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

Making Fun of Barack Obama

My wife has been enjoying the recent skits about the Trump administration on Saturday Night Live. I can see why. Even Melissa McCarthy has managed to be funny in her impressions of Sean Spicer. Until now I would have sworn that reports of McCarthy having a sense of humor were some sort of urban legend. […]

$1 trillion to be spent on direct hiring…that’s the ticket!

With all this stalemate posturing in Washington, today Chris Hayes has come up with the best idea I have heard yet to move the players. And, in my opinion actually solve our economic depression.   One trillion dollars to be spent on direct hiring by the government along with debt forgiveness.  A solution right out […]

You Can Fool Most of the People Most of the Time

At least on certain issues. I’m not inherently a great pessimist, but with few exceptions each passing month for over a decade now has seen my optimism whither, at least a little.  So I can’t help but see the manure-colored lining in this otherwise rosy, fluffy cloud. Steve Benen reports that according to the new […]

Yes, The Right Wing Lies When They Say Obama is a Profligate Spender

Part III – How to think about time series data. For reference:Part II  Federal Spending as a Fraction of GDP Part I  Federal Spending Growth Some commentors to the previous posts have rightly concluded that I consider spending under Obama in the context of historical trends.  In fact, if you don’t consider historical trends, you […]

Why Spending/GDP is a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Metric For Judging Obama’s Performance

A post like this really shouldn’t be necessary, but part of the right wing canard that Obama has been a profligate spender is based on spending as a percentage of GDP. It looks like this – Graph 1. Graph 1.  Fed Expenditures/GDP Sure enough, by the end of Clinton’s term the ratio had fallen from […]

A Quick Look at Federal Spending

Over at Plain Blog, an anonymous wing nut made this off-topic comment. Now, yes, Bill Clinton and his 2000 federal spending level of 18% of GDP doesn’t put him on the fringe, which makes it surprising that you lefties are celebrating him, even as you hysterically condemn anybody who resists the Left’s current massive spending […]

Ryan, Jimmy Carter, and Obama…payroll employment by Presidential Administrations

Payroll Employment by Presidential Administrations Ryan is saying that Obama’s record is like Jimmy Carter’s record. When it comes to employment we should hope so. During Carter’s four years in office payroll employment expanded some 10 million,or 12.5%.  or at an average annual rate of 3.1%   This is the second best employment record ofany post […]

Private Real GDP in Recoveries

Update: Paul Krugman at Conscience of a Liberal points to Spencer England’s post in his column 8/1…Dan I thought it would be interesting to post this chart of real private GDP in recoveries. It clearly shows that since the great moderation we have experienced three recoveries that compared to previous recoveries were very weak.  Whether […]

Crony Capitalism And Its Variety Of Flavors

I can’t help but think that Romney’s newly invigorated crony-capital (e.g., Solyndra) schtick is very much a double-edged sword for him.  I mean, isn’t he the candidate who, notwithstanding his claimed concern about the federal deficit, refuses to support the proposed elimination of the federal government’s subsidies to the oil and gas industry, and who […]

Ernst and Young, Make-Up Artist*

A key but seriously underemphasized factor in the near-collapse of the financial system and economy in 2008 was the role that the two largest securities-ratings firms, Moody’s and Standard and Poors, played: The two agencies routinely and deliberately overrated the value of mortgage-backed securities.  So I was momentarily (and naively) stunned to read this morning […]