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

Desirable incentive effects of income taxation V

Fifth and last. Not relevant to the USA. Back in the day when US unions weren’t totally feeble, MacDonald and Solow wrote a brilliant paper on collective bargaining and tax based incomes policy. Imagine a world in which firms must negotiation with unions (for example imagine Europe). The unions have two aims — they want […]

A detailed, updated look at the housing market

A detailed, updated look at the housing market Existing home sales for December were reported this morning at 6.76 million annualized, just below the October 10 Year+ high of 6.86 million. Although existing home sales are about 90% of the entire housing market, they are less important economically than new housing construction, which has multiplier […]

Initial jobless claims: still elevated compared with several months ago, another negative jobs report for January a possibility

Initial jobless claims: still elevated compared with several months ago, another negative jobs report for January a possibility Initial jobless claims this week came within a hair of meeting my criteria for a change to an upward trend.  On a unadjusted basis, new jobless claims declined by 151,303 to 960,668. Seasonally adjusted claims also declined […]

NFIB small business optimism vs. reality

(Better late than never…Dan) This is a really slow news week – on the economy!  My retrospective on the Trump Presidency is nearly complete and will be published tomorrow morning. In the meantime, here is a brief note on the Small Business Optimism index which was updated for December last week, showing a steep decline […]

Debt and Taxes III

I don’t know if I should try to make my contributions to AngryBear a noahpinion sub substack or if I should put this over at my personal blog, but I am always stimulated by Noah’s posts . His most recent “No one knows how much the government can borrow” is on a topic I’ve mentioned […]

“Those who cannot see must feel:” a retrospective on the Trump presidency

Four years ago I wrote “Those Who Cannot See Must Feel,” which is the (quote)“translation of an old German saying that I used to hear from my grandmother when I misbehaved.  It is pretty clear that, over the next four years, the American public is going to do a lot of feeling .…  The results […]

Good news (industrial production) and bad news (retail sales)

Good news (industrial production) and bad news (retail sales) This morning’s two reports on industrial production and retail sales for December were a case of good news and bad news. Let’s do the good news first. Industrial production, the King of Coincident Indicators, rose 1.6% in December. The manufacturing component rose by 1.0%. Needless to […]

Debt and Taxes I

There might be such a thing as a free lunch. There will soon be a Democrat in the White House and Republicans will soon rediscover their hatred of deficits (which were no problem when they were cutting taxes on firms and rich individuals). We are going to read a lot of arguments about irresponsibly burdening […]