After Seven Recovery Summers…

Featured image The last recession officially ended, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, in June 2009. By now, September 2015, we should be in the middle, or perhaps the later stages, of an economic boom, having enjoyed years of strong economic growth, job creation and rising private sector incomes. Instead, our economy has never exited the recovery stage, and we have just concluded the seventh “recovery summer” of the Obama »

Why Socialism Can’t Make a Sandwich

Featured image Last month I took note of the curious fact that many people find Friedrich Hayek’s classic 1945 essay “The Use of Knowledge in Society” difficult or opaque at first, including even economic geniuses like Thomas Sowell and Russ Roberts. This month happens to be the 70th anniversary of the publication of that essay, and our friends at the Fraser Institute in Canada have begun a video series starring Don Boudreaux »

Black Income Decline in Minnesota Termed “Disgraceful”

Featured image As I noted here, just-released Census Bureau data show that real median household income declined slightly in 2014, while the poverty rate increased slightly. Median incomes for all racial groups except whites were stable, while white median household income declined by 1.7%. I have seen no comment on this fact; certainly no suggestion that the federal government is responsible for the decline or has pursued policies inimical to the interests »

Census: Economy Is Going Nowhere

Featured image The Census Bureau released its income and poverty numbers for 2014 today. The poverty rate was up slightly and median family income, inflation-adjusted, was down slightly, but both numbers were essentially flat. U.S. News goes out on a limb: The numbers may explain some of the political furor going on in the country, said Lawrence Mishel, president and CEO of the liberal Economic Policy Institute. “Anyone wondering why people in »

A word from the Club for Growth

Featured image David McIntosh is the president of the Club for Growth. He was a three-term Congressman from Indiana and is a co-founder of the Federalist Society. The Club for Growth is a well-known advocacy group that is dedicated to limited government and the belief that prosperity and opportunity come from economic freedom. These beliefs put the Club at odds with Donald Trump. McIntosh explains the clash in a letter to Club »

Democrats See No Irony In Running Against Themselves

Featured image Today Joe Biden delivered a populist oration on the occasion of Labor Day. Biden ripped the stagnant American economy of recent years: “I’m mad, I’m angry,” Biden thundered, attacking the U.S. economy as “devastating for workers.” That’s what we’ve been saying for the last 6 1/2 years. Where has Biden been all this time? Oh yeah, that’s right–he’s been the vice president. The economy is lousy for most workers because »

The Socialist Dream Will Never Die

Featured image Not long ago I was listening to one of Russ Roberts’s archived “EconTalk” podcasts with the great Thomas Sowell (and if you don’t listen to EconTalk you’re missing one of the top podcast artists of our time—subscribe for free here), and was completely stunned by something Sowell said. When he was assigned Friedrich Hayek’s seminal essay “The Use of Knowledge in Society” as a graduate student, he didn’t get it. »

Exposing Our Fannie Again

Featured image From this morning’s Wall Street Journal: Fannie Mae wants to make it easier for working-class and multigenerational households to get a mortgage. The mortgage-finance company said Tuesday it would roll out a program this year that lets lenders include income from nonborrowers within a household, such as extended-family members, toward qualifying for a loan. The move is expected to open up mortgage access to a segment of the population that »

On Your Mark, Get Set, . . . Crash? (Updated)

Featured image So, I’m back from my overseas idyll, which included bagging a lion I hastily renamed Cecil (see photo below), and which means the usual jet lag, a large pile of snail mail, and lots of undone work even further behind than usual. Anything much happen while I was away? Wait . . . the stock market did what? As I write, about an hour before the Monday morning open on »

From Power Line Baltic Command: “An Ocean Liner Without Lifeboats”?

Featured image I’m not really observing radio silence this week, but if you’ve ever been on a cruise ship you’ll know that shipboard Internet operates by smoke signal or some other antiquated technology. (Not to worry: I already have this Saturday’s “Week in Pictures” filed for posting automatically, in case I end up in a Russian jail cell on Friday.) Currently steaming through the Baltic Sea with our pals at the Pacific »

NY Times on the Right Minimum Wage: Zero

Featured image I know we’ve referenced this before, but it is worth doing again: The New York Times editorial page (!!!), in January 1987, explaining why the right minimum wage should be Zero: The Right Minimum Wage: $0.00 The Federal minimum wage has been frozen at $3.35 an hour for six years. In some states, it now compares unfavorably even with welfare benefits available without working. It’s no wonder then that Edward »

Friedman’s greatest hits

Featured image In honor of what would have been Milton Friedman’s (103rd) birthday this week, John Hawkins has culled “20 best quotes” from Friedman’s work. Friedman was of course a deserving winner of the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1976. Reading through the quotes, I recall that Friedman also had a Newsweek column. He had one or more series on PBS. He wrote books promoting freedom for a popular audience. One or »

Minimum Wage, Maximum Folly

Featured image Interesting news on the minimum wage front this weekend. First, the Brookings Institution, perhaps better known as the Hillary Clinton administration-in-waiting, put out a note by an economist who served in the last Clinton administration that is highly critical of the proposal for a national $15-an-hour minimum wage: A $15-hour minimum wage could harm America’s poorest workers By: Harry J. Holzer Many economists worry minimum wage increases tend to reduce »

Trump thought the housing market was “solid” in 2007

Featured image Donald Trump has tried to explain why he was a Democrat by saying that a Republican president, George W. Bush, crashed the economy. He told MSNBC that in the last two years of the Bush administration, the housing market “was a bubble that was waiting to explode.” Bush, Trump claimed, had a “death wish,” so he ignored the obvious weakness in the housing market and the economy collapsed. We have »

Economic Notes

Featured image Did you happen to catch this little detail in yesterday’s news about the old A & P grocery chain filing bankruptcy: More than 90% of A&P’s workers are union members, with 35 different collective-bargaining agreements that A&P said require benefit increases that are unsustainable. A&P said it would try to negotiate immediate changes to the contracts to prevent “catastrophic” results on sales, but otherwise will seek court orders to force »

Hillary’s Talking Points: Recycled From the 1990s

Featured image I don’t think we have written about Hillary Clinton’s recent speech on the economy. She says we need economic growth, but the policies she advocates would suppress, not encourage, growth. That’s the bottom line. But a reader also pointed out a letter to the New York Times, as quoted in Cafe Hayek, that bears on Hillary’s fixation on the middle class: Eduardo Porter opens his column today by asking “Could »

Puerto Rico Goes Broke

Featured image Most eyes have been on Greece, where events are coming to a climax. Meanwhile, a less-noticed financial collapse has overtaken Puerto Rico. That commonwealth has racked up debts of $72 billion, which seems astonishing for an island with a population of 3.6 million, not much more than Iowa. Puerto Rico’s governor now says that “the debt is not payable.” That seems to be true of a lot of sovereign debt »