May 102015
 
Good jobs report, but . . .

Friday’s jobs report showed the U.S. headline unemployment rate has fallen to 5.4%, the lowest since mid-2008. Good for us, but hold the applause. The underemployment rate, including those working part time involuntarily, remains relatively high (10.8%) for this stage of the recovery. It has been nearly six years since [continue reading . . . ]






Oct 302012
 
Fix the fisc? Not a chance

In the decade through Fiscal 2008, Uncle Sam spent at the rate of about 19.4% of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP), and took money in at the rate of about 18.3% of GDP, resulting in annual deficits of about 1.1% of GDP. In Fiscal 1999, at the start of that [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 . . . ]






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 . . . ]






Jun 222011
 

Oregon would have to increase taxes on each household by more than $2,000 each year for several years to fully fund the pension obligations of its public employees (those working for states, counties, cities, school districts, etc). By this measure, only in New Jersey and New York are the burdens [continue reading . . . ]






Jun 012011
 

On KUOW’s Weekday talk program today, Steve Scher, the host, asked if I had any ideas about the “Lesser Depression” I was talking about. I think I have a decent radio voice, but I’m slow on my feet, not nimble. I stalled for time, then mumbled something about Paul Ryan’s [continue reading . . . ]