The Burden of Debt

Both ends of the political spectrum have become increasingly cavalier about debt. They may live to regret it. A spectre is haunting the world. No, not communism, which can’t even find a home in Russia. The spectre is debt. The creditor class has nothing to lose but its Kapital, and the bourgeoisie nothing to lose […]

A Goldilocks Economy That Trump Wants Hotter

Disaggregate. That’s what to do when a bit of economic data is released and proves so pleasing to the administration that all the President’s men, persons, these days, hie to the television studios to claim it’s all due to the shrewd economic management of their boss. Which is what happened when the government’s advance estimate […]

Saving Capitalism from the Capitalists

Capitalism is in crisis. Who says so? Bernie Sanders, a 77-year old millionaire white male senator from rural Vermont, a state that established a single-payer health care system and then abandoned it for requiring untenable tax increases. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 29-year young telegenic Hispanic congresswoman from New York who had become a leader of the […]

Trump’s Coming War with the Fed

Like Andrew Jackson before him, Trump is preparing to go to war with America’s central bank. Consider this: Donald Trump installed a portrait of Andrew Jackson on the Oval Office. Add this: Andrew Jackson fought a bitter battle with his cabinet, fired two Treasury secretaries, and mounted a campaign against the Bank of the United […]

Outlook

Good news: last month’s government report that the economy had added only 20,000 jobs in February was an anomaly. In March, 196,000 new jobs were created, about in line with the long-term job-creation trend. The unemployment rate remains at a low 3.8% and hourly wages ticked up nicely, to 3.2% above last year’s level. So […]

All Aboard The Runaway Spending Train

Both parties have abandoned even the pretense of budgetary restraint Nothing new on the budget front, or so it seems at first glance. President Trump submitted to Congress a $4.7 trillion budget for the 2020 fiscal year, which begins on Oct. 1 of this year. That’s almost 8 percent more than he asked for in […]

When Is A Budget Not A Budget?

Kabuki plays are known for their showmanship – elaborate costumes and extravagant acting – and for their predetermined outcomes. We saw Act One of such a drama last week when President Trump sent to congress his $4.7 trillion budget for the 2020 fiscal year, which begins on October 1st of this year. Congress then starred […]

An Import We Can Do Without: Economic Slowdown

“O woe! O woeful, woeful, woeful day….Never was seen so black a day as this…” past Wednesday, when the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) reduced its forecast for US economic growth this year from 2.7% to – wait for it – 2.6%, which is the rate at which the economy grew in the […]

The Old Order Changeth, Alas

Just when economists thought we had begun to understand how to develop policies that might keep the US economy on an even keel, reality bit. Start with inflation. When the economy reaches full employment, wages will begin to rise and push up prices, triggering inflation at an annual rate higher than the 2% the monetary […]

A Failure of Pedagogy

From Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to Donald J. Trump, our political class is profoundly ignorant of basic economics. We economists, especially those of us who have had some responsibility for educating students, have a lot to answer for. Presumably all the politicians strutting across our television screens did attend some sort of educational institution at one time. […]