Economy

Liberalism Meets Reality In the Comic Book Business

Featured image Via InstaPundit, a lesson in economics for liberals. This time, it’s the minimum wage: San Francisco’s Proposition J, which 77 percent of voters approved in November, will raise the minimum wage in the city to $15 by 2018. As of today, May 1, [Brian] Hibbs is required by law to pay his employees at Comix Experience, and its sister store, Comix Experience Outpost on Ocean Avenue, $12.25 per hour. That’s »

Don’t Look Now, But. . .

Featured image The Wall Street Journal has two items of special note today.  The first is a good article on the debate between Ben Bernanke and Larry Summers about how to understand our low interest rate environment: For more than a year, Mr. Summers has advanced the theory that “secular stagnation” is to blame: a chronic shortfall in demand. Mr. Bernanke disagrees, blaming a combination of cyclical and special factors. They both »

The Asia Bank Freakout

Featured image Lost amidst the news of the Iran deal is a simmering controversy—actually more like a total Establishment freakout—over China’s initiative to start the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which China would dominate. It appears to be an attempt by China to set up a regional international finance structure to rival the U.S.-dominated World Bank and International Monetary Fund. The U.S. opposes this initiative, because it supposedly threatens to upset the »

The Economy Continues to Sputter: It’s a Mystery!

Featured image It was a bad week for the economy. A mere 126,000 jobs were added in March, far below expectations, and average pay declined. One wonders how many of those jobs were part time. Further, the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta cut its estimate of first quarter GDP growth to zero: The U.S. economy isn’t off to a great start in 2015. It’s looking so rotten that the Federal Reserve Bank »

Blogging Ben Flogs the Market

Featured image This week former Fed chief Ben Bernanke started a blog hosted by the Brookings Institution, and his first week of posts concerns the subject of—wait for it now, I know it will come as a big surprise . . . interest rates. In the first of a series of three posts this week, Helicopter Ben makes the point that interest rates are driven chiefly by economic fundamentals. Well knock me »

By Its Own Criteria, the Obama Administration Is An Economic Failure

Featured image Lately there has been a fair amount of happy talk from liberal pundits about our supposedly robust economy. Such optimistic evaluations have been guarded, since everyone knows that the jobs picture is still bleak, largely because of runaway legal and illegal immigration. But there is an even more fundamental measure by which the Obama administration is an economic failure. The 2014 numbers are now in on America’s gross domestic product, »

Democrats shouldn’t pop the champagne over sub-3 percent economic growth

Featured image Washington Post reporters Chico Harlan and Jim Tankersley spike the ball on behalf of the Democrats in an article called “Healthy economy forces Republicans to rethink Obama-skewering strategy.” Their talking point is that our “robust economy. . .is threatening the longtime Republican strategy of criticizing President Obama for holding back growth and hiring, forcing the GOP to overhaul its messaging at the beginnings of a presidential campaign.” Harlan and Tankersley »

Speaking of Underinflated Balls. . .

Featured image Did you catch the economic news yesterday? The U.S. economy hit “speed bumps,” according to the Wall Street Journal’s lede story, but it would appear that those berms may be quicksand traps. Fourth quarter economic growth came in at only 2.6 percent, well below the summer’s 5 percent pace. Given that the middling economic growth we have enjoyed has been largely consumer driven, it suggests a fragile economy that could »

Lame Duck Obama Gets Old-time Left-Wing Religion

Featured image White House officials have leaked a preview of President Obama’s State of the Union speech. ABC News described the centerpiece of the president’s wish list: “Obama to Propose Capital Gains Tax Hikes to to Benefit Middle Class.” Specifically, Obama will propose raising the top capital gains rate from 20% to 28%. This would be paired with increasing inheritance taxes and imposing new taxes on banks. How will all of this »

Fight! Fight! Sachs Versus Krugman!

Featured image Wasn’t it Henry Kissinger who said of the Iran-Iraq war back in the 1980s that it was too bad both sides couldn’t lose? That’s how you feel when Jeffrey Sachs, the thuggish Columbia University economist (er, “professor of sustainable development” according to his bio) whose bad advice arguably paved the way for the rise of Russia’s post-Cold War crony capitalist oligarchs, delivers some smack on Paul Krugman. But that’s exactly »

France Joins the Supply Side: Paul Krugman Hardest Hit

Featured image With lefty nostalgists like Paul Krugman pining away for a return to the punitive income tax rates of up to 90 percent in the 1950s, it is worth taking in what just happened in France. France’s unreconstructed socialist president Francois Hollande made a big splash upon taking office of instituting a 75 percent income tax on all incomes over 1 million Euros. So how’d that work out? From Yahoo news »

About that 5% GDP Growth Rate…

Featured image Just before Christmas, the Commerce Department announced that third quarter GDP growth came in at an upwardly-revised 5% annual rate. Nearly everyone hailed this as wonderful economic news. The New York Times celebrated the apparent return to rapid growth: [H]ere, for the holidays, is the festive news: The economy roared ahead at a 5 percent annual growth rate in the July through September quarter, the fastest quarterly growth since 2003. »

Where Did the Jobs Go?

Featured image Somewhat remarkably, given that it has presided over the worst recovery–by far–of the post-war era, the Obama administration tries to slice and dice employment numbers to portray itself as a champion of job creation. There are, indeed, a few more jobs today than there were six years ago. Yet for most Americans, the employment scene has gotten worse, not better. Why is that? Senate Budget Committee staff offer data in »

Minimum Wage, Maximum Ignorance

Featured image It was the University of Chicago’s John Cochrane, one of the celebrated members of the Power Line 100, who wrote that “Once upon a time, the minimum wage, like free trade, was a basic test of whether you were awake in the first week of econ 1. We put a horizontal line in a supply and demand graph. Minimum wages increase unemployment of poor people.” But a higher minimum wage »

Why the Gallup Poll Means Deep Trouble for Hillary

Featured image Gallup headlines: Obama Approval Drops Among Working-Class Whites. Here, “working class” includes all non-college graduates, some 60-65% of the adult white population. Gallup’s chart shows President Obama’s approval rating among white college graduates and non-college graduates from the beginning of his administration to the end of October. His 27% approval rating among non-college graduates is indeed striking: But perhaps more important is Obama’s steep decline within that demographic. Since he »

Yes—Let Liberals Bail Out Detroit

Featured image Back in May I suggested, less than half facetiously, that if we are indeed to consider paying reparations for slavery, the Democratic Party should have to pick up the entire tab, for all of the obvious reasons. I was reminded of that idea when stumbling across the most interesting story on the front page of today’s New York Times: “Finding $816 Million, and Fast, to Save Detroit.” The details are »

In defense of QE

Featured image A long-time reader and professional investor responded both to the critical if tentative substance as well as the spirit of inquiry in which I posted “The Age of QE” yesterday. Our reader’s company is devoted to private equity investment and he has asked me to withhold his name for professional reasons; I thought readers interested in the subject would appreciate his response. He writes: I want to offer some perspective »