Economics Roundtable

May 2014 Payroll Employment

After 76 months, we finally got back to the prerecession level of payroll employment.

Click on the image to get a bigger version.


The best summary of the state of our economy is the graph (below) of employment as a fraction of population for people over 16 years old. The decrease is large, but the most troubling feature of the graph is the flat trend .

Click on the image to get a bigger version.

Graph-of-the-Year Candidates

Donald Marron likes European interest rates. Click on the image to get a bigger version. Can you find three distinct subperiods?

Brad DeLong favors the U.S. gdp gap.

Remember M1?

Money Supply M1 growth is now over 20% per year over a 12 month lag. M1 growth has touched 20% before, but not with excess reserves of $1.6 trillion. Where is M1 headed?

Click on the chart for a larger version.


The Economics Roundtable is sponsored by EconModel.

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September 3, 2014, 12:04 am, 1328200
(September 3, 2014 12:09 AM, by Bryan Caplan) The shape of the demand curve depends on two forces: the substitution effect and the income effect. A typical treatment:When the price of q1, p1, changes there are two effects on the consumer. First, the price of q1 relative to... (4 ...

September 3, 2014, 12:04 am, 1328199

Okay, so most of you who don’t live in Iowa (and most of you don’t live in Iowa, since it’s not a populous state) probably are unaware that the outcome of the election to replace retiring progressive Iowa senator Tom Harkin—which in turn may determine party control of the Senate—may ...

September 2, 2014, 11:33 pm, 1328198

Economic theory and empirical evidence suggests that most taxes (and regulations) are distortionary in the sense that buyers, sellers, producers, taxpayers, etc. can change their behavior to avoid (or minimize) the tax (or regulation). For example, if a state (or a country) ...

September 2, 2014, 10:44 pm, 1328189

Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead! We have a contract fix against holdouts in sovereign debt restructuring. Here are my two cents on the proposed reforms, as of last Friday. Bottom line is way positive. In my admittedly biased opinion, this is unusually meaningful ...

September 2, 2014, 10:04 pm, 1328186
(September 2, 2014 07:17 PM, by Art Carden) At the beginning of the year, I tweeted The Clickbait Pledge: The Clickbait Pledge: I will click on nothing "shocking," that will "blow [my] mind," or relating to celebrity antics.— Art Carden (@artcarden) January 30, 2014 I therefore found the... (0 ...

September 2, 2014, 10:04 pm, 1328185

Okay, so most of you who don’t live in Iowa (and most of you don’t live in Iowa, since it’s not a populous state) probably are unaware that the outcome of the election to replace retiring progressive Iowa senator Tom Harkin—which in turn may determine party control of the Senate—may ...

September 2, 2014, 9:33 pm, 1328183
People keep asking why I have a spotlight on Ukraine and not Gaza.

It should be obvious. The economic impact of the Civil war in Ukraine has a huge European economic interest.

Moreover, risk of further escalation involving Russia and the US looms large.

The Financial Times ...

September 2, 2014, 8:04 pm, 1328163
(Don Boudreaux)

Nicholas Lardy is interviewed about his new book, Markets Over Mao.  (HT Tyler Cowen)  A slice:

You argue that China’s state-owned enterprises don’t have the power that their opponents say they do. What’s your proof?

SOEs appear to be a relatively small portion of the Chinese economy. They account for ...

September 2, 2014, 7:33 pm, 1328161
The NY Times has published a good case study of how Los Angeles home owners are adapting to climate change and drought conditions. With water use restrictions (rather than water pricing), some lawns are turning brown. We don't have a lawn because we pulled out the grass and planted ...

September 2, 2014, 7:03 pm, 1328125

College graduates may be taking on historically high debt burdens to finance their educations. But it will take them far less time to get a return on that “investment” than it took ...

September 2, 2014, 7:03 pm, 1328124
• All day, Light vehicle sales for August. The consensus is for light vehicle sales to increase to 16.5 million SAAR in August from 16.4 million in July (Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate).

• 10:00 AM, Manufacturers' Shipments, Inventories and Orders (Factory Orders) for July. The consensus is for ...

September 2, 2014, 6:04 pm, 1328123
(September 2, 2014 04:52 PM, by David Henderson) I couldn't resist. Guest blogger Alberto Mingardi's excellent update on Uber's legal status in Germany made me think of this title. Taxi Deutschland successfully sued to prevent ride-share operator Uber from operating throughout Germany. The German government, thus, triumphed over... (0 ...

September 2, 2014, 6:04 pm, 1328122

I have been reading the ebook on Secular Stagnation. It is interesting that two sections in the book have the titles…

Three Issues: Potential Growth, Effective Demand and Sclerosis Further on Effective Demand

Great! We see the term Effective Demand being used. Yet, Effective demand is never ...

September 2, 2014, 5:03 pm, 1328059

Between an economic slump and diehard inflation, the Brazilian central bank is likely to stay put this week, according to forecasters.

Sixteen economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal said they expect the central bank’s benchmark short-term interest rate, the Selic, to remain unchanged at 11% when the bank’s directors end ...

September 2, 2014, 4:45 pm, 1328058

September 2, 2014, 4:05 pm, 1328055

September 2, 2014, 4:04 pm, 1328054

The ECB raised its benchmark rate in 2011 from 1.0% to 1.5%. Since then the rate has moved down to 0.15%. After their benchmark rate was raised in 2011, the Euro area went into a recession. Did the ECB cause ...

September 2, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1328050
US manufacturing continued its expansion for the 15 consecutive month. It has been in expansion since May of 2013 when it registered 50.0.

Manufacturing ISM Index

For details, lets turn to the August 2014 Manufacturing ISM® Report ...

September 2, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1328049
Anna Snider

In her speech “Labor Market Dynamics and Monetary Policy” at the Kansas City Fed’s recent Jackson Hole symposium, Fed chairwoman JanetYellen discussed economic puzzles challenging policymakers, including topics we’ve addressed on Liberty Street Economics. A central and much-debated question is: how tight ...

September 2, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1328048

Talk about two worrisome long-term trends. America, as I have written, is experiencing fewer business startups and less labor market churn. The result, according to a new JP Morgan research note, is the “economic calcification” of the US economy:

The churning that has long characterized the US ...

September 2, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1328047

Uber has been banned, at last temporarily, in Germany. Here is Dieter Schlenker, chairman of Taxi Deutschland a “co-operative founded by taxi companies to provide services to the industry”:

“The Passenger Transport Act regulates the protection of drivers and consumers. That can’t easily be overturned no matter how neoliberal ...

September 2, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1328046

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) released new state crude oil production data yesterday for the month of June, and one of the highlights of that monthly report is that oil output in America’s No. 1 oil-producing state – Texas – continues its phenomenal, eye-popping rise. Here are some details ...

September 2, 2014, 3:23 pm, 1328045

September 2, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1327983

Tim Duy:

Solid Start to September, by Tim Duy: The ISM manufacturing report came in ahead of expectations with the strongest number since 2011:

Moreover, strength was evident throughout the internal components:


September 2, 2014, 2:44 pm, 1327982

September 2, 2014, 2:34 pm, 1327981

A teacher in Maryland finds himself suspended and the subject of a police investigation because of a science fiction story he wrote that includes a shooting at a school in the 31st Century:

He’s a man with many names, and the books he has written have raised ...

September 2, 2014, 2:05 pm, 1327978

Today is the sixty-fifth birthday of Hans-Hermann Hoppe. In the Preface to his The Economics and Ethics of Private Property, Hans says: “My largest debt is to Ludwig von Mises and Murray N. Rothbard, the twentieth century’s two greatest—though much neglected—economists ...

September 2, 2014, 2:05 pm, 1327977

Michael Pettis writes:

The choice, in other words, is not between hard landing and soft landing. China will either choose a “long landing”, in which growth rates drop sharply but in a controlled way such that unemployment remains reasonable even as GDP growth drops to 3% or less, or it will ...

September 2, 2014, 2:04 pm, 1327976
(September 2, 2014 01:45 PM, by David Henderson) A simple economic truth is that water-price hikes can get the job done without the expense--and the inefficiency--of conservation ads and water police--as well as the discord that can arise when neighbors snitch on and shame each other. Also, people... (1 ...

September 2, 2014, 1:33 pm, 1327972

Paul Krugman is wasting his time trying to figure out why the rich and powerful don't like inflation. There's a simple answer, that also explains why the non-rich and non-powerful don't like inflation either.

And you don't need any fancy political economy to figure out the answer. If you ...

September 2, 2014, 1:33 pm, 1327971
Ukraine is already on the hook to the IMF to the tune of $16.7 billion. Today the IMF reassessed: Ukraine Crisis Hits Economy and Could Require Bigger loan.

In its first full review since agreeing a $16.7bn standby facility earlier this year, the IMF warned that the two ...

September 2, 2014, 1:33 pm, 1327970

It may be the most famous bit of economic policy advice ever given to a US president. “Liquidate labor, liquidate stocks, liquidate the farmers, liquidate real estate,” Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon told his boss President Hoover. “It will purge the rottenness out of the system. High costs of ...

September 2, 2014, 1:33 pm, 1327969

September 2, 2014, 1:03 pm, 1327908
Bloomberg News

Mario Draghi has set the bar high for the European Central Bank’s next meeting Thursday.

The bank president’s warning about reduced inflation expectations, made in a speech on Aug. 22, fanned hopes that the ECB may announce ...

September 2, 2014, 1:03 pm, 1327907

At MoneyWatch:

How to shock the U.S. economy back to life, by Mark Thoma: During the Great Recession, U.S. gross domestic production -- the nation's total output of goods and services -- dropped below the trend rate of growth that prevailed before the collapse. More than five years into ...

September 2, 2014, 1:03 pm, 1327906
Notes: This CoreLogic House Price Index report is for July. The recent Case-Shiller index release was for June. The CoreLogic HPI is a three month weighted average and is not seasonally adjusted (NSA).

From CoreLogic: CoreLogic Reports Home Prices Rose by 7.4 Percent Year Over Year ...

September 2, 2014, 12:44 pm, 1327905

September 2, 2014, 12:35 pm, 1327904

The Congressional Budget Office recently put out new budget projections and commentators have had a series of feel-good moments about it. Debt is under control, they say. Projections of Medicare costs continue to fall, they point out. The CBO’s estimates of future interest rates, and hence interest payments, have ...

September 2, 2014, 12:34 pm, 1327903

Despite the presence of several movies anticipated to be blockbusters on the schedule, Hollywood has its worst summer movie season in nearly two decades this year:

LOS ANGELES — American moviegoers sent a clear message to Hollywood over the ...

September 2, 2014, 12:05 pm, 1327898

Mises Daily Tuesday by Robert Batemarco:

Austrian economists have been wrongly accused of many intellectual crimes when it comes to fractional reserve banking. Robert Batemarco adds some clarity to the debate.

September 2, 2014, 12:05 pm, 1327899

Mises Daily Monday by Frank Shostak:

It’s difficult to envisage a downward-sloping yield curve in an unhampered market economy since this would imply that investors are assigning a higher risk to short-term maturities than long-term maturities. But in today’s economy, an upward- ...

September 2, 2014, 12:05 pm, 1327897

Our new class on international finance is up here.  The class description reads as follows:

International finance covers some of the most complex but also important topics in economics. How are exchange rates determined? When if ever are ongoing trade deficits harmful? Are fixed or floating exchange rates better? ...

September 2, 2014, 12:04 pm, 1327896
(September 2, 2014 11:45 AM, by Art Carden) I got off the parking lots roads leading to Samford at around 7:55 after leaving my house three miles away 20 minutes earlier. My time stuck in traffic gave me ample opportunity to think about what my beloved dismal science... (0 ...

September 2, 2014, 12:04 pm, 1327895
(Don Boudreaux)

One of Russ’s classic essays is this contribution to the May 18, 1995, edition of the Wall Street Journal; it’s entitled “If You’re Paying, I’ll Have Top Sirloin.”

Keep Russ’s lesson in mind as you enjoy this photo taken in a restaurant by Texas A&M emeritus economist Steve Pejovich’s daughter ...

September 2, 2014, 11:33 am, 1327893

Should bankers be prudent? Well, of course, and their policies and organizational cultures should promote prudence, as everybody agrees. In his classic book on banking, “Lombard Street,” Walter Bagehot stated the abiding maxims. “You can afford to run much less risk in banking than in commerce, and you must take ...

September 2, 2014, 11:03 am, 1327832


ECB’s Knot speaks in The Hague at 1500 GMT


ECB’s Lautenschläger speaks on “Countdown to November: European Supervision Ready for Liftoff” in Frankfurt at 0930 GMT Bank of Canada releases a policy statement at 10 a.m. EDT Fed Board of Governors holds an open meeting on rulemaking in Washington at 10:30 a.m. EDT Fed releases ...

September 2, 2014, 11:03 am, 1327831

I have a new column:

Objections to Fiscal Policy are Groundless—It Works: One of the more controversial policies instituted in an attempt to stimulate the economy out of the Great Recession was the $816.3 billion fiscal stimulus package enacted just after Obama took office....

[The artwork is a bit mixed ...

September 2, 2014, 11:03 am, 1327830
The ISM manufacturing index suggests faster expansion in August than in July. The PMI was at 59.0% in August, up from 57.1% in July. The employment index was at 58.1%, down slightly from 58.2% in July, and the new orders index was at 66.7%, up from 63.4% in July.

September 2, 2014, 11:03 am, 1327829
Earlier the Census Bureau reported that overall construction spending increased in July:

The U.S. Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce announced today that construction spending during July 2014 was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $981.3 billion, 1.8 percent above the revised June estimate of $963.7 ...

September 2, 2014, 10:44 am, 1327828
Where in the country is most knowledge being created? The answers point to states with good prospects for at least high-tech growth.

September 2, 2014, 10:44 am, 1327827

September 2, 2014, 10:34 am, 1327826

September 2, 2014, 10:34 am, 1327825

The ...

September 2, 2014, 10:04 am, 1327822

Barkley Rosser at Econospeak writes an op-ed on the Washington Post’s reporting:

Dana Milbank Joins Parade Of WaPo Hysterics Over Social Security And Medicare

Dean Baker has posted on this more completely and effectively than I shall do here (and his url is so long on this one, I ...

September 2, 2014, 9:03 am, 1327777

One of the loudest critics of the recent wave of corporate inversions is University of Southern California law professor Ed Kleinbard, who warns that these transactions will erode the U.S. corporate tax base because these newly relocated firms will use “intragroup interest payments” to “strip” income out of their ...

September 2, 2014, 9:03 am, 1327776

The Wall Street Journal’s Daily Report on Global Central Banks for Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Sign up for the newsletter.


Blackstone’s Take: Euro Will be Judge and Jury for Mario Draghi CBO, Fed Growth Forecasts ...

September 2, 2014, 8:44 am, 1327775

September 2, 2014, 8:44 am, 1327774

September 2, 2014, 8:44 am, 1327773

Plan confirmation time. Doesn't everyone relish a big trial? Headlines in national newspapers breathlessly proclaim that the fate of Detroit's future is ...

September 2, 2014, 8:35 am, 1327772

Congress is in recess until Monday, September 8. The Daily Deduction will resume its regular schedule when Congress returns.

There will be credits.” Alaskans like the way oil industry profits are taxed–barely. The state grants a corporate income tax credit for qualified oil and gas service-industry expenditures. ...

September 2, 2014, 8:05 am, 1327771

Most colleges are non-profits with unclear ownership status so their incentives do not lead to simple profit-maximization. Don’t be fooled, however, neither do colleges maximize student welfare or the public good. Instead colleges pursue some index of free cash flow, prestige, and administrative and faculty independence. The result is some peculiar outcomes. ...

September 2, 2014, 8:04 am, 1327770

September 2, 2014, 8:04 am, 1327769
(September 2, 2014 07:01 AM, by Alberto Mingardi) The BBC reports that Uber has been banned in Germany by a Frankfurt court: A court in Frankfurt ruled that the firm lacked the necessary legal permits to operate under German law. It has emerged that the firm was told... (0 ...

September 2, 2014, 7:33 am, 1327766

Yes, indeed, it usually does. Victor Davis Hanson, "Obama Fails History 101".

September 2, 2014, 7:33 am, 1327765

Ms. Gorin may list herself as a "standup comic based in Las Vegas" but she could have a great run as a political pundit. Or a forecaster: notice the column's date and her use of "caliphate".

Freud called it displacement. People fixate on the environment when they ...

September 2, 2014, 7:33 am, 1327764

You can put this down as a law of human behavior: if the stakes are high and if a system can be gamed, then, sooner or later, the system will be gamed. This is a fascinating if rather depressing case study.

(So what would be a good college rating ...

September 2, 2014, 7:33 am, 1327763

Pretty much nailed it. #2 is probably the most apt:

Don’t ask the professor if you “missed anything important” during an absence.

No, you didn’t miss anything important. We spent the whole hour watchingcats play the thereminon YouTube!

Of course you missed something ...

September 2, 2014, 7:33 am, 1327762

Nice piece by Farhad Manjoo about technological change in general but focusing on cars in particular.

September 2, 2014, 7:33 am, 1327761
Jaison R. Abel and Richard Deitz

This post is the first in a series of four Liberty Street Economics posts examining the value
of a college degree.

Not so long ago, people rarely questioned the value of a ...

September 2, 2014, 7:33 am, 1327760

This is a good thing:

Tar Heels in search of the easy A, beware. Starting this fall, UNC-Chapel Hill transcripts will provide a little truth in grading.

From now on, transcripts for university graduates will contain a healthy dose of context.

Next to a student’s grade, the record will include the median grade ...

September 2, 2014, 7:23 am, 1327759

In 2007, EU economies, on the surface, seemed to be doing relatively well – with positive economic growth and low inflation. Public debt was often high, but (apart from Greece) it appeared to be manageable assuming a positive trend in economic ...

September 2, 2014, 7:23 am, 1327758

Readers Questions: Could you not also argue not that the Euro is a failure but that it’s members/ECB are pursuing the wrong policy? Predictions of the death of the Euro seem to have been much exaggerated & surely Europe ...

September 2, 2014, 7:03 am, 1327721
Courtesy of the Peterson Institute for International Economics

For the past 30 years, Nicholas Lardy has chronicled the immense changes in China’s economy and revealed some of the system’s ...

September 2, 2014, 7:03 am, 1327719
A baby-themed ad in Taizhou. Reuters

China needs a baby boom—and badly, researchers say.

“Get married soon and have lots of children.” That’s the advice that 49-year-old Huang ...

September 2, 2014, 7:03 am, 1327720

The Congressional Budget Office’s projection of modest annual U.S. output growth of 2.2% in the coming decade is unattainable, as is the Federal Reserve’s expectation of growth near 3% in the next two years, according to a new paper by Northwestern University economics professor Robert Gordon.

Slow growth in the productivity ...

September 2, 2014, 6:44 am, 1327718

The subprime lending crisis in the US triggered a broad financial panic that lead to the global recession. Domestically, it meant bankruptcy and disaster for many households. This column analyses racial discrimination in subprime lending. Careful estimation of a detailed dataset reveals across-lender effects to have substantially disadvantaged black and ...

September 2, 2014, 6:44 am, 1327717

Since the Global Crisis, support has grown for the use of time-varying capital requirements as a macroprudential policy tool. This column examines the effect of bank-specific, time-varying capital requirements in the UK between 1990 and 2011. In response to increased capital requirements, banks gradually increase their capital ratios to restore ...

September 2, 2014, 6:44 am, 1327716

September 2, 2014, 6:44 am, 1327715

September 2, 2014, 6:04 am, 1327713
(Don Boudreaux)

… is from page 193 of James Gwartney’s insightful 2013 essay “The Public Choice Revolution and Principles of Economics Texts,” which is chapter 13 of Public Choice, Past and Present: The Legacy of James M. Buchanan and Gordon Tullock (Dwight R. Lee, editor, 2013) (link added):​

The bulk of the economics ...

September 2, 2014, 5:33 am, 1327711

September 2, 2014, 5:23 am, 1327710

In the near future, I will be writing a a review of Guy Spier’s The Education of a Value Investor, which will be released next week.  Until then, to whet your appetite, here is an 11 question Q&A that I did with ...

September 2, 2014, 5:03 am, 1327657

Coming over a century after many of the original events, we thought it was about time we got around to revisiting the history of the S&P 500, or rather, its predecessor indices and components, during the era of the First World War.

Our table below presents ...

September 2, 2014, 5:03 am, 1327656

September 2, 2014, 5:03 am, 1327655

Tim Duy:

Fed Positioning to Normalize Policy, by Tim Duy: With the leaves turning to gold signaling the end of summer, so too will the Fed be facing its own change of seasons as quantitative easing comes to an end. With asset purchases likely ending in October, time is ...

September 2, 2014, 4:44 am, 1327654

September 2, 2014, 4:36 am, 1327653
Most markets around the globe bounced back in August after July’s drubbing. Although there’s still plenty of risk percolating around the world, there were few signs that investors were becoming cautious last month. US equities led the rally in August: … Continue reading →

September 2, 2014, 3:33 am, 1327649
It is amusing reading day in and day out the Keynesian cure for what ails Europe, especially France.

Consider France. Public spending amounts to 57% of French GDP, yet Keynesians want still more. The sad irony is that 100% would not be enough. In fact, it would make matters ...

September 2, 2014, 3:23 am, 1327648

This is a book that starts with a simple premise: buy stocks at a fraction of the per share intrinsic value of the company, conservatively calculated.  Neat idea, huh, and it is called value investing.

The author starts by giving a preview of where ...

September 2, 2014, 2:05 am, 1327611

Well, “endorsed” isn’t exactly the right word, but I did say “simpatizante.”  Here are my views:

1. I disagree with most of his economic policy, for reasons you can find stated in Adam Smith and the other classical economists.

2. Governments work very hard to stay in power.

3. In a weighted average ...

September 2, 2014, 1:33 am, 1327610
LA boomed in the 1950s and 1960s and much of this infrastructure is now old and depreciating. Durable capital depreciates over time. Walk around my Little Holmby neighborhood in Westwood and you will see some ugly 1950s homes whose current owners are investing in upgrading. These are private homes and ...

September 2, 2014, 1:03 am, 1327586

BRUSSELS—European Union leaders aim to meet in Italy in October and hold other discussions on the economy in the coming months amid concerns about the faltering recovery.

“In recent weeks, economic data have confirmed that the recovery, particularly in the euro area, is weak, inflation exceptionally low and unemployment unacceptably high,” ...

September 2, 2014, 1:03 am, 1327587
Next week it is the jobs data’s world, we just live in it. At the Jackson Hole conference, Federal Reserve chairman Janet Yellen highlighted central bank research on labor-market conditions that depends on up to 24 different labor-related series. Many of them will be updated in various releases due next ...

September 2, 2014, 1:03 am, 1327585
A sales promotion advertisement at a housing sales office in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province.  Newscom

After a modest uptick in the middle of the year, the Chinese economy ...

September 2, 2014, 1:03 am, 1327583


Indonesian motorists queue up for gasoline amid a shortage of subsidized fuel. Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Indonesia squeezed out a narrow trade surplus in July but the Southeast ...

September 2, 2014, 1:03 am, 1327582

The White House and union leaders are using Labor Day reinvigorate efforts to raise the minimum wage.

Legislation to increase the federal pay floor from $7.25 an hour stalled in Congress this spring, but Democrats hope the issue will resonate with voters in November, especially in states with closely contested Senate ...

September 2, 2014, 1:03 am, 1327584
An employee works at a production line inside a Geely factory in Ningbo, Zhejiang province. Reuters

China’s productivity is slipping away, the miracle days are largely over ...

September 2, 2014, 1:03 am, 1327581
Black Knight Financial Services (BKFS) released their Mortgage Monitor report for July today. According to BKFS, 5.64% of mortgages were delinquent in July, down from 5.70% in June. BKFS reports that 1.85% of mortgages were in the foreclosure process, down from 2.82% in July 2013.

This gives ...

September 2, 2014, 12:34 am, 1327580

Austrian economists have been wrongly accused of many intellectual crimes when it comes to fractional reserve banking. Robert Batemarco adds some clarity to the debate.

September 2, 2014, 12:04 am, 1327579

Sandwichman at Econospeak writes more on the of ‘labor’:

Lump of Labor Day Special: Advanced (Elementary) Concepts in Mathematics

“…if there be but a certain proportion of work to be done; and that the same be already done by the not-Beggars; then to employ the Beggars about it, will but ...