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 . . . ]






Mar 092015
 

Is China done? Is the 66-year-old dictatorship of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) about to end? “Predicting the demise of authoritarian regimes is a risky business,” writes old China hand Dr. David Shambaugh in a not-to-be-missed essay (subscription required, or use your library card) in the Wall Street Journal March [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 . . . ]






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 . . . ]






Sep 172012
 
QE and financial repression

Say what you please about Ben Bernanke’s unconventional monetary policies (quantitative easing, QE for short, and Operation Twist), they’ve been good for the stock market. The first chart shows that stock prices have roughly doubled, give or take a few percentage points, since Dr. Ben launched the first round of [continue reading . . . ]






Sep 042012
 

Fix Medicare, primarily by restricting end-of-life care, as insurance companies do now. Fix Social Security by minor changes to (1) the payroll tax, (2) the benefit formula for high-income beneficiaries and (3) the retirement age. Fix the hopeless hairball that is the U.S. tax code primarily by (1) broadening the [continue reading . . . ]






Aug 072012
 

Back when it was published every other week, I used to treasure Fortune magazine. I looked forward to the iconic annual list of the largest companies. I loved Fortune’s deeply analytical long-form journalism on industries, companies and long-term economic trends. To cite just one example of excellence, more than any [continue reading . . . ]