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

Robert Samuelson As Insurance Agent

Robert Samuelson’s latest on Social Security has been ably taken down by Mark Thoma and Max Sawicky. But this line from “no relation to Paul” has me wondering who his insurance agent is: In normal usage, insurance suggests protection against something you don’t expect to happen I expect to get sick on occasion and I […]

If the Chinese Would Only Eat Stock Certificates

When the National Review makes the case for free trade, I have been know to applaud. The argument put forth by John Tamny, however, does not warrant applause: Buffett’s comments merit special attention in that it is precisely because the U.S. is moving away from low-value sharecropper jobs that the current-account deficit is so high….When […]

Puzzles of Finance: Reading Material for Donald Luskin

When I read Robert Schiller’s “The Life-Cycle Personal Accounts Proposal for Social Security: An Evaluation”, the third chapter of Mark P. Kritzman’s Puzzles of Finance, which is entitled “Time Diversification”, went to the top of my read pile. Let me suggest that Donald Luskin start with Mark’s primer at the end (Brad DeLong and Duncan […]

Fifty years of R&D, the Krugman-O’Reilly Debate, and More

AB has been letting us know about a new blog from Mark Thoma. Mark’s chart of R&D relative to GDP reminds me of the debate between Paul Krugman and Bill O’Reilly. O’Reilly was trying to suggest that the Reagan tax cuts increased economic growth. Never mind the fact that savings and investment fell and that […]

What Will China Do?

Brad Setser, just returned from a 10 day trip to China, offers some very interesting thoughts today about China’s exchange rate policy as a result his conversations with various Chinese economists. The central dilemma Brad touches on is this: what type of growth strategy is best for China? Should they continue to follow the strong […]

Inflation Resurgent?

Following up on yesterday’s PPI report, the BLS released its latest figures on consumer price inflation this morning: The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.6 percent in February, before seasonal adjustment, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. …On a seasonally adjusted basis, the CPI-U […]

If You Don’t Like The Answer…

… just scale accordingly (and ignore the lack of a statistically significant difference): Stupid or wilfull? You decide. From MediaMatters, by way of Digby. AB

White House Leaning Towards Consumption Tax

Kristin Forbes of the Council of Economic Advisors spoke at an economic policy conference hosted by NABE on March 21. She told the audience that our tax system relies too heavily on the taxation of capital income. According to Tax Analyst, she revealed a definite White House interest in moving to a more consumption-based tax […]

The Fed Raises Rates

Unsurprisingly, the Fed raised short-term interest rates by .25% again today. Slightly more surprisingly, the Fed is clearly growing more concerned with possible inflationary pressures, which the FOMC signaled with some new language in their statment. From the FOMC statement released this afternoon: Output evidently continues to grow at a solid pace despite the rise […]

Inflation Update

There’s new inflation data coming out this week: the February PPI data was released this morning, and the CPI data comes out tomorrow. I’ll put up a post with a discussion of both releases tomorrow… but if you can’t wait until then to peruse the PPI data here’s the text of the PPI News Release: […]