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

Housing permits and starts plummet in April, but mortgage applications suggest big rebound in May

by New Deal democrat Housing permits and starts plummet in April, but mortgage applications suggest big rebound in May At some point it is going to be safe for the economy to be completely reopened. When that point comes it would be nice if the leading sectors of the economy have already been priming the […]

Economy’s Role

by Ken Melvin Economy’s Role Economy: An Economy is a social entity’s aggregate activity of producing and exchanging goods and services. To date, a large body of knowledge about how economies work has been accumulated; a body of knowledge known as the science of economics. In a Well Functioning Economy, the requisite goods and services are […]

Four Days On, Ten Days Off

A very interesting paper (not peer-reviewed) by a team of Israeli scholars proposes that a more manageable exit from pandemic lockdown might be achieved by implementing a scheme in which employees go in to work for four days and then return to isolation for ten days before repeating the cycle. A variation on the proposal […]

THE Important Graphic from April’s Unemployment Report

What happens when you downsize a large number of people? Well, it depends on the cohort downsized. In this case, Figure 1 That’s correct; Average Hourly Earnings skyrocketed from $28.67 to $30.01: up $1.34. For context, that one-month change matches the average hourly earnings growth from September/October of 2018 until March of this year–18 months […]

Will Labor and Capitalism Survive the Current Republican Party?

On April 20th Georgia Governor Kemp called for “reopening more of the state’s economy to minimize the ‘terrible impact of Covid-19 on public health and the pocketbook.’” It would apply to certain non-essential businesses. Kemp, who was later told by Trump it was too early to reopen Georgia’s economy, was following Trump’s lead to begin […]

Conservative rhetoric, COVID-19, and Lockdown Socialism

Arnold Kling has a recent post up on “Lockdown Socialism”: I’ve seen headlines about polls showing that people are afraid of restrictions being lifted too soon. To me, it sounds as if they prefer what I call Lockdown Socialism. Under Lockdown Socialism: –you can stay in your residence, but paying rent or paying your mortgage […]

Real options and social distancing

I missed this when it first came out: We think that the debate regarding extreme social distancing has a clear verdict — it is imperative that we should engage in this social distancing (shelter in place for all but essential workers) at least for the foreseeable short-term, but for reasons that both sides have missed. Our […]

Quick take on the Payroll Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act

The House yesterday approved the Payroll Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act.  The PPP part of the law quite literally just increases the amount of money allocated to the program.  That’s it.  The law does almost nothing to fix the serious defects of the program in the original CARES act.  This is remarkable because […]