Economy

The Law of Supply and Demand In One Venn Diagram

Featured image No one expects consistency from a liberal. Why? Here is just one example: liberals recognize the law of supply of demand, or not, at will, based not on logic but on ideological preferences. Coyote Blog illustrates the point amusingly with this Venn diagram, which has the added virtue of ridiculing Paul Krugman. Click to enlarge: »

Let’s Not Drive Down Wages With Immigration “Reform”

Featured image Today’s jobs report was disappointing–only 142,000 jobs added, well below analysts’ expectations; 60,000 workers left the labor force; June and July payroll estimates were revised downward; and 12% are either unemployed, or working part-time while seeking full-time employment. All of which raises, once again, the question why anyone would consider it a good idea to import tens of millions of new, unskilled and semi-skilled workers to compete with Americans who »

Which States Are the Richest? The Answer May Surprise You

Featured image It has long been obvious that it takes a lot of money to live in New York or San Francisco, while you can get along on much less in, say, Nebraska. But only in April of this year did the Bureau of Economic Analysis systematically compute real per capita income for each of the 50 states, plus the District of Columbia. You can see the results for 2012, the only »

Uber Meets Liberalism Uber Alles

Featured image There are days when I wonder whether Salon is for real, or whether it’s an elaborate gag, similar to the theory that all of Paul Krugman’s and Tom Friedman’s columns are actually written by a bunch of madcap interns at the Heritage Foundation wondering how long it will take New York Times readers to figure out. We’ve commented here before about how Uber, the app-based car service, is catching on »

Risk? Did You Say Risk?

Featured image One of my favorite financial axioms is that about every ten years or so we experience the worst financial crisis in the last 50 years.  And for the last couple of years there has been no shortage of predictions from clever and successful financiers that we really haven’t solved the banking problems that contributed to the meltdown of 2008—just postponed them for another day, or, worse, building up trouble for »

How To Wreck Thomas Frank’s Day in Three Easy Steps

Featured image If Thomas (What’s the Matter With Kansas?) Frank didn’t exist, we’d have to invent him as a museum specimen of a clueless liberal.  Among other things, if people are supposed to vote their economic self-interest, why didn’t he write What’s the Matter With the Upper West Side?  Apparently only voting against your economic self-interest for Republicans counts as evidence of stupidity. But Frank’s own retrograde ignorance is on full display »

The Future That Doesn’t Work

Featured image Scratch a Progressive, and they’ll tell you that their ideal for what America should look like is the “social democracies” of enlightened Europe.  That’s why we need higher minimum wage laws, pro-union mandates, and other regulations on the job market.  (One new idea in The New Yorker this week is a three-day work week.)  Meanwhile, younger Americans are finding it harder than ever to get started in today’s economy, and »

Minnesota Cafe Charges “Minimum Wage Fee,” Liberals Outraged

Featured image This is currently the most-read story on the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s web site: “Stillwater cafe faces heat for adding ‘minimum wage fee’ to tab.” Minnesota’s Democratic legislature recently voted to raise the state’s minimum wage to $8 an hour, 75 cents more than the federal level. Naturally, that increase is leading to higher prices: A small cafe in Stillwater has thrown itself into the big battle over Minnesota’s minimum wage »

Why Is Haiti Poor? [With comment by Paul]

Featured image I recently discovered, via a reader, an excellent web site called Manhattan Contrarian. There is lots of good stuff there, but consider this article: Why Is Haiti So Poor? The wealth of nations, or lack thereof, is a topic of longstanding interest. Haiti and the Dominican Republic, which share the island of Hispaniola, are something of a laboratory experiment, a bit like East and West Berlin. Manhattan Contrarian notes that »

Charles Koch: How to Get Our Economy Moving Again

Featured image If there is anyone in the world who knows how to create wealth and generate good, high-paying jobs, it is Charles Koch. In USA Today, Koch sets out a basic prescription for how to improve our economy, accompanied by some eye-popping statistics: Like most Americans, I am deeply concerned about our weak economic recovery and its effects on millions of families. Opportunity, especially for the young and disadvantaged, is declining. »

The Awful Jobs Picture: 6.2% Unemployment Is Only the Beginning

Featured image The Labor Department reported today that the economy added 209,000 jobs in July as the official unemployment rate rose to 6.2%. But, as Peter Morici explains, that dismal unemployment number only begins to tell the story: Adding in discouraged adults who say they would begin looking for work if conditions were better, those working part-time but say they want full time work, and the effects of immigration, the unemployment rate »

Mid-Week in Pictures: Milton Friedman’s Birthday

Featured image It’s Milton Friedman’s 102nd birthday today, and as such a good excuse for some reminders of his greatness, and a few pics that illustrate the economic divide of our time.  This is perhaps my favorite Milton Friedman quote, just as true now as when he first wrote it: “The society that puts [economic] equality before freedom will end up with neither. The society that puts freedom before equality will end »

Remy Rings a Bell

Featured image The New York Times Magazine today carries a cover story about why math is hard, and perhaps that helps explain widespread economic illiteracy. Maybe the Times should do a sequel on this very topic, except that it might expose too many of its premier columnists (not mentioning any names of course). Anyway, most economists will tell you that your attitude about the minimum wage is a test as to whether you »

The scandal of part-time America

Featured image Mort Zuckerman, writing in the Wall Street Journal, notes the deceptive nature of the hype surrounding the June jobs report showing the addition of 288,000 jobs. In reality, full time jobs decreased by 523,000 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics — a shocking number that is obscured, but hardly offset, by the addition of 800,000 part time jobs. Following the release of the June report, President Obama proclaimed, “Make »

Today’s Jobs Report: A Note of Caution

Featured image Today’s jobs report was the best in a long time, thank goodness. But a friend on the Hill points out some facts that shed light on the broader issues that are still very much with us: Today’s report shows increasing strength in the jobs market. June employment (according to the survey of businesses) rose by 288,000 jobs. The BLS revised their April jobs estimate from 282,000 to 304,000 and their »

The Fed Bubble?

Featured image Further to yesterday’s note on “Behind the Levitation” about the Federal Reserve’s easy money policy, Ron Greiss of The Chart Store kindly sent along these four graphs that display the astronomical expansion of the Fed’s balance sheet in the aftermath of the crash of 2008.  These make for sober viewing indeed.  Hard to see how this ends well (click to enlarge any of these): Ron Greiss notes that correlation does not equal »

Behind the Levitation

Featured image Last week when I commented on the downward revision of the already weak First Quarter GDP numbers, several commenters wrote in to ask: what is keeping the stock market so high?  Great question, with the best answer being ZIRP, the Federal Reserve’s “zero interest rate policy,” now matched by many other central banks (with some actually now employing negative interest rates).  I’ll leave for another time whether the risk of »