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

Entitlement Spending Increases

Peggy Noonan is shocked that President Bush is not fiscally responsible. As she still worships St. Ronald Reagan, Ms. Noonan is not about the blame the tax cuts: This week’s column is a question, a brief one addressed with honest curiosity to Republicans. It is: When George W. Bush first came on the scene in […]

Inflation Data

This morning’s release of consumer price inflation data for February by the BLS indicates that, for yet another month at least, any inflation pressures caused by last year’s sharp rise in energy prices has not been passed on into the prices of other goods. The inflation rate faced by consumers for things other than food […]

Neither Fiscal Restraint Nor National Security

Two of the most dishonest expressions among George Bush’s standard rants are “giving you your money back” and “priorities”. How else would one explain the following two stories. The AP reports: In both the House and Senate, Democrats have long pushed for more money for ports only to have the Republican-controlled Congress reject their efforts, […]

BLS Report on the Tepid Pace of Job Creation

The abstract of Job Flows and the Recent Business Cycle: Not All ‘Recoveries’ Are Created Equal by R. Jason Faberman reads: The last two economic downturns are notable for their slow labor market recoveries. Yet, the behavior of their underlying gross job flows is quite different. The 1990-92 period had a relatively slow decline in […]

Shifts in Advertising Revenues

Yesterday I heard a story on NPR’s Morning Edition that set me to wondering. The central point of the story was that newspapers (particularly local papers) are facing an increasingly difficult time, because their ad revenues are declining as more people get their news from the internet instead of from a traditional newspaper. Newspapers can […]

Monopoly Power Implies a Good is Not Important?

Mark Thoma reads John Tamny so we don’t have to. Tamny writes: What seemingly is missed every time the anti-trust crowd gets in a froth over a proposed merger is the nature of profits. If anything, consumers should hope that companies succeed in achieving monopoly profits. Large profits by definition speak to an unmet market […]

Borrowing and Spending

In the news today, there is new data about US borrowing from abroad, and retail spending at home. First the borrowing: U.S. current account widens to record WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — The U.S. current account deficit widened by 21.3% to a record $224.9 billion in the fourth quarter, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. The deficit amounted […]

The Phillips Curve: Bernanke v. Kudlow

Lawrence Kudlow once again is guilty of either stupidity or mendacity (or both) as misrepresents a speech by Ben Bernanke: It’s always amazing to listen to conventional demand-side economic pundits and mainstream reporters who try as hard as they can to minimize the excellent performance of the American economy ever since lower marginal tax-rate incentives […]

Sully v. the Shrill One on Fiscal Policy

Andrew Sullivan attacks Paul Krugman (hat tip to Mark Thoma) in such an utterly disingenuous way that is receiving some well deserved scorn. Krugman writes: According to this view, if you’re a former Bush supporter who now says, as Mr. Bartlett did at the Cato event, that “the administration lies about budget numbers,” you’re a […]

Higher Unemployment as Good News

The Employment Situation Summary for February shows that nonfarm payroll employment grew by 243,000 – so why did the unemployment rate rise to 4.8%? The Household Survey indicated a 183,000 increase in employment, which meant that the employment to population ratio remained at 62.9%. The civilian labor force grew by 335,000, which bumped the labor […]