Economy

Trump In the Lions’ Den

Featured image As Scott wrote earlier today, President Trump is in Davos, Switzerland, for a meeting of…whom, exactly? The Western world’s elites, I guess. Scott quoted the section of Trump’s speech that rejected the environmental catastrophism that we have all put up with for decades. News accounts have focused mostly on Trump’s supposed duel with a Swedish teenager, but that was a small portion of his speech, which was rather brilliant and »

The Patriarchy Smashed?

Featured image Yesterday’s jobs report—145,000 new jobs—is only so-so, but there are two more interesting features of the labor market right now. The first is that wages are rising fastest at the bottom end of the income scale, suggesting that sustained economic growth is better than redistribution or minimum wage mandates for lifting the prospects of low-skilled workers. Of course, the left is not interested in growth any more, as I’ve often »

Why Trump Will Cruise to Victory Next Year

Featured image Britain’s Sun newspaper comments on a new report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research. The Sun’s focus is Britain, but the report is highly relevant to the U.S. as well: BRITAIN’s economy has defied forecasts predicting it would be overtaken by France as a new report reveals we have cemented sixth place in the world. And by 2034 the UK’s economy is now predicted to be a quarter »

Recession? What recession?

Featured image In August, some economic forecasters were saying there was a 50 percent chance of a downturn by no later than the end of next year. Now, the conventional view is that 2020 will be a year of steady and sustained economic growth. Given the track record of economic forecasters, this prediction may or may not be good news for the economy. But let’s take it at face value and assume »

Why Do So Many Young People Vote Left?

Featured image Here are a couple of data points that suggest part of the answer, at least, is that they are remarkably ill-informed. First, a video in which students are asked whether they favor Medicare for all. Of course they do! Then they are told a few basic facts about the Sanders proposal, now widely adopted by Democratic politicians, all of which come as a surprise. (“What, you have to pay for »

Paul Volcker, RIP

Featured image News this morning of the passing of Paul Volcker, the chairman of the Federal Reserve during the key period from 1979 – 1987 when inflation was wrung out of the American economy, a painful though necessary move whose long-run benefits we are still experiencing today. The Reuters obituary notice today says: Volcker was appointed Fed chairman by a Democratic president, Jimmy Carter, and then reappointed by a Republican, Ronald Reagan. »

Impeachment In a Time of Prosperity

Featured image The Democrats insist that President Trump is a threat to the republic, although no one can explain why. Meanwhile, their mantra has gone from “It’s the economy, stupid” to “Economy? What’s that?” The Labor Department issued its November jobs report this morning, and it is spectacular. CNBC reports: The jobs market turned in a stellar performance in November, with nonfarm payrolls surging by 266,000 and the unemployment rate falling to »

The Power Line Show, Ep. 153: They’re Both Wrong!, with John Tamny

Featured image Just in time for your weekend reveries, John Tamny of Freedom Works and RealClearMarkets joins me to discuss his provocative new book, They’re Both Wrong: A Policy Guide for America’s Frustrated Independent Thinkers, just out this week from our friends at the American Institute for Economic Research. Tamny is one of the great imaginative and original contrarian thinkers of our time on matters of economics and policy, as readers of »

California Keeps Digging

Featured image The “First Law of Holes” (“If you’re in one—stop digging”) is usually attributed to the late British politician Denis Healey, but whatever. One thing is certain: California never heard of the First Law of Holes. • Item, from the Washington Post a while back: The One Issue Every Economist Can Agree Is Bad: Rent Control By Megan McArdle There aren’t that many things you can get economists to agree on. »

Why Democrats Don’t Talk About the Economy

Featured image As I and many others have noted, the Democrats barely mentioned the economy during last week’s presidential debate. Why not? Because they look silly if they try to deny that the Trump administration, with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and deregulation on a massive scale, has given the economy a major boost. Trump’s boom is a particular problem for the Democrats because it is being felt where it counts, »

It’s the Economy, Stupid

Featured image I did better than most viewers last night; I stuck out the Democratic debate for an hour or an hour and a half. I was struck by the fact that in all that time, the economy was never mentioned. It turns out I didn’t miss a thing: the economy was barely mentioned during the entire marathon evening. This is understandable, perhaps, to the extent that the Democrats have no answers »

The Fed, Trump’s other “fall guy”

Featured image At the micro level, President Trump blames “bad management” for the downward turn of certain companies. At the macro level, he blames the Federal Reserve Board for a weakening of the American economy. Of the two, the Fed is a more plausible “fall guy.” Like trade policy, but unlike “bad management,” interest rate levels are not an economic constant. They are subject to change by the Fed and such changes, »

Are American companies suffering from an outbreak of “bad management”?

Featured image Here’s President Trump arguing that bad management, not tariffs, is what’s hurting American companies: A lot of badly run companies are trying to blame tariffs. In other words, if they’re running badly and they’re having a bad quarter, or if they’re just unlucky in some way, they’re likely to blame the tariffs. It’s not the tariffs. It’s called “bad management.” If you think about it for half a second, this »

Loose Ends (94)

Featured image •  The New York Times had a whimsical story over the weekend about vegetarians and vegans who gave it up to be come butchers.  The best parts of the story: Before she was a butcher, Ms. Kavanaugh was a strict vegetarian. She stopped eating meat for more than a decade, she said, out of a deep love for animal life and respect for the environment. . .  She returned to »

U.S. designates China a currency manipulator

Featured image The U.S. government has determined that China is manipulating its currency. It will engage with the International Monetary Fund to try to eliminate this unfair form of competition. If there is no progress within a year, China could face sanctions including its firms being prohibited from competition for U.S. government contracts. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin made the announcement today. Stock prices fell dramatically, with the Dow Jones average shedding more »

Should the U.S. adopt an “industrial policy”?

Featured image At the recent National Conservatism Conference in Washington, the crowd voted overwhelmingly in favor of a resolution calling for the United States to adopt an “industrial policy.” In so doing, the conservative crowd agreed with Sen. Elizabeth Warren who, as John has noted, also wants the U.S. to adopt such a policy. The idea is for the government, through a set of policies — taxes, spending subsidies, regulation, and tariffs »

Annals of Liberal Hypocrisy

Featured image You know the old saying, “If liberals didn’t have double-standards. . .” Two items out the last few days deserve a bigger horselaugh than usual. First, Bernie Sanders has agreed to pay his campaign staff a $15 minimum wage, but will do so by reducing the hours of many campaign workers—which is what has happened in several cities, such as Seattle, that have raised their minimum wage. Fox News reports: »