The global economy is likely to grow at between 3% and 4% in 2017 adjusted for inflation and differences in exchange rates. Emerging economies, led by Asia, are likely again to outgrow advanced economies (the U.S., Europe, Japan). That’s the word from one of the world’s most respected and widely followed [continue reading . . . ]
The next recession: Made in China?
If you haven’t read it, get to your library (or use your library card) to read Ruchir Sharma’s op-ed in the Wall Street Journal August 17 (Page A 11). He argues that with advanced economies stuck in slow-growth mode, the globe is “one shock away from recession” and that the [continue reading . . . ]
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 . . . ]
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 . . . ]
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 . . . ]
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 . . . ]
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 . . . ]
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 . . . ]
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 . . . ]
Are America’s best days in the rear-view mirror? The Economist‘s Lexington columnist reminds us (May 12, 2012, print edition) that bouts of what it labels “declinism” are, well, almost as American as apple pie. It wasn’t so long ago that Japan was buying up iconic U.S. real estate (New York [continue reading . . . ]
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 . . . ]
I get a headache thinking about how much money Uncle Sam is borrowing — in the past year at the rate of almost $42 million a second (hat tip to the Financial Times blog Alphaville for calling this debt graphic to my attention). Think the U.S. is an outlier? Guess [continue reading . . . ]