings, and price floors (minimum wages, Federal Reserve “zero interest rates”, agricultural price supports, rent controls, and…

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October 13, 2014 12:24 PM 11 Comments

TIFs and tats: Carmel’s decision

Carmel, Indiana, Land of Roundabouts, where vicious rumor has it that only the filthy rich live, has a decision to make. Is the financial house of cards built in pursuit of a “world class edge city” going to play out to its unhappy end?  Or will Mayor Jim Brainard’s mantra of Carmel-can-afford-anything finally hear a resounding “No, we can’t!!” A developer, Pedcor, wants yet one more Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district complete with TIF bonds…

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October 6, 2014 8:25 PM 1 Comment

Indiana’s open secret weapon

It’s October, and that means Indiana is gearing up its unsecret weapon: the state revenue forecast. Revenue forecast?  A weapon?  You bet it is.  It tells the legislature how much income they can expect to have and spend. (A common assertion is that Indiana must constitutionally have an annually balanced budget.  Not so. The Constitution only says Indiana cannot borrow on its full faith and credit except for things like suppressing insurrection or repelling invasion…

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