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

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 […]

Declining Real Income

Kash notes that this week’s Econoblog addressed income inequality, which has been rising over the past couple of decades: Russell is right that absolute standards of living matter. But I think that he failed to address Boushey’s point (which is fairly widely accepted by economists) that relative success matters to people, too. Understanding the causes […]

Income Inequality

This week’s Econoblog from the WSJ is about income inequality. Heather Boushey is alarmed by the rise in inequality over the past couple of decades: Over the past 30 years, we have seen inequality rise along all three dimensions — wages, incomes and wealth — and it shows no signs of slowing. As a result, […]

Bush v. Reagan on the Size of Government

Let me just add my two cents to what PGL just wrote about whether Reagan was really a small-government conservative, and to what degree Bush has betrayed that legacy. To start with, let me repost a picture that I like from an old post entitled “Spending Growth in Context“: Firstly, I would agree that Reagan […]

Do Americans Want a Free Lunch (National Review’s Continuing Nonsense Regarding Taxes)

Mallory Factor condones political pandering over leadership: Americans do not want higher taxes … Most Democrats in Congress are ignoring the two-thirds of their constituents who want tax rates to stay where they are, voting consistently to raise taxes and using the procedural mechanism of the filibuster to keep automatic rate hikes looming over American […]

Comparative Advantage and Chinese Apples

Brad Setser objects to the following from Sebastian Mallaby: There’s a powerful reason for China’s recalcitrance. The country’s technocrats were convinced years ago that revaluation made economic sense. But revaluation would cut the price of food imports, depressing earnings of Chinese farmers. Faced with simmering discontent among rural Chinese who have been left behind by […]

M3 Death Watch

The “M3” measure of money is almost gone. At least, it’s probably almost gone. Its last publication is due to happen on March 23, which means that M3-related reporting requirements for financial firms end this week. However, there remains an outside chance that Congressional interference could yet scuttle the Fed’s plan to terminate the M3 […]

George Will’s Impoverished Education as to the Causes of Poverty

George Will has decided the former Senator John Edwards has an old paradigm of what causes poverty in America: Edwards has a 1930s paradigm of poverty: Poor people are like everyone else; they just lack goods and services (housing, transportation, training, etc.) that government knows how to deliver. Hence he calls for a higher minimum […]

J. C. Watts Explaining the 2001 Tax Cut – While Robert Rubin Trumps Dick Cheney

I wanted to follow-up on a couple of aspects as to my post noting Dick Cheney hoping people would save more. First of all – one of our readers is now saying Bush and his allies never said that the Administration wanted to give people their money back so they could consume more. Yes – […]

Rising Long-Term Interest Rates

The 10-year bond is yielding over 4.7% this morning. That’s the highest long-term interest rate anytime in the past year: Note: 10-year interest rate expressed in tenths of a percentage point, so “47” indicates 4.7%, etc. Interest rates were higher for a few weeks during May and June of 2004, but other than that one […]