Aug 182012
 
Too many Canadians?

That’s the headline on Page 1 of the Seattle Times today. The article reports that some residents of the Bellingham area, an easy drive from the Canadian border, are grumbling that Canadian shoppers are overcrowding the parking lots of Costco Wholesale and other box stores on the U.S. side of the [continue reading . . . ]






Jul 182012
 
How low can rates go?

Interest rates on U.S. Treasury notes with a maturity of 10 years fell last month to nearly the lowest since World War II. They may go lower still. Today’s low rates reflect both the weak outlook for most advanced economies and a desperate scramble globally for safe places to park [continue reading . . . ]






Jun 182012
 

The economic headlines are grim almost everywhere you look. An item on Page 1 of today’s Financial Times sums things up succinctly: Growth in the US is slowing, much of Europe is in recession, China’s growth outlook has weakened, the reform processes in India have stalled and other large emerging [continue reading . . . ]






Jun 052012
 

Martin Wolf, much-honored chief economics commentator of the Financial Times, has been my beacon during the financial crisis. So it is especially discouraging to read his June 6, 2012, column, headlined “Panic has become all too rational”. Wolf argues that the advanced economies are caught in a “contained depression,” that [continue reading . . . ]






May 092012
 

The trouble with the French is that they are sick and tired of austerity, and they won’t take it any more. Oh, and by the way, they want it all. Big government, check. The French public sector accounts for more than half of the economy. Early retirement, check. Voters threw [continue reading . . . ]






Apr 262012
 
Low U.S. rates = default?

Prompted by reading, I’ve been thinking about an essay arguing that today’s exceptionally low interest rates are a form of default. The idea is far from original. Op-ed pieces in the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal have seeded my thinking. An op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal by [continue reading . . . ]






Jan 182012
 
U.S. competitive in manufacturing?

As I mentioned on KUOW’s Weekday program today, I was delighted to read in today’s Financial Times* that manufacturing employment has grown faster in the U.S. during this recovery than in any other advanced country. From January 2010, employment in U.S. factories has risen by 2.9% to nearly 11.8 million [continue reading . . . ]






Sep 112011
 
Ponzi scheme?

Is Social Security a Ponzi scheme, as Texas Gov. and GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry labeled it during the GOP candidates’ debate Sept. 7? The answer is “No.” Charles Ponzi gave money collected from early suckers attracted by phony promises of high returns to new suckers after taking a cut. [continue reading . . . ]