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

Current Account Deficit Sustainability

As I mentioned in a brief post last week, the BEA has released the most recent figures for the US current account (CA) deficit, which suggests that the CA deficit for the year will be in the neighborhood of 6.5% of GDP. Yesterday, Brad DeLong continued his excellent ruminations on the sustainability of this amount […]

Barriers to Eating Kobe Beef

One normally thinks of American exports of beef to Japan. Japan has decided to cease purchases of American beef with a mad cow scare being their excuse for trade protection. It turns out I had enjoyed a meal this weekend with Kobe beef not even thinking about where it came from. And now we learn […]

Frist Sale of HCA Stock: Conflict of Interest or Insider Trading?

The Tennessean reports the facts: Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist sold his stock in HCA Inc., the Nashville-based hospital chain his family founded, shortly before the stock took almost a 9% dive in mid-July. The sale helps minimize allegations that he has a conflict of interest on health-care issues as he considers a run for […]

Someone Should Give the Heritage Foundation a Copy of the General Theory

Max Sawicky reads the latest from the Heritage Foundation and is very kind: Tax increases (actually, preventing scheduled phase-out of tax cuts, but no matter) are contractionary. People have less money to spend, less employment results. Government spending cuts are expansionary. People have less money to spend, and more employment results. I have to say […]

GOP Fiscal Arithmetic

It would seem that certain House conservatives read the memo from Kash: WASHINGTON, Sept. 20 – Conservative House Republicans plan to recommend on Wednesday more than $500 billion in savings over 10 years to compensate for the costs of Hurricane Katrina as lawmakers continue to struggle to develop a consensus on the fiscal approach to […]

Memo to Congress

Dear Congressional Republicans, I hear that you’re having difficulties in figuring out how to pay for the $100-$200 billion in new government spending that the President has effectively committed you to come up with. Apparently the President hasn’t offered any suggestions to help you, which is probably what prompted Senator Burns (R-MT) to plead with […]

NYC Police Suppress Cindy Sheehan’s Right to Free Speech

How is this allowed in the United States? NEW YORK (AP) – Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan said Tuesday she was hurt slightly in a scuffle that erupted when police broke up a rally as she was at the microphone. An organizer was arrested and charged with using a loudspeaker without a permit. “I was speaking […]

Scott McClellan on Poverty: “Failed Policies of the Past”

The President’s press secretary was pressed on the issue of poverty yesterday. As usual with this Administration, they pat themselves on the back as they blame Bill Clinton: The policies that this President has pursued are bold ones and they are ones that are achieving real results for all Americans. The President, from day one, […]

Arithmetic & the Clinton–Conservative View of How to Fund Katrina Relief

CNN notes: WASHINGTON (CNN) – Since the president prefers not to raise taxes to finance Hurricane Katrina recovery, three senators suggested Sunday that Congress cut spending, delay a Medicare prescription benefit and forego a tax cut for the rich. Senate Democrat Joe Biden from Delaware suggested sacrificing a cut in estate taxes, and Republicans Lindsey […]

The Debtor Society

How can the US aspire to an “Ownership Society”, when in reality the nation is mortgaging its future, or in the words of Warren Buffett, becoming a “Sharecropper’s Society.”? And how can the US revel in slightly above trend GDP growth that comes at the expense of massive quantities of new consumer and government debt? […]