Consumers Aren’t So Dumb

Featured image The University of Michigan’s Consumer Survey found that consumer confidence slipped in May to 82.8, down from 88.3 in April. News outlets generally purported to be surprised by this development: RTT News: “Consumer sentiment in the U.S. has unexpectedly decreased in the month of May….” Bloomberg: “U.S. consumer sentiment deteriorated unexpectedly in early May…” Yahoo Finance: “U.S. consumer sentiment deteriorated unexpectedly in early May….” MSN: “U.S. consumer sentiment index slumps »

Another sensible decision from Ron DeSantis

Featured image Florida governor Ron DeSantis has made mostly good decisions throughout the pandemic, in my opinion. Now, as the pandemic recedes, he’s made another good one. DeSantis intends to require unemployment claimants to show they have looked for work. The requirement will likely kick in once an executive order waiving it expires on May 29. The governor’s decision is a response to the difficulties some Florida businesses, especially those in hospitality, »

Have American youths been “stunted”?

Featured image At Axios, Erica Pandley argues that the pandemic has “stunted” the growth of America’s youth. There’s no doubt that young Americans have been set back by the pandemic and, in particular, by policies (some of them misguided) imposed to cope with it. But stunted? To me, that suggests a permanence that’s not plausible. The economic and social impact of the pandemic pale in comparison to those of the Great Depression. »

Who tamed whom?

Featured image The headline of this Washington Post article is “How Joe Biden tamed the left — at least for now.” The authors show, in essence, that Biden tamed the left by giving leftists what they want. One might say the left tamed Biden. The authors claim to find it “surprising” that Biden and the left are getting on so well. If the authors are surprised, they’re awfully naive. The better view »

Apres Pelosi, Le Deluge

Featured image This morning the Senate passed the Democrats’ $1.9 trillion spending bill on a party line vote, with every Democrat voting in favor. I take this to mean that there are officially no sane Democrats left. With something like $1 trillion still unspent from Congress’s last “covid stimulus” bill, the economic consequences of the current boondoggle, which has little to do with covid and a great deal to do with pork »

Storm Clouds for Biden (1)

Featured image We’ve seen liberal grandees like Larry Summers warning that the Democrats’ stimulus plans are too big and risk inflation and other economic troubles down the road. Now add to that chorus the warning of Steven Pearlstein, the Washington Post‘s long time business and economics columnist who generally leans left. Pearlstein is retiring from the Post, and his last column sounds a striking warning that Biden and crew are sure to ignore: »

Red States Trounce Blue States

Featured image One of the notable features of 21st century life is that America’s blue states are failing and losing population, while red states are thriving and growing. This is blindingly obvious to anyone who travels around the country, or to those who have seen half of their friends move to Nashville. But today Stephen Moore’s Committee to Unleash Prosperity sent an email that shows the trend graphically: [I]f progressive tax, spend, »

A Telling Sign of Biden’s Radicalism

Featured image Back in January 1993, when Bill Clinton ended 12 years of medieval rule under Reagan and Bush, the famed environmentalist David Brower published the following full-page ad in the New York Times: What was so brain-damaging about “economics”? Cost-benefit analysis, that’s what. The Reagan Administration had ordered the Office of Management and Budget to conduct cost-benefit reviews of proposed government regulations, and if they cost more than they benefits provided, »

Incompetent Dem donor to help lead Biden’s economic response to pandemic

Featured image The Seattle Times reports that Suzi LeVine, the departing head of Washington’s Employment Security Department (ESD), is Joe Biden’s pick to lead the federal office that helps states manage unemployment benefits. In this post — interim assistant secretary of the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) at the Labor Department — LeVine would be at the forefront of the Biden administration’s economic response to the pandemic. The ETA has more than »

History Reruns

Featured image Today’s foundational texts are the famous Marx quote about history repeating itself first as tragedy and then as farce, and Santayana’s axiom that those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it. • On the first, we have the ever-farcical liberals going from stepping on rakes to stepping on land mines. Or in this case, Vice President Kamala Harris telling the people of West Virginia that they need to »

GameStop Contrarianism

Featured image A good friend who is extremely knowledgeable about financial matters writes about the GameStop/Reddit story: I find the whole spectacle a disturbing case of unreason and run-amok passions — including, if not especially, on our side. Some questions: (1) What’s wrong with hedge funds? They’re just high risk investment vehicles; the lumpen-intelligentsia might consider that teachers’ pensions and those of “public servants” — to the extent that they are actually »

Our Gamestop “Short Squeeze” Politics

Featured image I imagine a lot of readers are following the tulip-mania over Gamestop, which is roiling Wall Street and costing a lot of hedge funds some serious money. It is certain to end as such speculative excess always does—with a crash leaving a handful of people who got out at or near the top with nice gains, and a lot of losers on the side of the road. It is sure »

Thomas Sowell in Full

Featured image Jason Riley of the Manhattan Institute has completed his biography of Thomas Sowell, and Maverick: A Biography of Thomas Sowell will appear in May (though by all means pre-order it now). In the meantime, it really is worth finding a spare hour to take in this documentary about Sowell based on Jason’s book, from our friends at Free to Choose media:   »

And Just Like That…

Featured image America begins to re-open. Joe Biden says most schools can be back in business in 100 days. Across the country, shutdowns are being relaxed or ended. Here in Minnesota, for example, restaurants and bars were allowed to re-open at 50% capacity on Monday. Via InstaPundit, Stephen Miller comments on the phenomenon: Now that the presidential election is behind us, Democratic governors and mayors will be happy to see the economy »

MMT Gets a WWF-Style Smackdown

Featured image The hottest thing among leftist political economists is “Modern Monetary Theory” (MMT), which holds that a sovereign government can borrow and spend all the money it wants because it can’t actually default on its own currency. This warmed-over Keynesianism wouldn’t get anywhere except in a time of unusually low interest rates and very low inflation. One of the leading advocates of MMT is Stephanie Kelton of Stony Brook University, the »

Walter Williams, RIP

Featured image Another sad passing to report today—the economist Walter Williams, at age 84. Where to begin describing this wonderful man and teacher? I first came across his early book The State Against the Blacks when it came out in the early 1980s. This and many other works over the years made the compelling case that, as William himself put it, “The welfare state has done to black Americans what slavery couldn’t »

The Left’s Class War on the Working Class

Featured image The left is all about class warfare, but you’d be mistaken if you think the class they want to make war on is the upper class. Quite the contrary: the left is the upper class now, and their longtime critique of “neoliberalism” as a mechanism to transfer wealth from the poor to the rich is ironically accurate, as that is exactly what the left intends to do. Two pieces of »