Economy

A miserable century?

Featured image Nicholas Eberstadt, one of the most perceptive analysts I know of, contends that “things have been going badly wrong in America since the beginning of the 21st century.” He makes a solid case, and I’m not here to dispute it, much less to argue that this century has been a bed of roses. Eberstadt attributes President Trump’s stunning victory to the “miserable” century Americans outside of the “bubble” have been »

Ford cancels plan for Mexican plant; WaPo refuses to credit Trump

Featured image Ford CEO Mark Fields announced today that Ford has canceled plans to invest $1.6 billion in a new plant in Mexico. Instead it will produce the vehicles the Mexican plant would have manufactured at facilities in Michigan and Illinois. The move is expect to create approximately 700 jobs in the U.S. The Washington Post buries this news in an article about Trump “targeting” American automakers, especially General Motors, by threatening »

Trump Stock Rally Spooks Liberals

Featured image Immediately after the election, arch-leftist Paul Krugman offered one of his worst predictions ever: It really does now look like President Donald J. Trump, and markets are plunging. When might we expect them to recover? Frankly, I find it hard to care much, even though this is my specialty. The disaster for America and the world has so many aspects that the economic ramifications are way down my list of »

The Upside of the Animalistic Mr. Trump

Featured image John Maynard Keynes was right about one thing: economic dynamism depends on “animal spirits,” that is, the appetite for entrepreneurial risk-taking needs to reach a critical mass for an economy to boom. And this isn’t something that can be easily quantified, though the fact that new business startups under Obama plummeted is certainly one tangible measure of how the economy has been smothered in the Obama years. Hence, beyond specific »

Donald Trump’s first economic policy call

Featured image Yesterday, I wrote about what appears to be Donald Trump’s first foreign policy call — a telephone conversation with the Taiwanese president that signals to China the possibility of closer relations between the U.S. and Taiwan. I argued that this was a good call. I take the deal Trump worked out with Carrier to keep about 1,000 jobs in the U.S. to be the president-elect’s first economic policy call. How »

Can Trump deliver to his base on economics?

Featured image Donald Trump cracked the Democrats’ “blue wall” by narrowly winning Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. He accomplished this by attracting non-upscale white voters. He also took advantage, it seems, of lack of enthusiasm for Hillary Clinton among black voters in cities such as Philadelphia, Detroit, and Milwaukee. Has Trump thereby transformed the electoral landscape? The answer probably depends on the extent to which his policies improve, or will be perceived as »

Schumer identifies common ground with Trump

Featured image While Democrats around the country try to “process” what happened last week, wily Chuck Schumer is planning what will happen next year. The soon-to-be Senate Minority Leader announced that, unlike Republicans during the Obama years, the Democrats won’t reflexively oppose whatever the president proposes. Instead, they will consider each proposal on its merits and work with President Trump when they consider his proposals meritorious. Schumer isn’t just saying this to »

Early Returns on Trump’s Appointments Are Good

Featured image Donald Trump has been appointing members of his transition team, appointments that presumably foreshadow the ultimate composition of his administration. So far, I have been impressed by his choices. A case in point is Myron Ebell, who will lead Trump’s EPA transition team. The headline says it all: “Trump Picks Top Climate Skeptic to Lead EPA Transition.” Donald Trump has selected one of the best-known climate skeptics to lead his »

The Obama Years in One Chart

Featured image Obama’s approval ratings are doing fairly well these days—comfortably and consistently over 50 percent. This, while the number of Americans who say the country is on the “wrong track” is at or near an all-time high. One polling guru I know says that Obama’s good numbers owe to the fact that he looks good in comparison to Hillary and Trump, which makes sense. And also that the “wrong track” number »

A Manufacturing Catastrophe?

Featured image One of Donald Trump’s main campaign themes is that American manufacturing is in free fall, because of liberalized trade and foreign nations taking unfair advantage of us. There is something to the point about currency manipulation by China, and lower wage rates in Asia and Mexico are certainly a factor for some companies moving out of the country. And Trump is also correct to be targeting our highest-in-the-world corporate tax »

Don’t Look Now But. . .

Featured image Further to our recent posts here and here on the weakness of the Obama economy, here are two stories of note from this morning: Profit Slump for S&P 500 Heads for a Sixth Straight Quarter Companies in the S&P 500 are now expected to report an earnings decline for the sixth consecutive quarter in the coming weeks, according to analysts polled by FactSet. That slump would be the longest since »

The Economy in Pictures

Featured image Paul helpfully noted here Friday the Josh Barro article about why the economic recovery under Obama has been the weakest on record. (Shorter Barro” “It’s the Obama, stupid!”) The good folks at The Daily Shot offer some interesting charts that help visualize the story. Usually after a recession the housing sector contributes significantly to an economic rebound. This did not happen after the crash of ’08, and as you can »

Why the Obama recovery was so weak

Featured image Why has the economic recovery since 2009 been so weak? President Obama and his supporters claim that the weak recovery is due to the recession’s severity and the fact that it was accompanied by a major financial crisis. However, Harvard economist Robert Barro, writing in the Wall Street Journal, finds these excuses unpersuasive. Barro’s view is based on a study he and Tao Jin performed of economic downturns in the »

Forget the 3 am Phone Call: Watch Midnight Regs Instead

Featured image There’s a phenomenon going back to the Carter-Reagan transition or before that is well known among K Street lawyers and what is called the “regulated community” (a perfectly Orwellian term for private sector business under the visible foot of government): outgoing Democratic administrations enact a number of new rule-makings on the last day of the administration, often very controversial and costly rules that the outgoing administration has sat on for »

Economic Macroaggression

Featured image James Grant, the founder of the indispensable Grant’s Interest Rate Observer and one of my favorite financial writers, likes to describe macroeconomics as “politics disguised with differential calculus.” Boom! Because of course macroeconomics is the cornerstone of Keynesianism, the convenient doctrine that provides politicians with the excuse to spend as much money as they can. Supposedly it works on a “multiplier” effect, but the only thing it seems to multiply »

No, Incomes Didn’t Soar In 2015

Featured image On Tuesday, the Census Bureau released its annual report on income and poverty in the United States, based on the Current Population Survey. The report found that median household income increased by an inflation-adjusted 5.2% in 2015. President Obama and Hillary Clinton hailed this finding as a vindication of eight years of stagnation, and newspapers played up the 5.2% increase as the best economic news in a long time. Of »

Blue State Exodus

Featured image Which do better, blue states or red states? There is a veritable cottage industry devoted to obscure means of proving the superiority of the liberal tax-and-spend model, but when citizens vote with their feet, the result is clear: Americans are deserting blue states and moving to red states. Joel Kotkin and Wendell Cox have analyzed IRS data, which now allow us to track taxpayers moving from state to state, with »