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

The Messenger Again Wears A Skirt

op-ed by Run “The Messenger Again Wears A Skirt (Mama Tucker on Brooksley Born)” Taking a page from his former boss and mentor Larry Summers, Geithner behind closed doors has expressed opposition to Dr. Elizabeth Warren heading up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as reported by The Huffington Post. For those of you who may […]

Inflation Detour: Trimmed Mean PCE

Today’s release by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas of October’s Trimmed Mean Personal Consumption Expenditure gives us a chance to check this “alternative measure of core inflation.” The clearest thing is that it does what the FRB Dallas intends: generally reduces the measure of inflation: For the graphic above, any value above the line […]

UAW responds to Senate Republicans

rdan The Detroit Free Press carries this statement: “The UAW is deeply disappointed that Senate Republicans have blocked the bipartisan legislation that was agreed to by President Bush and congressional Democrats. “In an effort to work out a compromise, the UAW was prepared to agree that any restructuring plan should ensure that the wages and […]

Auto companies need a "What next"

rdan The AP reports that the 15 billion is not available to the auto companies: Their efforts in Congress squashed, U.S. automakers are depending upon a reluctant White House to quickly provide a multibillion lifeline to help them avoid imminent collapse. General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC, which have said they could run out of […]

Recession Indicators

The NBER committee that officially determines the dates for recessions has a few favorite, or key indicators that it gives much more weight. One of the indicators is real manufacturing and trade sales. Not many people pay much attention to it because it does not have its own press release and wall street traders do […]

The FED’s Year 2000 Transcripts

After reading the recently released FOMC transcripts from the year 2000, Dr. Altig laments on The Woes Of Making Policy In Real Time. Dr. Altig also provides excerpts of Greg Ip’s FOMC transcript summary from the WSJ. In 2000, as the economy slowed from the booming ’90s, the Federal Reserve, for the most part, missed […]

LeakGate: Clift & Schneider Get It – Toobin Does Not

Lou Dobbs covered the big news on April 6 by inviting Bill Schneider to comment and Mr. Schneider did well. Alas, his time was shared with Jeffrey Toobin who is too lost in legal babble to get the big picture. First, Schneider’s comments: Well, for the very reason David Ensor just gave, that the president […]

The State of American Household Finances

The Washington Post gives us a nice reminder today: Meet the typical American family. It has about $3,800 in the bank. No one has a retirement account, and the neighbors who do only have about $35,000 in theirs. Mutual funds? Stocks? Bonds? Nope. The house is worth $160,000, but the family owes $95,000 on it […]

The Equity Premium

Brad DeLong shares his lecture notes on the equity premium: There is, somewhere, a marginal investor: somebody just about indifferent between stocks and bonds. If the expected return to stocks were a little higher, he or she would move more money to stocks. If the extra risk associated with holding stocks were a little lower, […]

Refinery Capacity and Gasoline Prices

As I was reading the Economic Report of the President, I figured it was time to revisit the issue of gasoline prices and the role played by refinery margins. Our graph shows the retail price per gallon relative to the consumer price index (January 2006 = 1.00) from January 2000 – when the real gasoline […]