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

What do we want our economy to do? Misuse of GDP

by Divorced one like Bush(successfully I might add) I had the following quotes sitting around for awhile. Like May of 07. Being that we have a “crisis” with our economy (I have a hard time with the word crisis being used, it implies suddenness, unseen), a new governing philosophy in place and we really, really, […]

An Economist Who Doesn’t Believe People Respond to Incentives

Ladies and gentlemen, Tyler (“So Right It Hurts“) Cowen presents the following, er, argument: Excessive bank regulation is another danger. To be sure, the regulatory structure for financial institutions failed in the current crisis, and change is in order. But we shouldn’t reform in a way that will discourage bank lending and weaken the tie […]

City Journal’s Propositions of Economics

Mark Thoma asks for comments on a set of supposed propositions of economic science that ran in the City Journal, a/k/a the glibertarian Manhattan Institute’s house organ. I thought the best thing I could do would be to fill in some ellipses from Mark’s extended citation: 1. The market economy is the most efficient of […]

Should We Worry about Tyler Cowen?

Tim Harford (h/t Mark Thoma) presents the old trade-off between Rationality and Cooperation, with a curious parenthetic: Except, nobody really thinks this is the way players would behave in reality. The optimal strategy seems sociopathic; isn’t it worth playing cooperatively in the hope that the other player will do the same thing? (Unlike much real […]

Dep’t of Who’d’a Thunk: Interests of Social Security Retirees and High-Bracket Taxpayers Align?

Both would benefit from a higher inflation index than CPI. AEI hack (and former Social Security Administration commissioner!) Andrew Biggs redefines bracket creep (*) for the W$J op-ed page: Tax revenues would skyrocket if the tax cuts expire, due to “bracket creep.” Average incomes are higher today than in the 1990s, but income-tax brackets aren’t […]

McArdle vs. Warren, Round 1: Are We Saving Enough?

Megan McArdle’s taken up the task of trying to prove that the middle class actually isn’t stressed to the breaking point, apparently as part of a project to teach Elizabeth Warren a lesson in good reserach practices or something. Part the first claims that observed low savings rates are, contra Warren et al., nothing to […]

Economic Advisors to the Presidential Candidates – Let’s Hope McCain Isn’t Listening to Kudlow

Via Greg Mankiw comes a discussion by Jeanne Sahadi that Senator Clinton listens to Gene Sperling (no surprise) and Senator Obama listens to Austan Goolsbee. John McCain apparently is listening to deficit hawk Douglas Holtz-Eakin who appears to be more willing to use entitlement cuts than tax increases to restore fiscal sanity. On this score […]

Doing the Economy One Better

Seems there is a movement afoot to do the economy one better. There will be a conference Beyond GDP held in Brussels in November. GDP is the best-recognised measure of economic performance in the world, often used as a generic indicator of progress. However, the relationship between economic growth as measured by GDP and other […]

Money from money? Not good.

On September 28th Bill Moyers’ guest was John Bogle. You can see the interview or read the transcript from here. The setup for the interview is about private equity firms and he mentions the Sunday NY Times front page article: At Many Homes, More Profit and Less Nursing. His introduction of Mr. Bogle is: It’s […]