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

A little perspective on the impact that a weaker USD will have on overall economic activity

The Japanese yen, the Eurozone euro, and the British pound have appreciated 16%, 14%, and 9%, against the USD, respectively, since their 2010 lows. Some say that the “US wins” since the Fed’s quantitative easing (QE2) will drive export growth via a weaker dollar. (Note that the Fed has not actually announced QE2, this is […]

A proxy for nominal aggregate demand and payroll growth: Treasury receipts are recovering…

I present an update on aggregate demand using the highest frequency of economic data available, US Treasury tax receipts. Tax receipts serve as a proxy for nominal aggregate demand via a nominal indicator of private payroll growth. US daily Treasury tax receipts are improving. (This chart has been modified since its original posting to enable […]

China’s competitive devaluation

China took the world by surprise on Tuesday by raising bank lending and deposit rates for the first time since 2007. The story is, that restrictive monetary policy (i.e., raising rates) is needed to curb excessive lending, with an eye on mitigating inflation pressures. See this Bloomberg article to the point. While restrictive monetary policy […]

Who’s bringing home the dough?

…Corporations. Since earnings season is now well underway, I decided to look at the breakdown of aggregate domestic income (gross domestic income). Corporate profits are up 44.7% since the outset of the US recovery, while wages and salary accruals are up just 0.9%. The chart above illustrates the peak-trough losses (total loss), trough-Q2 2010 gains […]

Who’s saving where? An application of the 3 Sector Financial Balances Map

Dean Baker finds gaping holes in deficit hawk rhetoric using the simple accounting identity that national saving must equal the current account (S-I = CA). If the domestic private-sector’s desire to save is positive, then the only way for the public sector (i.e., government) to net save is for the economy as a whole to […]

The money quandary

The Federal Reserve, the Bank of England, and the Bank of Japan are considering further quantitative easing. It’s an explicit statement, as with the Federal Reserve and the Bank of England, or implied by the fact that the foreign exchange intervention will eventually be sterilized if the policy rule is not changed, as with the […]

Evaluating the "excess" in the US corporate financial balance

In a NY Times op-ed, Rob Parenteau and Yves Smith reminded us that the private sector financial balance is a function of the household financial balance and the corporate financial balance. They concluded the following regarding excess corporate saving: So instead of pursuing budget retrenchment, policymakers need to create incentives for corporations to reinvest their […]

Private-sector leverage says that it’s not Bill Clinton

What’s your answer? “Thinking about the past few decades… to the best of your knowledge, which ONE of the following U.S. Presidents do you think did the best job of managing the economy?” Bill Clinton Ronald Reagan Barack Obama Lyndon B. Johnson George W. Bush Richard Nixon That’s question #11 of the the Allstate-National Journal […]

Household leverage: what does the US have that the UK does not?

Earlier this week I compared household saving rates across the US, UK, Canada, and Germany. My conclusion was pretty simple: So generally, this simple analysis would suggest that Menzie Chinn’s skepticism of a “status quo” of US consumer imports is worthy. But with the status quo firmly in place in Germany, the household saving data […]