Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

Real retail sales disappoints . . . the Doomers

Real retail sales disappoints . . . the Doomers This morning’s report on July retail sales once again belies the claim that “hard data” and “soft data” are divergent.. Not only did July come in at a strong +0.6% (+0.5% ex-autos), but June was revised up as well. Given basically non-existent inflation, this means that […]

One tiny little ray of hope

One tiny little ray of hope After the Charlottesville, VA white supremacy violence, and his failure to explicitly condemn it, Donald Trump’s Gallup approval rating has fallen to a new low of 34%, and his disapproval to a new high of 61%: This puts him below the lowest ratings during their entire term of Lyndon […]

“The Changing of the Guard:” the prescient 1980 book that foretold neoliberalism

“The Changing of the Guard:” the prescient 1980 book that foretold neoliberalism About a month ago I read the synopsis of an interview in which Thomas Frank described the near evisceration of the Democratic Party.  Here’s his simple version: “[T]he Democrats have, what happened is that some years ago they decided they didn’t want to […]

In which I (partially) disagree with Dean Baker about the stock market

In which I (partially) disagree with Dean Baker about the stock market Dean Baker complained yesterday about pundits who talk about the stock market in terms of economic well-being: As someone who routinely considers both corporate profits and stock prices in terms of economic well-being, I disagree — somewhat.

On JOLTS, I continue to dissent

On JOLTS, I continue to dissent The only two significant items of data in the second week of the month typically had been the JOLTS report and the Labor Market Conditions Index. I say, “had been” because the Fed has discontinued reporting the LMCI.  Here’s their explanation: Although the LMCI was reconstructed back 50 years, […]

July jobs report: across the board solid

July jobs report: across the board solid HEADLINES: +209,000 jobs added U3 unemployment rate down -0.1% from 4.4% to 4.3% U6 underemployment rate unchanged 8.6% Here are the headlines on wages and the chronic heightened underemployment: Wages and participation rates Not in Labor Force, but Want a Job Now: down -11,000 from 5.431 million to […]

Rasmussen poll shows GOP losing midterms in a wave

Rasmussen poll shows GOP losing midterms in a wave I like K.I.S.S. methods, and I have decided that the easiest K.I.S.S. guide to the midterm elections is likely to be Rasmussen’s “net strong disapproval” spread.  The theory is that while voters who even weakly approve or disapprove of a President are likely to come out […]

Apartment vacancy rate improves, but “rental affordability crisis” at worst level ever

Apartment vacancy rate improves, but “rental affordability crisis” at worst level ever Over three years ago HUD warned of “the worst rental affordability crisis ever,” citing statistics that About half of renters spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent, up from 18 percent a decade ago, according to newly released research by […]

LOOK AT THE BIG DIVERGENCE BETWEEN “SOFT” AND “HARD” DATA … Ummm ..never mind….

LOOK AT THE BIG DIVERGENCE BETWEEN “SOFT” AND “HARD” DATA … Ummm ..never mind…. Since this year the Doomers haven’t even been able to rouse themselves up enough to call for OMG recession imminent!!!, they have had to settle for how slow the growth in the economy has been.  Their favorite theme has been the […]

Of the two meanings of “Neoliberalism”

Of the two meanings of “Neoliberalism” The use of the term “neoliberal” has recently been criticized as a meaningless epithet, a tabula rasa used to disparage anyone deemed unsatisfactorily conservative. To the contrary, I think the term “neoliberal” is fairly precise, but much like the term “liberal” itself, it has two quite different meanings depending […]