Earlier this month, a landmark study in Nature made headlines around the world. Rising temperatures from global warming increase the number of heat deaths, now causing a third of all heat deaths, or about 100,000 deaths per year.
Obviously, this is a powerful narrative to justify urgent climate policies.
But the study left out glaring truths that even its own authors have abundantly documented. Heat deaths are declining in countries with good data, likely because of ever more air conditioning. This is abundantly clear for the US, which has seen increasing hot days since 1960 affecting a much greater population. Yet, the number of heat deaths has halved. So while global warming could result in more heat deaths, technological development in, for instance, the US, is actually resulting in fewer heat deaths.
Main Comments • Stabilization goal is reasonable to consider • However, public sector’s approach to funding with risk assets creates additional issues for this type of debt (unfunded pension liabilities) relative to government bonds • Instability due to market risk isn’t in the model, because the model is deterministic: no distribution of possible outcomes ➢ Higher expected return you target, the greater the distribution of outcomes • Only meaningful scenario is r=d=0% → fiscal adjustment is 14.9% of payroll vs. current 29%. So a 51% increase. ➢ I will provide some reasons I think this might still be too low
A current example of California’s bipartisan capitulation to public employees is OPEB—formally, “Other Post-Employment Benefits”—chiefly, health insurance for retired employees and their dependents costing the state $10 billion per year. Those benefits are provided even when the retiree or dependent has another job that offers insurance, is covered by Medicare, or is entitled to premium support from the Affordable Care Act.
No other state in America showers such subsidies on retired employees, who are already entitled to the highest pensions in the land. But both parties have been obstacles to OPEB reform because both fear retribution from government employee unions. If you have any doubt about that, check out donations to legislators on both sides of the aisle.
Author(s): David Crane
Publication Date: 12 March 2021
Publication Site: Hoover Institution at Stanford University
Indeed, Brainard writes, “If, in the future, inflation rises immoderately or persistently above target, and there is evidence that longer-term inflation expectations are moving above our longer-run goal, I would not hesitate to act and believe we have the tools to carefully guide inflation down to target.” It matters that people believe this, even if the actions cause immense short-term pain. Do people still believe the Fed has that will? Do people believe that the Treasury Department and Congress have the parallel will to take fiscal steps to contain inflation if it should come?
Does the Fed really have the tools to do it? I am doubtful. For ten years, interest rates were zero. (Interest rates were either too high or too low, depending on your view of things, but stuck at zero in any case.) For ten years, the Fed ran massive quantitative easing after quantitative easing. Inflation just sailed along slightly below 2 percent. This episode suggests the Fed has a lot less power than it thinks. But that is also a cheery view, as if the Fed’s interest-rate and bond-purchase tools are relatively powerless, then not much of what the Fed is doing will cause inflation either. In the current economy, fiscal policy and fiscal anchoring seem the greater danger to inflation than even the monetary mistakes of the 1970s.