Feb 122017
 

Don’t miss the excellent piece on the importance of immigrants to Silicon Valley in the New York Times February 9, 2017. Some highlights: “Silicon Valley is unlikely, as a phenomenon — it is not the default state of the world,” said John Collison, an immigrant from Ireland who is a [continue reading . . . ]






Aug 152016
 
Economic update

For a quick economic update for members of Bellevue Rotary recently, I updated several slides I usually include as a part of my talks and added a new one or two. You can download all of them as a PDF file here. Among bullet points: We live in a slow-growth world. [continue reading . . . ]






Apr 112016
 
NIRP's unintended consequences

What if the negative interest rate policies (NIRP) that have been adopted by major central banks had effects opposite what was intended? The idea is to fight DEflation and to nudge consumers to spend by penalizing banks for keeping money on deposit. The theory is that banks will lend rather [continue reading . . . ]






Aug 292015
 
The recovery: Still tepid

Good on us that the U.S. economy grew at an annual rate estimated at 3.7% in the April-May-June quarter rather than the 2.2% rate announced as the first estimate a month ago. But don’t get too excited. State and local government spending accounted for a higher-than-average share of the growth [continue reading . . . ]






May 122014
 
Income inequality illustrated

For a presentation May 8 to the Washington Alaska Chapter of the Healthcare Financial Management Association, I added to my talk a few comments on income inequality. It is not hard to find ways of illustrating growing income inequality in the United States and elsewhere. Here a few slides prepared [continue reading . . . ]






Jul 152013
 

I was a newspaperman before I became, in order, a newsletter editor-publisher, then a self-trained economist and professional speaker. I still love newspapers. And not just the on-line versions. I still savor dead trees. Four newspapers thud on to my front porch on weekdays, five on Saturdays, two on Sundays. [continue reading . . . ]






Jun 222013
 

We have not seen this movie before. We do not know how it ends. Unwinding the Fed’s Quantitative Easing (QE) programs and central banks’ near-zero interest policies (N-ZIRP), now in Year 5, were never going to be easy. But these have to be done eventually. The repression of interest rates [continue reading . . . ]






Feb 042013
 
Population explosion . . . NOT

Do Malthusian nightmares about the population explosion keep you up nights? Relax. Chill. We Americans (numbering 315 million) are having too few babies. Middle-class fertility has fallen to about 1.6, far below the replacement rate of 2.1. That means fewer workers to support your Social Security benefits. And the problem [continue reading . . . ]






Jan 112013
 

My friend James McCusker, tongue planted firmly in cheek, suggests that rather than just one trillion-dollar platinum coin as a solution to our debt-deficit-fiscal mess, we mint one worth $50,000 for each of us. That’s roughly 315 million shiny tokens. Poof! Our debt problem goes away. How do you plan [continue reading . . . ]






Jan 102013
 

Don’t miss today’s New York Times obit of the 1986 Nobel laureate and George Mason University professor James M. Buchanan. Like everyone else, Buchanan taught, politicians tend to act in their own self-interest Courting voters at election time, for example, legislators will approve tax cuts and spending increases for projects [continue reading . . . ]






Dec 122012
 
Printing more will do what, exactly?

So we have just started Year 5 of N-ZIRP, the Fed’s near-zero-interest-rate policy, and it is working so well that the Fed will have to keep printing money. What’s wrong with this picture? In fact, despite a massive expansion of the Fed’s balance sheet, and some of the lowest interest [continue reading . . . ]