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

Excuses Are Not Substitutes for Action

People needed help on Tuesday not this weekend. Help was slow in coming and criticism of our government was well deserved. Yet, folks like David Frum “criticize the criticism”, which for those who may have forget was what the Taliban spokesperson whined after 9/11. Maybe you don’t agree with me that David Frum has zero […]

A Colossal Failure of Leadership

We awaked this Saturday to see the good news – help has arrived to New Orleans. Eleanor Clift provides one explanation of why it took so long for the Federal government to get its act together: This has been a colossal failure of government. President Bush spent Tuesday, the day after Katrina struck, at a […]

Is Greenspan a Socialist?

The NRO econopundits are contradicting themselves once again on monetary policy. While Victor Canto is arguing for a commodity price rule, John Tamny seems upset that the market does not decide the money supply. And the funny part is that these two probably don’t even understand that their positions are inconsistent.

Highlighting Philosophical Differences

Yet another thing that Katrina has done this week is to highlight some stark differences in what people believe about the world and the appropriate role for government. That’s because Katrina has grimly reminded us of this fact of life: sometimes bad things happen to good people, through no fault of their own. Sometimes people […]

August Employment Report

Not because I’m thinking much about it today, but because I feel like I should at least mention it: the August employment report was released by the BLS this morning. From the report: Nonfarm payroll employment increased by 169,000 in August, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 4.9 percent, the Bureau of Labor […]

Why We Have Governments

One of the most basic reasons why we have a government is for the reason articulated by Thomas Hobbes over 350 years ago: without government, we would be in a “state of nature” in which there are: “no arts, no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent […]

Real Business Cycles: Altig Replies, DeLong Asks “Huh”, and What Charles Bean Said

Before I return to the RBC debate, let’s all pray that FEMA picks the pace. Our prayers all with the Gulf Coast residents and we know our nation can do better. Back on August 21, I should have led with: I should mention one problem with my fourth and favorite real business cycle suggestion, which […]

Katrina’s Wake

In contrast to what many people would have otherwise expected, Katrina’s aftermath is getting worse by the day, not better. In New Orleans: Huge crowds, hoping to finally escape the stifling confines of the stadium, jammed the main concourse outside the dome, spilling out over the ramp to the Hyatt hotel next door — a […]

House Prices

As Calculated Risk notes this morning, the quarterly estimate of housing price appreciation by the OFHEO was just released for the April-June period of 2005. As usual, my preferred way of looking at this data is at the level of local (i.e. metropolitan area) markets. The following two charts present a sampling of house prices […]


Personal consumption spending in July was high. Very high. In fact, people spent considerably more than they earned, so the personal savings rate in July was negative: -0.6% of disposable income, to be precise. That means that, for only the second time in the past several decades (the first was in October 2001), households as […]