Economy

Spindle Time, Mostly on Economics

Featured image The stock market sold off hard today, supposedly because of economic turmoil and devaluations in developing countries.  Perhaps this is so, though I usually discount the snap analysis in the media about what drives the daily moves of the overall market, as opposed to individual sectors where industry slumps or disruptions (housing and banking anyone?) are more comprehensible.  I wonder whether the market may be sliding because of the downgrades »

U.S. No Longer In Top Ten For Economic Freedom

Featured image The world is a freer place than it has even been before, but unfortunately the United States is bucking the trend. While other countries and governments recognize that economic freedom is the path to prosperity, our own government saddles business with ever more onerous, expensive and unproductive regulations. Today the Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal released their annual ranking of the nations of the world, on the scale »

Minimum Wage: Might As Well Check in With Milton

Featured image John took notice here last week of how once upon a time even the New York Times understood that mandating a minimum wage that was above what the bottom end of the labor market would bear was economically unsound and hurt the very people it was designed most to help–though that seems to be a defining feature of a lot of government policy these days.  But then the Times caught »

More On Today’s Awful Jobs Numbers

Featured image Paul has already noted how weak the December jobs report was. This paper, released yesterday by the liberal Economic Policy Institute, includes several charts that provide a valuable overview on the Obama jobs disaster. This chart shows that if the workers who have dropped out of the labor force were still looking for work, the unemployment rate would be virtually unchanged since 2009: As of November, it would have required »

The latest weak jobs report

Featured image I admit it — I expected the jobs report for December to be in line with the mildly encouraging recent reports. I was wrong. John Steele Gordon has the story: Job creation slowed markedly in December, with only a dismal 74,000 jobs created last month, the worst monthly report in three years. Economists, notorious for their clouded crystal balls, had been predicting 200,000 new jobs, above the 2013 average of »

The NY Times: Against the Minimum Wage Before It Was For It

Featured image I had lunch with a couple of Republican Congressmen a week or so ago. They said the Democrats are desperate to talk about anything other than Obamacare, and have decided that their best distraction is the minimum wage. So we can expect to hear a lot about raising the minimum wage over the next ten months. The New York Times editorial board, a reliable mouthpiece for the left wing of »

The New York Times Misleads On Economics, Too [Updated]

Featured image Paul and others have devastated David Kirkpatrick’s dishonest reporting on Benghazi in the New York Times. Kirkpatrick is obviously trying to minimize the Benghazi scandal in order to lend a hand to the Democratic Party in general, and Hillary Clinton in particular. Simultaneously, another controversy has been brewing over dishonest reporting by the Times, this time in the field of economics. I wrote about it here: Times reporter David Kocieniewski »

Get Your Hayek On

Featured image It’s been a while since we checked in on Friedrich Hayek (though I did write about him in connection with Obamacare in one of my first Forbes.com columns), but it is worth drawing your attention to a short series of video lectures about Hayek from Tyler Cowen of George Mason University. In addition to writing an occasional column for the business pages of the New York Times, Cowen and his »

The Obama economic boomlet — is it finally here?

Featured image While most of us have fixated, quite justifiably, on various Obamacare fiascos, the U.S. economy has been taking off. James Pethokoukis has the details. He notes that the economy grew by a revised 4.1 percent annual pace in the third quarter. Economists expect growth during 2014 at a rate of 3.0 to 3.5 percent. Pethokoukis thinks there’s a good chance that 2014 will be the best for the American economy »

The pivot that isn’t

Featured image Charles Lane writes about President Obama’s “pivot” to economic inequality. Like other commentators, Lane misses the fact that there is no pivot. Addressing inequality has been the organizing theme of the Obama administration — from the stimulus to Obamacare to “regionalism.” Until now, Obama has tried to conceal his redistributionist agenda. Indeed, when a congressman told Michelle Obama that the stimulus plan was the best anti-poverty program in a generation, »

Who Are the “Rich”? We Are

Featured image The Associated Press discovers something that Scott and I pointed out quite a few years ago in our paper, “The Truth About Income Inequality”: the “rich” are all around us: Fully 20 percent of U.S. adults become rich for parts of their lives, wielding extensive influence over America’s economy and politics, according to new survey data. These “new rich,” made up largely of older professionals, working married couples and more »

About That Jobs Report [Updated]

Featured image Last week’s jobs report was hailed by some as good news, and, with a net gain of 203,000 jobs (pending correction), it could have been worse, even with 41% of those jobs in the public sector [UPDATE: See clarification below]. But in the larger perspective, the jobs picture remains bleak. James Pethokoukis of the American Enterprise Institute provides this sobering context: 1. There are still 1.1 million fewer employed Americans »

The Minimum Wage and Obamacare: A Common Denominator

Featured image Liberals are again campaigning to raise the minimum wage. The know-nothingism behind their position is appalling; not too many years ago, both the New York Times and the Washington Post editorialized that the minimum wage should be repealed. That was in the 1980s, before partisanship overcame everything else. Here’s the thing about the minimum wage: it doesn’t do much damage, as long as you set it safely below the amount »

Obama Pivots to Income Inequality

Featured image Today President Obama announced to an audience at the far-left Center for American Progress that he will spend the remainder of his term in office focusing on income inequality. He began by saying that middle-class Americans are struggling, and the American Dream is threatened. He is right. Statistics on the White House’s own web site indicate that since Obama took office, median family income has fallen, per capita income has »

Confessions of a quantitative easer

Featured image The Wall Street Journal publishes an important column by Andrew Huszar. Huszar had worked at the Fed for seven years, until early 2008, when he left for Wall Street. He was recruited in the spring of 2009 to return to the Fed from Wall Street to execute what turned out to be “an unprecedented shopping spree.” He took the job “managing what was at the heart of QE’s bond-buying spree–a »

Oh Yeah, Record Poverty Levels, Too

Featured image Thank goodness we don’t have a Republican in the White House! If we did, the country would be in awful shape. Not only would millions of people be out of work with millions more losing their health care coverage, we would also be experiencing record levels of poverty. By one measure, California has the nation’s highest poverty rate, with the District of Columbia in second place. Go figure! I guess »

Year of the Unemployed Woman

Featured image Via Drudge, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that women are dropping out of the labor force in droves. And, no, it’s not because times are so good they can stay home and bake: American women participated in the nation’s labor force in September at a rate that matched the lowest level in 24 years, according to data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. At the same time, »