A Master Class In Economic Policy [Updated]

Featured image During this weird time when it is illegal for my organization, Center of the American Experiment, to sponsor the kinds of in-person events we normally produce, we are instead taking to the internet. We have planned a series of four programs under the rubric of “Master Class In Public Policy.” The first one is scheduled for tomorrow at noon Central time, and features our senior economist, John Phelan. Phelan will »

Tom Cotton on the Wuhan coronavirus and the economy

Featured image Our friend Sen. Tom Cotton has been at the forefront of discussions about the Wuhan coronavirus and how we should respond to it. We posted his powerful denunciation of Democrats for their attempt to hold the coronavirus relief bill hostage to a wish list of pet Democratic programs having essentially nothing to do with responding to the virus. Sen. Cotton has also led the charge to hold China accountable for »

Dueling arguments about Wuhan coronavirus data

Featured image Yesterday, I posted a piece by Aaron Ginn called “A data-driven look at the Wuhan coronavirus.” I thought it was worth reading, and still do. However, Ginn’s piece has received criticism. I’m posting a lengthy twitter thread by Carl T. Bergstrom, a biology professor, that attacks Ginn’s work. Bergstrom’s response contains a higher ratio of ranting to reasoned analysis than one likes to see. However, I believe it’s worthwhile reading »

Strap In: It’s Going to Get Bumpy

Featured image The big news over the weekend was not the coronavirus, contrary to what you might think from watching the news. The most consequential story of the weekend is the oil price war that has broken out between Saudi Arabia and Russia. Saudi Arabia has decided to increase its production and slash its price to punish Russia for not going along with OPEC quotas designed to prop up the price of »

The Economy Powers On

Featured image It’s another terrible day for the stock market, illustrating the fact that the markets don’t necessarily bear much relation, in the short term, to economic realities. Today the February jobs report was released, and it was a blockbuster: * 273,000 new jobs created, well exceeding expectations. * 85,000 jobs added retrospectively to the January and December reports. * Unemployment rate back down to a historically low 3.5%. * Wages up »

The Fox Butterfield Effect Notices Immigration and Wages

Featured image Many readers will be familiar with the notorious “Fox Butterfield effect,” after the typically clueless New York Times journalist who wondered why crime was falling even though the number of inmates in prisons was going up. As they saying goes, there’s no fixing certain kinds of stupid (and note that the Butterfield Effect about crime is now Democratic Party orthodoxy). I think the Butterfield Effect can be better generalized than »

The Most Important Campaign Document of 2020…

Featured image …is today’s Annual Report of the Council of Economic Advisers, which was issued along with the Economic Report of the President. The vicissitudes of the various campaigns come and go, but the administration’s excellent record on the economy remains the most important factor in the election. To Democrats, the message is: read it and weep. The CEA report is long, 435 pages with appendices. But the most important points can »

The Walter Mondale Republicans?

Featured image Yeah—I’ll bet that’s a headline you never expected to see on Power Line! It is prompted by this news story in today’s Washington Post: Conservative intellectuals launch a new group to challenge free-market ‘fundamentalism’ on the right Oren Cass believes conservatives have blundered by outsourcing GOP economic policymaking to libertarian “fundamentalists” who see the free market as an end unto itself, rather than as a means for improving quality of »

Americans Are Optimistic. So Am I.

Featured image This chart, from Gallup as reported by Bloomberg, shows as clearly as anything what a mountain the Democrats have to climb to win the presidency in November. The Democrats are selling pessimism, but the American people aren’t buying it. And young people, minorities and the less well-educated especially aren’t buying it: Democrats bring up the rear, but even they have a hard time manifesting their party’s negativism. Probably nothing helps »

AOC Strikes Again!

Featured image This tweet by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez reflects the former bartender’s deep dive into intellectual history: There is a town in England called Milton Keynes, but no “famed economist” of that name. Upon being corrected by fellow tweeters, AOC explained that she had conflated John Maynard Keynes and Milton Friedman. Which is funny it its own way. I don’t suppose anyone has told her about Keynes’s view that income inequality is key »

Why Trump Will Be Re-Elected, In One Data Point

Featured image Gallup has some fascinating poll data on Americans’ views of their own financial well-being. The headline sums it up: “Record-High Optimism on Personal Finances in U.S.” Gallup finds that 59% say they are better off than they were a year ago, as opposed to only 20% who say they are worse off. Those are great numbers–interestingly, we are so divided that political affiliation makes a big difference even on a »

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. »