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

Do We Pay Too Much in Taxes?

Bruce Bartlett has been invited to contribute to the National Review: The question is ambiguous because it is not clear whether people are being asked about the effective rate of taxation (taxes as a share of income) or the marginal rate of taxation (that which applies to the last dollar earned). But either way, taxes […]

Milton Friedman on Sarbanes-Oxley

Phil Kerpen & Mallory Factor attack the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation citing two sources: The staggering costs of Sarbox bear repeating. An analysis by Sarbanes-Oxley Ivy Xiying Zhang of the University of Rochester measured the total stock market impact of the law, and found that it has cost over $1 trillion, with a “T.” About a third […]

The FED’s Year 2000 Transcripts

After reading the recently released FOMC transcripts from the year 2000, Dr. Altig laments on The Woes Of Making Policy In Real Time. Dr. Altig also provides excerpts of Greg Ip’s FOMC transcript summary from the WSJ. In 2000, as the economy slowed from the booming ’90s, the Federal Reserve, for the most part, missed […]

Tax Revenues Are Surging and More Economic Spin

Secretary Snow testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Treasury, and Housing and Urban Development, the Judiciary on Wednesday: The economic indicators since the President signed the Jobs and Growth Act in May 2003 provide validity to this notion. Since that time, we have seen eleven straight months of positive business investment; nearly five […]

Reading the Yield Curve Tea Leaves

Jim Hamilton covers a recent paper by Fed economist Jonathan Wright addressing exactly the question that I posed the other day: were interest rates more or less contractionary two months ago, when the yield curve was flat or slightly inverted but at lower interest rates, or today, when the yield curve is no longer inverted […]

The Jobs Picture

As PGL notes, there was good news on the employment front this morning. The US economy continues to enjoy a respectable, though not spectacular, rate of job growth. Here’s the picture: For the past several months now the economy has generated more than the 125,000 to 150,000 new jobs needed each month to simply keep […]

Does the Earned Income Tax Credit Create Disincentives?

Mickey Kaus thinks so: Earned Income Tax Credit does send cash to low income earners, but again you need to earn at least some money to get it. And it’s already pretty big. We probably can’t increase it much higher without running into cost and disincentive problems when the credit is phased out in the […]

Housing: Construction Spending Up, Sales Down

The Census Bureau reported a sharp rise in U.S. construction spending in February led by private residential construction spending. Private residential spending increased to a record $665.7 Billion in February (SA, annual rate), 1.3% above the revised January estimate. The first graph shows private U.S. construction spending for single family homes since 1993. All numbers […]

Snow Must Go

It seems that Josh Bolton and I agree on one thing – but for very different reasons. We both want John Snow to resign from the position of Treasury Secretary: Joshua Bolten, the incoming White House chief of staff, wants Treasury Secretary John Snow replaced with someone who can present the administration’s message more forcefully […]