Economy

Charts That Make You Go, Hmmmm . . .

Featured image We’ve observed before that the economy is weak and looking weaker, and President Obama looks to be the only president in modern history not to have at least one year of 3 percent economic growth. I don’t think liberals care about growth any more (a point Joel Kotkin made over the weekend, observing that seeking economic growth was conspiciously missing from the Democratic platform this year). One of my first »

Minimum Wage, Maximum Ignorance (2)

Featured image Regarding my item last Friday about the “expected” poor results from the higher minimum wage in Seattle, a perceptive reader offers the observation that the minimum wage should be better understood as a government ban on low-paying jobs: The term “minimum wage” does not serve us well. Only an employer can decide on a true ”minimum wage,” in the sense of a determination to pay no less than some level. »

Minimum Wage, Maximum Ignorance

Featured image William F. Buckley Jr. used to speak of the “invincible ignorance” of liberalism, and there’s hardly a better example than the minimum wage. Generally the first thing you learn on the first day of Econ 101 is that if you raise the price of something, you’ll reduce the demand for that something. Including labor. So it’s fun to notice this morning that the city of Seattle, which threw out both »

The economy is slumping at a bad time for Democrats

Featured image National conventions aren’t what they used to be. They have become highly choreographed and lacking in drama (though there was more drama than normal at both conventions this year). But the conventions still serve vital purposes. They enable the two parties and their candidates to make their case directly to the American people in a setting glitzy enough to attract viewers. And they enable voters to discern, albeit not infallibly, »

Can Reagan Save Another Clinton Presidency?

Featured image First of all, I’ll pause for a moment to let you get over the shudder at the thought of “another Clinton presidency” in this headline. Take a shot or two of whiskey if necessary. Or deep cleansing breaths. Whatever it takes. Now, to the main topic. I’ve been thinking for a while that there’s not much wrong with this country that a sustained period of 4 percent economic growth wouldn’t »

Job growth stalls

Featured image One of the reasons I have thought Hillary Clinton probably will be elected president, assuming she’s not indicted, is the state of the economy. It’s pretty good now, and Americans recognize this. The relatively good economy explains why President Obama’s approval rating his risen. It’s borderline decent now. This hasn’t seemed to help Hillary’s poll numbers, but likely would once we get to crunch time. Today, however, comes a new »

This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things, Part 3

Featured image In this 2:37 long video from two years ago, Patrick McLaughlin of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University does a terrific job of dramatizing just how immense federal regulation has grown over the last two generations. Actually this visualization understates the number of regulatory programs, as it only identifies major regulatory agencies, not not individual regulatory initiatives per se. Still, this is a highly useful piece of work: »

This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things, Part 2

Featured image Last week the Obama administration announced new regulations designed to raise the wages of hundreds of thousands of salaried employees by re-classifying them in ways that make them eligible for overtime. This is the same logic of supposing that you can lift yourself up by standing in a bucket and pulling up on the handle. Even the New York Times has noticed that this regulation is going to be counter-productive, »

This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

Featured image I’ve been meaning for a while to knock out an article on the theme, “there’s nothing wrong with America that 4 percent growth won’t solve.” That’s an exaggeration, of course, but not much of one. Faster economic growth will alleviate a number of our leading problems, especially stagnant wages, a sinking labor force participation rate, badly unbalanced budgets, adult children living in basements, ESPN’s sinking ratings, etc. One difficulty is »

Chart of the Week: Productivity and Police Action

Featured image Actually, here are two useful charts. With the first quarter’s economic growth being revised upward from the previous 0.5 percent annual rate to 0.8 percent annual rate, the Obama era continues its record as the weakest economic expansion in history. One reason is shown in this chart from the Financial Times, showing U.S. productivity growth turning negative in the first quarter: You can see that productivity growth has been slow »

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 »