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 »

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 »