An Off Ramp on the Road to War

When Iranian-backed mobs stormed the American embassy in Iraq, and Trump responded by ordering that Major General Qassem Soleimani be permanently removed from his day- and night-job as chief organizer of terrorism in the region, many forecasters scrapped their outlooks for 2020. Then both the Iranian Ayatollah and the American President confined themselves to restrained […]

The Confrontation With Iran Drones On

Just when you think your crystal ball is a bit clearer than usual, events intrude to fog it up. It is now more difficult than ever to decide what the U.S. economy, indeed the global economy, will look like tomorrow, much less in the year that is about to break upon us. All will depend […]

The Dems Impeach, Trump Notches Trade Wins

The impeachment process rolls on, with the House’s partisan bill of impeachment heading towards the senate and a partisan acquittal. As with a mystery movie the ending of which has been tipped by a reviewer, so with impeachment — the end is known, making the process less than riveting viewing. Which might be why Democratic […]

It’s the Economy Stupid – Unless It Isn’t

Impeachment is a hoax, says the President, and with some reason, given the paucity of evidence of a high crime or misdemeanor, and a procedure that makes Stalin’s show trials, minus the coerced confessions, a model of procedural probity. No matter: no one seems to care. “The evidence demonstrates”, write scholars Christopher Achen and Larry […]

Jobs Trump Impeachment Imbroglio

Consumers increased their early holiday spending — from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday — by 16%, with $124M shopping in stores and $142M online. But there are six fewer shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, so it is only to be expected that these early shopping days would be busier for retailers than the same […]

The Fed is in a Good Place, not so the Fisc

There they were. The titans of the New York financial community. Come to the New York Economic Club to lunch on a large portion of crow. Many of the diners, themselves arrivistes in the eyes of old-moneyed New Yorkers, have always regarded Donald Trump, an emigrant from Queens to Manhattan, as an über-arriviste, a vulgarian […]

Of Rates, Jobs, and Trade Wars

Two announcements dominated the economic news this past week. On Friday the government surprised by reporting that the economy added 128,000 jobs, to which add 42,000 to account for the temporary effect of the General Motors strike. The frosting on the jobs cake was an upward revision of 95,000 in the August and September reports. […]

“Wall Street Hates Uncertainty”, Jim Cramer, CNBC Analyst

Uncertainty. Perhaps the most repeated word in corporate boardrooms and policy shops these days. For the lion-hearted it spells opportunity, daring to go where others fear to tread, in search of outsize rewards. For the faint-hearted, it means cold sweats and cancelled investment and hiring plans. For policymakers it spells impotence. If insufficient demand is […]

The American Economy Bucks Headwinds, Domestic and Foreign

The international monetary Fund now thinks the global economy will grow at a 3% annual rate this year. In July, it put that figure at 3.2%. It blames the revision on barriers to trade, which are estimated by the World Trade Organization to reduce the growth in merchandise trade this year to 1.2%, the lowest […]

Revolution or Reform: The Future of Market Capitalism

Capitalism, at least as we have known it, R.I.P. Burial to take place on election day, November 3, 2020. Cause of death: the refusal of dominant elites to consider the consequences of so-called free trade, special tax treatments, and some of their other favorite programs. Grave-diggers to include Donald Trump and a person to be […]