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

Wealth defined with real people in mind

Via the Washington Post comes this idea of economic incentive: But research by noted economists Karl Case, John Quigley and Robert Shiller found the households were more powerful affected by declines in wealth than increases. An unexpected 1 percent drop in housing prices caused a permanent 0.1 percent decrease in spending, that study found. But […]

More on Ineffective Fiscal Policy

This is a companion piece to Steve’s AB post from earlier today, where he points out the specious reasoning of  “the likes of Scott Sumner, David Beckworth, Lars Christensen, et al., claiming that fiscal austerity has obviously had no effect on GDP growth.” I wrote Sumner off a few years ago due to a highly […]

Does Steady GDP Growth “Prove” that Market Monetarists Are Right About Ineffective Fiscal Policy and Foolish Keynesianism?

You’re seeing a lot of crowing these days from the likes of Scott Sumner, David Beckworth, Lars Christensen, et al., claiming that fiscal austerity has obviously had no effect on GDP growth. “Look!” they say: “Even with the sequester and all the other government spending cuts, growth in 2013 has been the same as 2012! […]

“Libertarian Koch brothers have taken tens of millions in subsidies UPDATED

The Cato Institute, originally the Charles Koch Foundation, is one of the most influential libertarian think tanks in the country. With both Charles and David Koch on its board of directors, Cato has produced numerous studies on the evils of corporate subsidies (which it calls “corporate welfare“), dating back at least to the 1990s. Supposedly, […]

Why Libs and Cons Should All Love Milton Friedman’s Corporate Tax Proposal

I’m constantly astounded that nobody on the left or the right ever mentions Milton Friedman’s proposal for taxes on corporate profits. On page 174 of (my edition of) Friedman’s libertarian bible Capitalism and Freedom, he proposes what seems a simple and sensible plan (transcription here): …the abolition of the corporate income tax, … with the requirement […]

“Public” Debt and Safe Assets: A View from Space

In my ongoing efforts to clarify national-accounting-speak (for myself and others), I’d like to take a stab at some language that is often used ambiguously: the notion of “public” debt. (See also Thinking About the Fed.) If you don’t think anyone is confused by that term, understand: in “public debt,” “public” means government. In “debt […]

What Reinhart and Rogoff should do now

Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff wrote an angry open letter about how Krugman has been uncivil to them.  Krugman’s reply strikes me as being convincing even devastating. Update: My full fisking here. I want to focus on one sentence in the R&R letter   “politicians may float a citation to an academic paper if it […]

Just What Exactly Do You Mean by “Money,” Buster? #23

I was poking around at the very interesting Divisia measures of money, and came up with the following chart. Update: Spreadsheet error in original graph. Result: this has little to impart. Never mind. Thanks to Mark Sadowski for pointing it out. Which has me, once again, asking monetarists the question in the title of this post. […]