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

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 […]

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 […]

The State of American Household Finances

The Washington Post gives us a nice reminder today: Meet the typical American family. It has about $3,800 in the bank. No one has a retirement account, and the neighbors who do only have about $35,000 in theirs. Mutual funds? Stocks? Bonds? Nope. The house is worth $160,000, but the family owes $95,000 on it […]

The Equity Premium

Brad DeLong shares his lecture notes on the equity premium: There is, somewhere, a marginal investor: somebody just about indifferent between stocks and bonds. If the expected return to stocks were a little higher, he or she would move more money to stocks. If the extra risk associated with holding stocks were a little lower, […]

Bush v. Cheney on Consumption and Savings

As I was reading another gem from Brad Setser on the Dark Matter controversy (Brad links to a very nice paper by Carol Corrado, Charles Hutten, and Daniel Sichel that shows the investment/GDP ratio has declined even if one included investment in intangible capital), one of his readers points out an AP story where Dick […]

Refinery Capacity and Gasoline Prices

As I was reading the Economic Report of the President, I figured it was time to revisit the issue of gasoline prices and the role played by refinery margins. Our graph shows the retail price per gallon relative to the consumer price index (January 2006 = 1.00) from January 2000 – when the real gasoline […]