Economy

Annals of Economic Illiteracy

Featured image My first mentor in journalism right out of college, the great M. Stanton Evans, liked to point to mainstream media coverage of inflation for examples of head-smackingly superficial grasp of the issues. Most stories about inflation would say something like, “The consumer price index rose 1 percent last month, led by increases in food, gasoline, and housing,” as though it is was the price increases themselves that caused inflation, rather »

Terrorist Economics

Featured image Everyone is having fun mocking the latest travesty of our airline security theater: the removal of a person described as “a 40-year-old man — with dark, curly hair, olive skin and an exotic foreign accent” from an American Airlines plane in Philadelphia because an adjacent passenger was alarmed at his ominous looking scribblings on a piece of paper. Turns out the man was doing math. Turns out the person was »

How Does Hillary Run On a Bad Economy?

Featured image Democrats love to cherry pick statistics to make the case that Barack Obama’s stewardship of our economy has been successful. Obama himself often claims to have saved the world economy from disaster, but how? If anything averted collapse, it was the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which was executed by the Bush administration, for better or worse. If any government measure saved the economy, it was TARP. The “stimulus” bill that »

Hillary to Run Against . . . Obama?

Featured image Dan Henninger reminds us in the Wall Street Journal this morning of the great Clintonian talent at “triangulation,” and notes the subtle “pivot” Hillary is starting to make against the sorry Obama economic record: Watching this, one thought: Is the presumed extender of Barack Obama’s third term explicitly separating herself from the economy under his watch for 7 1/2 years? . . . The Clinton campaign is bending to the obvious: »

Minimum Wage, Maximum Ignorance

Featured image Gee, who could have seen this coming? From the Los Angeles Times yesterday: California Minimum Wage Hike Hits L.A. Apparel Industry: “The Exodus Has Begun” Los Angeles was once the epicenter of apparel manufacturing, attracting buyers from across the world to its clothing factories, sample rooms and design studios. But over the years, cheap overseas labor lured many apparel makers to outsource to foreign competitors in far-flung places such as »

Does Trump’s Trade Talk Make Sense?

Featured image Donald Trump isn’t the only one, but he, more insistently than anyone else these days, promotes the idea that the U.S. has made a series of bad trade deals, as a result of which great jobs have been “lost” to other countries. He, as president, will somehow bring them back. Manhattan Contrarian offers what I think is a more realistic view: [In a recent interview,] what Trump did was repeat, »

Should Conservatives Abandon the Supply Side?

Featured image The iconic moment for conservatives of my generation was the Reagan tax cuts of the early 1980s. Those supply-side cuts fueled a boom whose ripples are still felt today, and refuted liberal economic theories once and for all. Much has happened since then; taxes have gone up and down. But a common denominator is that whenever federal income taxes have been cut, they have also been made more progressive. The »

More Cold Water For Bernienomics

Featured image We reported before about the panic of the Democratic establishment over the estimates of Bernie Sanders economics fanboy Gerald Friedman of UMass/Amherst, who says that Bernie’s nostrums will deliver all the milk and honey in Venezuela, or something. Now it’s the turn of Christina and David Romer, Democratic economists at UC Berkeley, to dump on Friedman. Christina Romer served on Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers in the first term, and »

Kompulsory Keynesianism?

Featured image From time to time you hear people argue we should abolish the penny, because they really are a nuisance, etc. But Abe hangs on. Today the emphasis seems to be going the other way: abolish the $100 bill! You hear it said we should do this to retard “criminal activity,” but I think there’s another reason. One hints comes from this story today about how the circulation of 1,000 Franc »

Dem Panic Time: It Berns! It Berns!

Featured image I guess we’re going to have to make a series out of the obvious panic of the Democratic establishment over the ascent of Bernie Sanders. Now Democrats have rolled out their senior economic luminaries to blast a widely reported “study” that claimed Sanders’s socialism would lead to an economic boom in America. The study, by UMass/Amherst economics professor Gerald Friedman, asserts that median income would soar by more than $22,000, »

Fourth quarter growth was anemic

Featured image Gross domestic product (GDP) expanded at only a 0.7% seasonally adjusted annualized rate in the fourth quarter of last year, the Commerce Department reported today. That’s quite weak. 2015 as a whole wasn’t so good either. GDP expanded at only 2.4%, the same as in 2014. That’s called limping along. For as James Pethokoukis points out, from the end of World War II through 2005, the economy grew at an »

Obama: Always Wrong, Never In Doubt

Featured image It seems incredible, but the Democrats are promoting the idea that the Obama administration represents a sort of economic triumph, comparable to Ronald Reagan’s 1980s boom or Bill Clinton’s 1990s stock market rise (putting aside the crash that ended the decade). Absent mass hypnosis, this will be a tough sell. Dan Mitchell takes a scalpel to the Democrats’ attempt at revisionist history (numerous links omitted): In a 2014 study for »

Are Low Oil Prices Good or Bad? Yes

Featured image There’s just no pleasing some people. When oil and gasoline prices at the pump are high, liberals (and Bill O’Reilly) complain that the oil companies are gouging us, even though certified enlightened opinion among environmentalists is that cheap oil and fuel prices are bad because it encourages consumption and makes it harder for their (subsidized) renewable energy unicorns to compete in the marketplace. I still have somewhere the New York »

The Economy: Don’t Look Now, But. . .

Featured image So the stock market fell 1,000 points last week, the worst first week performance of the stock market ever. This occurs amidst a decent jobs report on Friday, though as many observers noted that a lot of the jobs were on the lower end of the skill level, and several news outlets noted that wages continue to be stagnant. Everyone is pointing to China, whose economy is possibly slipping by »

The Big Snort

Featured image Scott rightly scores The Big Short for its, um, shortcomings. John Goodman lays out ten lessons that ought to be understood about the whole story, including these two key lessons completely omitted from the film: Lesson 5: It is also a movie about a massive failure of government. As the movie makes clear, government regulators had no interest prosecuting fraud, even when the protagonists put the evidence right in front »

The Bottomless Economic Ignorance of Liberalism

Featured image We’ve commented before on the bottomless economic ignorance of Bernie Sanders, and only with some effort do we not make this a daily feature. But The Bern outdid himself with this recent tweet: Apparently Bernie has never been told the difference between a secured loan and an unsecured loan, let alone the higher lending risk involved in making a student loan to a gender studies major. Maybe this parody picture »

Power Line’s Chart of the Week: The Achievement of Capitalism

Featured image Herewith a new Power Line feature: Chart of the Week. Because data. Also innovation. Scheduled to appear on Monday or Tuesday each week. I have been looking forward for a long time to the last in Deirdre McCloskey’s trilogy about capitalism (a term she dislikes) that began with Bourgeois Virtues: Ethics for an Age of Commerce, and Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics Can’t Explain the Modern World. The third volume, coming »