Sep 302015
 
Needed: More, not fewer, immigrants

Worried about your Social Security benefits? You ought to be. Whether you are in your 70s or your 20s , the number of workers taxed to support you in our pay-as-you-go social-insurance system are or will be fewer than supported your parents and grandparents. We’re living longer and having fewer [continue reading . . . ]






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 . . . ]






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 282013
 

Things on my mind as I prepare for the business/economy segment on KUOW‘s Weekday program at about 10:40 a.m. Pacific time May 29: 1. The Boeing Boom? So over. The headlines over the past several weeks about layoffs and other cutbacks at Boeing (excellent coverage in the Seattle Times by [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 . . . ]






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 . . . ]






Oct 312012
 
KUOW: GDP, MSFT, AMZN

Some things I hope to cover on the business-economy segment on KUOW today: U.S. economy: The Bureau of Economic Analysis announced October 26 that the U.S. economy grew at annual rate of 2.0% in the July-September quarter, much better than the 1.3% rate in the summer quarter. In real terms [continue reading . . . ]






Aug 082012
 

Things on my mind as I prepare for my every-third-week appearance on KUOW‘s Weekday program Aug. 8: 1. Knight Capital Group (KCG). All investors ought to be concerned that a highly regarded Wall Street firm either didn’t have or (more likely) failed to hit the “kill switch” on an “algo” [continue reading . . . ]






Jul 062012
 

Don’t miss today’s Heard on the Street item in the Wall Street Journal headlined “Central Banks Tilt at Global Windmills.” The item, by Richard Barley, notes that “the People’s Bank of China, the European Central Bank and the National Bank of Denmark all cut rates Thursday, and the Bank of [continue reading . . . ]






May 302012
 

Uh, oh. That’s what I find myself muttering these days when I fire up the news browser or open my morning papers. The economic news leaves me with a sense of dread. I find three developments especially worrisome: 1. Europe’s slow-motion economic crisis, now more than three years old, rumbles [continue reading . . . ]