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

New Deal democrats Weekly Indicators for February 12-16 2024

Weekly Indicators for February 12 – 16 at Seeking Alpha  – by New Deal democrat I am back from my travels, so it’s time to catch up. There’s no significant economic news until tomorrow, but in the meantime I neglected to link to my weekly high frequency indicator wrap-up, which was posted at Seeking Alpha. As usual, […]

Some USPS History and the Latest

Some history While debating the original Post Office Act, Alexander Hamilton and others argued the post should support itself and make money for the rest of the government. Others, including George Washington and James Madison, didn’t seem to care whether it turned a profit. Jonathan Trumbull, the speaker of the House of Representatives in 1792, observed that […]

No Longer Right to Work

We were living in Michigan when Engler and the Republican Legislature passed Right to Work Laws. The effort was meant to undercut Unions and saving costs for the Big Three automakers. Supposedly cars would be lower in costs to with the reductions reflected in prices to consumers. Never happened. Michigan reversed Right to Work Laws […]

Who do you work for?

Who do you work for? The one-handed economist, David Zetland Economists assume that people work for themselves first, i.e., accepting payment (extrinsic motivation) to do something they would not do if they were not paid. But that “model” ignores the role of intrinsic motivation (we do what we like) which plays a role — large or small — […]

Retail sales faceplant; industrial production continues 16-month streak of weakness

Retail sales faceplant; industrial production continues 16-month streak of weakness – by New Deal democrat Let’s take a look at two the big short leading and coincident indicators that were reported yesterday, respectively real retail sales and inducatrial production. Retail sales can be volatile monthly, and about once in a typical year they either faceplant or […]

Housing construction essentially stable in January

Housing construction essentially stable in January  – by New Deal democrat I’m on the road, so I need to keep this brief, but fortunately I can give you the essence of this most important housing report with little difficulty. Mortgage rates have declined about 1% from their peak during the autumn, and are about equal to […]

John Maynard Keynes Doesn’t Seem to Know What He Means by the Word “Spending”

Is investment spending “spending,” or isn’t it? Steve Roth (@ Wealth Economics) J.M. Keynes’ brief Preface to the French edition of General Theory is sometimes held up as the most concise, cogent, and coherent expression of his economic understandings. It achieves that, but in doing so it also reveals a core incoherence in that thinking. An obligatory nod here […]

Initial jobless claims remain positive

Initial claims remain positive  – by New Deal democrat Initial jobless claims declined this week -8,000 to 212,000. The four week average rose 5,750 to 218,250. With the typical one-week lag, continuing claims rose 30,000 to 1.865 million: On the more important (for forecasting purposes) YoY basis, initial claims are down -1.9%. The four week […]

Social Security has Nothing to Do with Debt or Deficits

Dale Coberly lead-in to his discussion on Social Security is something which has been debated back and forth by politicians, those who wish to cut it, those who seek to end it, and those who have done all of the above such as Andrew Biggs. Social Security for the today’s elderly and those who will […]

Dems Slam Social Security Board Nominee Over History of Supporting Benefit Cuts

Andrew Biggs knows small incremental increases in SS withholding would resolve any shortfall. The plan presented by Dale Coberly is such and it was agreed up by the Social Security administration as workable. This has been a long running back and forth with Andrew Biggs whose only plan is cuts in Social Security and its […]