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.


Jobs

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.


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July 23, 2014, 6:05 pm, 1304212


July 23, 2014, 6:05 pm, 1304213

The good people at the Polish Mises Institute (Instytut Misesa) inform me that my recent article on Scottish secession has been translated into Polish.

There are numerous other translations there as well, such as this one, a QJAE ...


July 23, 2014, 6:05 pm, 1304211


July 23, 2014, 5:33 pm, 1304208
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of being interviewed along with David Stockman by Jay Taylor, a hard money advocate and author of Turning Hard Times Into Good.

The audio is about 32 minutes long. You can play it here: Mish and Stockman with Jay Taylor.

We ...


July 23, 2014, 5:23 pm, 1304206
Apparently, it is open season on market monetarists. The red dots you see on our chest are from the laser scopes on the new keynesian guns of Tony Yates, Simon Wren-Lewis, and Paul Krugman. These individuals have been firing away with their critiques of ...


July 23, 2014, 5:03 pm, 1304145

The recent death of Eric Garner after an incident with New York police has recently made headlines and sparked controversy about excessive force and police practices. Sources report that police and prosecutors are investigating the use of a chokehold by an officer in the process of detaining ...


July 23, 2014, 5:03 pm, 1304144

The House Committee on Ways and Means amended the Student and Family Tax Simplification Act last Thursday and has issued a comprehensive report on the bill. The bill, or H.R. 3393, was developed by Representatives Diane Black (R-TN) and Danny Davis (D-IL) in an attempt to further ...


July 23, 2014, 5:03 pm, 1304143

Hungary’s central bank governor has said the institution was done cutting interest rates, but analysts aren’t so sure.

The central bank  on Tuesday lowered its benchmark rate by 0.2 percentage point to 2.10%, a deeper cut than expected and the latest in a series of monthly cuts since August 2012, ...


July 23, 2014, 4:35 pm, 1304142
US economic growth slowed in June, according to the Chicago Fed National Activity Index. The benchmark’s three-month average (CFNAI-MA3) fell to +0.13 last month from an upwardly revised +0.28 for May. Today’s update was in line with The Capital Spectator’s … Continue reading →


July 23, 2014, 4:35 pm, 1304140
The Federal Reserve’s tapering is underway. The central bank’s quantitative easing (QE) program that generated record levels of monetary liquidity in recent years is on track to fade into history by the end of the year. The approaching demise of … Continue reading →


July 23, 2014, 4:35 pm, 1304141
Some analysts are again projecting that the age of higher interest rates has finally arrived. The Fed is tapering and the US economy is expanding moderately, despite a first-quarter setback. David Kotok last week wrote that the central bank’s tapering … Continue reading →


July 23, 2014, 4:35 pm, 1304138

Did banks help a hedge fund avoid $6.8 billion in US taxes? Yes, according to the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs panel’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. Its report, released in advance of this morning’s hearing, argues that “basket option structures” were designed to conceal two things: the ...


July 23, 2014, 4:35 pm, 1304137

In recent months, several governors have complained about the April, 2014, surprise in state tax revenues. They say they were shocked when personal income tax payments fell far below expectations. They shouldn’t have been.

What happened? In part, in an effort to beat an upcoming increase in capital gains taxes, ...


July 23, 2014, 4:35 pm, 1304139

Another big inversion deal heads to closing. Pharmaceutical giant AbbVie agreed to purchase UK drugmaker Shire, making it the largest US company so far to move its address overseas for lower taxes. The deal, now estimated to be worth about $55 billion, will likely close despite ...


July 23, 2014, 4:35 pm, 1304136

Today, I testified before the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (the “Subcommittee”) on the abuse of structured financial products by hedge funds, in particular by the Renaissance funds. This is what I told the Subcommittee:

Almost a century ago, Congress reduced the tax rate for long-term capital gains. Then, ...


July 23, 2014, 4:35 pm, 1304134

Two appeals courts deliver opposing rulings on Affordable Care Act tax subsidies. The DC Circuit Court ruled yesterday that the tax credits can only go to residents in states that run their own  health exchanges. In Richmond, VA, the 4th Circuit Court said the ACA language isn’t clear, so the ...


July 23, 2014, 4:35 pm, 1304135

Unlike the rest of us, many high-income, influential people and organizations have close to a free hand when it comes to their taxes. Already underfunded and understaffed, the IRS seems incapable of stopping many aggressive or even abusive interpretations of the tax laws, often by hedge funds or politically-motivated tax-exempt ...


July 23, 2014, 4:35 pm, 1304133

Fans of that great 1970s TV series Colditz will remember an episode in which an inmate tries to feign madness in order to get repatriated to Britain, only to actually go mad. I was reminded of this by Ed Miliband's speech at the weekend.


July 23, 2014, 4:35 pm, 1304131

This morning, I got into a Twitter row with Jackart. He says: "State spending CAUSES lack of private investment." I agree with him that this can happen sometimes. But I disagree with him that it happened with Gordon Brown's fiscal loosening in the mid-00s.

My ...


July 23, 2014, 4:35 pm, 1304132

Most of the retrospectives on Tony Blair, prompted by the 20th anniversary of his becoming Labour leader strike me as missing something.

Whilst I agree with Stephen, James and John that Britain was better place when Blair left office than when ...


July 23, 2014, 4:34 pm, 1304130

The Federal Aviation Administration has halted all flights from the U.S. to Israel for 24 hours in response to a rocket attack near Ben Gurion Airport:

Major American airlines stopped flying to Israel on Tuesday after a rocket fell near Ben-Gurion International Airport outside Tel Aviv, and after the ...


July 23, 2014, 4:34 pm, 1304129

Highlights from Day One of Mises University.


July 23, 2014, 4:34 pm, 1304128

“Progressives” throughout history repeatedly show a fondness for social engineering and state control.


July 23, 2014, 4:34 pm, 1304127

All too many of the reforms being proposed for the central bank are just more of the same central planning. Real reform of the Fed begins with setting interest rates free, the abolition of deposit insurance, and ending the Fed’s position as lender ...


July 23, 2014, 4:34 pm, 1304126
A


July 23, 2014, 4:34 pm, 1304125
A


July 23, 2014, 4:34 pm, 1304123
Teaser:

Many ...


July 23, 2014, 4:34 pm, 1304124
Teaser:

Tuesday’s ...


July 23, 2014, 4:34 pm, 1304122
Teaser:

Hungry ...


July 23, 2014, 4:05 pm, 1304109

Lew Rockwell writes:

Today is Bettina Bien Greaves’s 97th birthday. She was Mises’s personal assistant, and she’s still working to teach Austrian economics to new generations. The Mises Institute is honored by her support, as we are all honored to know her. What a great lady. (Thanks to Judy Thommesen)


July 23, 2014, 4:05 pm, 1304107

Some images from Day2 of Mises U.

Roger Garrison:

Lucas Engelhardt:

Robert Higgs:


July 23, 2014, 4:05 pm, 1304110


July 23, 2014, 4:05 pm, 1304108

Judge Andrew P. Napolitano gave his first lecture in a series at Mises University on US Constitutional law.

Waiting as he’s introduced by Joseph Salerno:

Welcoming the students:


July 23, 2014, 4:05 pm, 1304105

Mises Daily Tuesday by Andrew Syrios

From prohibition to eugenics to nativism and to Marxism, “progressives” throughout history have repeatedly shown a great fondness for endless social engineering and state control of pretty much anything and everything.


July 23, 2014, 4:05 pm, 1304104

Don Boudreaux  at Café Hayek highlighted yesterday’s Wall Street Journal article by Mary Anastasia O’Grady where she asks “What Really Drove the Children North”? Her answer, “Our appetite for drugs caused the violence that made life unbearable in much of ...


July 23, 2014, 4:05 pm, 1304106

Monday was the first full day for students at Mises U, and all talks are now available in Mp3 format here.  The day began with a series of lectures by Joseph Salerno, Guido Hulsmannm, and David Gordon. Students then met for lunch on the Mises Institute patio. (Photos ...


July 23, 2014, 4:05 pm, 1304098

1. The shipping container apartment.

2. Why not buy more store brands?

3. Cows are a good Indian investment after all.

4. Can sanctions stop Putin?

5. Let them eat cosmopolitanism.  But note: I never argue “…that egalitarianism as a political force in America ...


July 23, 2014, 4:05 pm, 1304097

…on July 13, about four days before the actual incursion began, about 67 percent of Israelis supported a ground operation. By authorizing one, Netanyahu has given the public what it has demanded.

That is from Brent Sasley.

Fred Kaplan wonders whether Israel has lost its ability ...


July 23, 2014, 4:05 pm, 1304096

China’s total debt load has climbed to more than two and a half times the size of its economy, underscoring the difficult challenge facing Beijing as it seeks to spur growth without sowing the seeds of a financial crisis.

The total debt-to-gross domestic product ratio in the world’s second-largest economy reached ...


July 23, 2014, 4:05 pm, 1304099

There is a new NBER Working Paper from Brianna Cardiff-Hicks, Francine Lafontaine, and Kathryn Shaw, and the abstract is this:

With malls, franchise strips and big-box retailers increasingly dotting the landscape, there is concern that middle-class jobs in manufacturing in the U.S. are being replaced by minimum wage jobs ...


July 23, 2014, 4:05 pm, 1304102

Mises Daily Wednesday by Brendan Brown:

All too many of the reforms being proposed for the central bank are just more of the same central planning. Real reform of the Fed begins with setting interest rates free, the abolition of deposit insurance, ...


July 23, 2014, 4:05 pm, 1304103

Jacob Huebert, author of Libertarianism Today, summarizes the current situation:

Two federal appeals courts issued conflicting decisions about the future of ObamaCare on Tuesday.

In one, the Halbig v. Burwell decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled that ...


July 23, 2014, 4:05 pm, 1304095

From my email:

The Washington Post today launches ‘Storyline’, a new digital initiative led by economics writer Jim Tankersley examining how U.S. public policy is affecting the lives of Americans across the nation. Storyline will feature a mix of narrative writing, data journalism and visual storytelling to explore big ...


July 23, 2014, 4:05 pm, 1304101


Wednesday, July 23 (Central Daylight Time)
1:30 - 2:30 p.m.—Hayek and Keynes: Head to Head | Garrison
2:45 - 3:45 p.m.—FDA and Consumer Welfare | Higgs
4:00 - 5:00 p.m.—Contrasting Views of the Great Depression | Murphy


July 23, 2014, 4:05 pm, 1304100

The economy here is just fine by most traditional measures.  And yet:

Virginia has an unemployment rate of 5.1 per cent but average hourly wages in the year to May 2014 declined by 0.1 per cent.

That is from a probably gated piece, by James Politi, surveying the U.S. labor ...


July 23, 2014, 4:05 pm, 1304094

From Neil Irwin at The Upshot:

Five years into the economic recovery, businesses still aren’t plowing much money into big-ticket investments for the future. Nonresidential fixed investment — what businesses spend on equipment, software, buildings and intellectual property — still hasn’t bounced back to its pre-crisis share of the ...


July 23, 2014, 4:05 pm, 1304088

July 23, 2014, 4:05 pm, 1304087

The subtitle is An Unexpected Guide to Human Nature and Happiness, and the author is Russ Roberts.  The focus is on Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments and why that is an important book.  This is Russ’s best book in my opinion, so you should consider buying it


July 23, 2014, 4:05 pm, 1304086

Elaine Sciolino is pretty critical.  She writes:

A new consumer protection law meant to inform diners whether their meals are freshly prepared in the kitchen or fabricated somewhere off-site is comprehensive, precise, well intentioned — and, to hear the complaints about it, half-baked.

Public decree No. 2014-797, drafted and passed ...


July 23, 2014, 4:05 pm, 1304090

Slowest Growing Populations (%, 2000-10)

1 Moldova -13%

2 Georgia -8%

3 #Ukraine-7%

4 Bulg -6%

5 Latvia -6%

6 Lithuania -5%

7 Belarus -5%

That is from here, the most rapidly growing populations are given here, some Gulf states and Africa, both are tweets from Ian Bremmer.


July 23, 2014, 4:05 pm, 1304089

The manufacturing sector is now operating at 77.8 percent of its capacity, according to Federal Reserve data, well above the 76 percent average during the last expansion and not far from the 79.1 percent peak during the mid-2000s.

That is from Neil Irwin.  As I’ve been saying for over ...


July 23, 2014, 4:05 pm, 1304093

July 23, 2014, 4:05 pm, 1304092

When it comes to mail delivery service in Iceland, two days stand out from the rest. The first is when the IKEA catalogue arrives. The second is when the bókatíðindi shows up in the mailbox.

“This is the Christmas catalogue,” says Bryndís Loftsdóttir of the Icelandic Publishers Association, handing over a ...


July 23, 2014, 4:05 pm, 1304091

It seems not.  Responding to an earlier piece by Ray Fisman, Tino Sanandaji writes:

Fisman doesn’t cite any plausible mechanism through which private schools could have dragged down the test scores of the 86 percent of Swedish pupils who attend public schools. The explanation cannot be that ...


July 23, 2014, 4:04 pm, 1304085
A


July 23, 2014, 4:04 pm, 1304084
(July 22, 2014 11:45 AM, by Art Carden) " Original.... (10 COMMENTS)


July 23, 2014, 4:04 pm, 1304083
(July 22, 2014 12:46 PM, by David Henderson) We reach this conclusion, frankly, with reluctance. At least until states that wish to can set up Exchanges, our ruling will likely have significant consequences both for the millions of individuals receiving tax credits through federal Exchanges and for health... (22 COMMENTS)


July 23, 2014, 4:04 pm, 1304082
(July 23, 2014 12:08 AM, by Bryan Caplan) I recently re-read J.D.Salinger's 1951 classic, The Catcher in the Rye, prompting Tyler to do the same. My top reactions:1. Other than losing his brother Allie, Holden has no external problems. He is a rich kid living in the most... (8 COMMENTS)


July 23, 2014, 4:04 pm, 1304080
(July 23, 2014 01:10 PM, by Art Carden) There has been an explosion of commentary on regulations in Birmingham regarding Uber and its services; I streamed part of yesterday's City Council meeting at which they voted to delay a decision until next week. I wrote an open letter... (5 COMMENTS)


July 23, 2014, 4:04 pm, 1304079
(July 23, 2014 03:11 PM, by David Henderson) Last night, I saw on Facebook that John Blundell died yesterday. He was only 61 years old. Less than two months ago, I had posted on his personal reminiscences of the three Austrian economics conferences in the mid-1970s, two of... (0 COMMENTS)


July 23, 2014, 4:04 pm, 1304081
(July 23, 2014 10:31 AM, by Scott Sumner) Is British public policy more left wing or right wing, compared to Scandinavian countries like Sweden and Denmark? The Heritage rankings suggest they are about the same, with Denmark coming in at number 10 in the world (at 76.1),... (13 COMMENTS)


July 23, 2014, 4:04 pm, 1304076
(Don Boudreaux)

… is from pages 411-412 of Kevin Dowd‘s 1994 essay “Free Banking,” which is chapter 59 in The Elgar Companion to Austrian Economics (Peter J. Boettke, ed., 1994; links added):

Another point that stands out [in a review of the empirical evidence] is the high degree of stability ...


July 23, 2014, 4:04 pm, 1304077

July 23, 2014, 4:04 pm, 1304078
(Don Boudreaux)

… is from page 11 of Donald R. Leal’s and Roger E. Meiners’s important 2002 collection, Government vs. Environment; specifically, it’s from Leal’s and Meiners’s chapter 1 (“Greener Pastures? The Defective Attraction of Federal Environmental Policy”):

Under national command and control of the environment for three decades, the ...


July 23, 2014, 4:04 pm, 1304075

July 23, 2014, 4:04 pm, 1304074
(Don Boudreaux)

Here’s a letter to an e-mail correspondent (whose name is used here with her kind permission):

Ms. Molly Mills

Dear Ms. Mills:

Thanks for alerting me to Joe Nocera’s article on the cystic-fibrosis wonder drug Kalydeco - a drug that now costs each patient more than $300,000 annually (“The $300,000 Drug,” July 18).  ...


July 23, 2014, 4:04 pm, 1304069
(Don Boudreaux)

This news is so, so sad.

I learned last night, from an e-mail sent by Walter Grinder, that John died earlier in the day yesterday.  As I read Walter’s e-mail, a deep sadness descended upon me (as, I know, it descended upon many others) – sadness not only ...


July 23, 2014, 4:04 pm, 1304071
(Don Boudreaux)

… is from page 127 of Deirdre McCloskey’s lovely 1996 book, The Vices of Economists – The Virtues of the Bourgeoisie:

Virginia Woolf wrote famously, “About December 1910 human nature changed.”  Well, one doubts it.  What did change, and has been changing all through the closing decades of the ...


July 23, 2014, 4:04 pm, 1304070
(Don Boudreaux)

Responding to my report that Ms. Molly Mills e-mailed me to claim that (original emphasis)

[a]ll sick people should have access to drugs at affordable prices!!!!!

the great University of Virginia economics teacher – and antitrust scholar (and economics-mystery writer) – Ken Elzinga asks via e-mail to me:

One wonders ...


July 23, 2014, 4:04 pm, 1304072

July 23, 2014, 4:04 pm, 1304073

July 23, 2014, 4:04 pm, 1304065

Guest post by Bruce Carman.

He first comments on an article from Jeremy Grantham who says that a coming bubble is likely.

“. . . There are massive reserves of labor in the official unemployment plus room for perhaps a 2% increase in labor participation rates as ...


July 23, 2014, 4:04 pm, 1304066

The great Yitzhak Rabin has been long forgotten, assassinated by the Israeli ultranationalist, Yigal Amir–a forerunner of the cruel Zionist Netanyahu and the she-devil, Ayled Shaked. But the Zionist hard right would not have risen to power if it had not help from the West. Among those who blindly walk ...


July 23, 2014, 4:04 pm, 1304068

Corporate “inversions” are back in the news again, as multinational corporations try every “creative” way they can to get out of paying their fair share of taxes for being located in the United States. With inversions, the idea is to pretend to be a foreign company even though it ...


July 23, 2014, 4:04 pm, 1304064


July 23, 2014, 4:04 pm, 1304067

Traffic jam in Beijing, China.

Simon Wren-Lewis writes about the difference between how the neofiscalists and market monetarists view the solution to the world’s economic woes. Basically, neofiscalists are ready to use whatever is necessary. Market monetarists limit themselves ...


July 23, 2014, 4:04 pm, 1304059
¯\_(ツ)_/¯

The Economist online magazine has an article called, Jobs are not Enough, where they show a poor understanding of effective demand.

“Economic growth over the business cycle is driven mostly by swings in demand, and in recent years demand has been held back: households have been repaying their ...


July 23, 2014, 4:04 pm, 1304063

Via Economist’s View ‘California’s Job Growth Defies Predictions after Tax Increases’:

This article, by David Cay Johnston, is getting a surprising number of retweets:

State’s job growth defies predictions after tax increases, by David Cay Johnston, The Bee: Dire predictions about jobs being destroyed spread across California in 2012 as ...


July 23, 2014, 4:04 pm, 1304061

John Bluedorn and Shengzu Wang wrote a post on the IMF blog called, Euro Area: An Unbalanced Rebalancing? They talk about the unbalanced Current Account trade balances within Europe where creditor nations continue with large surpluses, even though debtor nations are moving toward surpluses themselves. They give reasons of ...


July 23, 2014, 4:04 pm, 1304060

David Cay Johnston emailed me that there were errors in Forbes contributor Tim Worstall’s recent criticisms of the linked article. Indeed there are, but the biggest one (or at least the funniest one) isn’t the one Johnston pointed me to.

Worstall writes that AbbVie’s pending inversion will not, ...


July 23, 2014, 4:04 pm, 1304062

I read an article by Gavyn Davies, Another False Alarm on US Inflation?. He states that projections of rising inflation are not warranted due to lack of wage-growth pressures. I agree with him, but I want to go one step further and say that the uptick in inflation is ...


July 23, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1304034

The existence of a productivity gap between Canada and the United States should ultimately manifest itself in terms of the growth rate of real per capita GDP. If productivity growth in Canada is consistently below that of the United States, then our real per capita GDP should also not grow ...


July 23, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1304033

I was off at the cottage when Simon Wren-Lewis and Paul Krugman responded to my post on neo-fiscalism. Amusingly, given Simon's metaphor, the handbrake on the MX6 seized on as I was driving, slowing me down and creating a nasty smell. I did a ...


July 23, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1304032

|Peter Boettke|

One of the books I have been reading this summer is Peter Schuck'sWhy Government Fails So Often?(Princeton, 2014). So far, it is excellent. Here is David Henderson's reaction to his work, which I basically share.


July 23, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1304031

|Peter Boettke|

I received the sad news yesterday that John Blundell passed away. I have known John and Christine from the moment I decided to get serious about a career as an academic and scholarship within the classical liberal tradition of political and social thought. My wife ...


July 23, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1304030

Works for me.

1. Fun as adjective

Old school: "That would be a lot of fun."

New school: "That would be very fun."


July 23, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1304029

Yes, indeed: a day the Congress is not passing new laws is generally a good day for business.


July 23, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1304028

I don't know how general the author's findings are, of course, but he argues that anything over a 500 thread count is probably not cost-effective.


July 23, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1304024

"I just didn’t want to deal with all the complaining."I can definitely relate, but it is what you're getting paid for.

See also "Give Me a Better Grade--I Deserve It." I got one of these last year. A student objected to my suggesting she write more concisely. ...


July 23, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1304023

Imprecisely titled--the author means not the universities per se, but the students--but still interesting. And sad because the students in question attend my alma mater.

(And, come to think of it, "flaccid" is also a poor choice. Better would be a reference to Edward James Olmos in Stand and ...


July 23, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1304022

Excellent brief exposition of an important difference between crony capitalism and true capitalism.


July 23, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1304025

Timothy B. Lee, Vox:

Badger blames rising demand for the high cost of living in these cities. But the real culprit is strict regulations that make it almost impossible to expand the housing stock in most parts of these cities. . . .

It doesn't have ...


July 23, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1304027

Heh. Elizabeth Warren, call your office.

There's nothing like a good fight overcorporate welfareto bring out the Left's love of Big Business.


July 23, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1304026

Just the personal experience of one Montreal headhunter, but for MBAs it's probably worth considering.


July 23, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1304018

For the online-interested autodidacts among you.


July 23, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1304016

I take exception to #10 but most of the rest made mesmile or laugh.

9. NASCAR

What it means everywhere else:A bunch of cars going around in a circle for hours on end.

What it means in North Carolina:It’s a sport. It’s a ...


July 23, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1304021

"Fair enough. What’s the media’s excuse?"

UPDATED: link included now. Thanks to commenters.


July 23, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1304017

July 23, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1304015

"Python has surpassed Java as the top language used to introduce U.S. students to programming and computer science, according to a recent survey posted by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)."

It's what Nobel Laureate economist Thomas Sargent is teaching these days.


July 23, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1304019

By Anthony Daniels aka Theodore Dalrymple. Excerpt:

By the time they are 15 or 16, twice as many children in Britain have a television as have a biological father living at home. The child may be father to the man, but the television is father to the ...


July 23, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1304020

Let's hope that this works out and real soon.


July 23, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1304014
Milton Friedman's alleged license plate, showing the equation of exchange
The excruciatingly large revisions that U.S. first quarter GDP growth underwent from the BEA's ...


July 23, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1304013
Steen Jakobsen, chief economist and CIO at Saxo Bank, has an interesting article today on War & Markets which I present below as a guest post.

Steen says ...

Prepare for less growth, less certainty and more geopolitical risk
Crude oil price is simplest proxy for ...


July 23, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1304012
President Obama came out swinging today and issued a Stern Warning to Russia on Isolation in response to the crash of MH17.

Barack Obama has warned Russia it risks further international isolation if it does not intervene directly with the pro-Russian separatist rebels to "compel them to ...


July 23, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1304010
Only the person or persons who fired the missile know the truth for sure. Yet Ukraine now says "Russian Officer Downed MH17".

A brawl then ensued in Ukrainian Parliament following a vote to increase troops battling rebels.

Vitaly Nayda, Ukraine's director of informational security, made the accusation ...


July 23, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1304011
I am quite tired of rhetoric from the Obama administration and Kiev regarding the situation in Ukraine. Hardly any of it is believable.

Indeed, some Ukraine propaganda efforts of Kiev are so amateurish they appear as sloppy acts of desperate coverups.

If so, then it is far more ...


July 23, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1304009
Earlier today the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit invalidated a major provision of Obamacare, ruling 2-1 that participants in health exchanges run by the federal government in 34 states are not eligible for tax subsidies.

No doubt, cheers went out from the anti-Obamacare ...


July 23, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1304008
Earlier today, and several times recently, I received emails accusing me of being a Russian spy and asking me how much I was receiving from RT. I find such accusations highly amusing.

Here's the deal: Few bloggers are willing to discuss MH17 for fear of getting it wrong. ...


July 23, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1304006
Anatoly Shary, the Ukrainian citizen who started the "312" Investigation (see Ukraine Caught in Third Major Lie? Magic Number 312) has a 1 minute 44 second video update in which he claims to know when and where Kiev made that bogus claim.


July 23, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1304007
I have strong evidence from Ukrainian citizen Anatoly Shary that Kiev is caught in a third major lie regarding Buk deployment.

It takes a while to go over the evidence, condensed below, all having to do with the number 312 painted on a missile launcher.

Follow the ...


July 23, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1304005

By Rick Mattoon

In a forthcoming article in the bank’s Economic Perspectives, I profile the economic development efforts underway in the five largest cities in the Seventh District—Des Moines, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Detroit, and Chicago. (For a complete profile of all five cities see, Industrial clusters and economic development ...


July 23, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1304004
Beverly Hirtle, Anna Kovner, and Eric McKay

Stress tests have become an important method of assessing whether financial institutions have enough capital to operate in bad economic conditions. Under the provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act, both the Federal Reserve and large U.S.bank holding companies(BHCs) are required ...


July 23, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1304003


July 23, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1304002

And theses ensue:

Now, federal officials are weighing putting [the sage grouse] on the endangered species list — setting off a mad scramble among the unlikeliest of allies to save the bird and avoid disrupting the nation’s enormous growth in energy production. With a range stretching ...


July 23, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1304001

"You show me a polluter, I'll show you a subsidy; I'll show you a fat cat who's using political clout to escape the discipline of the free market and force the public to pay his production costs. That's what all pollution is -- it is always a subsidy."~ Robert F. ...


July 23, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1303998

A new article in Nature: Climate Change says that the recent 15 year non-warming period is fully explained by climate models that account for El Nino and La Nina.

The question of how climate model projections have tracked the actual evolution of global mean surface air temperature ...


July 23, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1304000

I know I've fallen behind on my 24 viewing for the season, but after this, I'm ready for the season to take some odd turns soon:

TheTour de Francecan be unforgiving and crushingly heartbreaking. On Sunday's stage 15, Jack Bauer experienced this firsthand.

Does Jack infiltrate the U.S. Postal ...


July 23, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1303999

My favorite is 1% milk* with chocolate malt Ovaltine:

A newly released report showing that higher temperatures cause cows to give less milk is uniting climate and animal rights activists to take immediate action to counteract the negative effects of bovine heat stress.

“Cows are happy in parts of Northern California ...


July 23, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1303997
Ice melts when temperature exceeds 32 F. Many Canadian kids have practiced hockey on frozen outdoor ponds and lakes. If climate change warms winters, will the quality of NHL hockey suffer? This article says "yes". An economist might posit that indoor hockey rinks are a close substitute for ...


July 23, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1303996
At the University of Chicago, I was taught human capital theory by several future Nobel Laureates and Clark Medalists (Becker, Heckman, Murphy) and by a man who would have won a Nobel Prize. None of these scholars ever mentioned the link between human capital and environmental economics.


July 23, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1303995

From “Expanding the School Breakfast Program: Impacts on Children’s Consumption, Nutrition and Health” by Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach and Mary Zaki:

School meals programs are the front line of defense against childhood hunger, and while the school lunch program is nearly universally available in U.S. public schools, the school breakfast program ...


July 23, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1303994

Today marks the four-year anniversary of the Dodd-Frank Act. The financial regulatory bureaucracy has swelled to historic proportions and many of Dodd-Frank’s new rules are restricting credit and economic growth with questionable benefits to safety and soundness. So far, regulators have done little to consider the economic impact ...


July 23, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1303989

From Stanford’s Vivek Wadhwa in Politico:

Skilled immigrants are more important to the United States than ever, because it is on the verge of a major reinvention. Its scientists and entrepreneurs are setting the wheels in motion to solve humanity’s grand challenges—in areas such as ...


July 23, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1303988

1.) On Tuesday the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled on the Halbig v. Burwell case. The court, “on a 2-1 vote, invalidated an Internal Revenue Service regulation that implemented a key piece of the 2010 Affordable Care Act. The regulation said ...


July 23, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1303986

In the new Minneapolis Fed paper, “Too Correlated to Fail,” V.V. Chari and Christopher Phelan argue attacking “Too Big To Fail” and moral hazard by limiting bank size won’t by itself end the moral hazard problem caused by financial institution anticipating government bailouts:

In this paper, we argue that ...


July 23, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1303990

Interesting piece by WaPo reporter Todd Frankel on US fertility rates and the bad economy. Here is the hed:  “They want a baby. The economy won’t play along: America’s birth rates are still near a historic low. One couple’s lesson in the new economics of having a child.”  And ...


July 23, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1303991

Some folks on the right, such as Ben Domenech and Sean Davis of The Federalist, seem oddly desperate to make the case that inflation is dangerously high, and the Federal Reserve is to blame. Now it is certainly a neat political argument, one that combines the ...


July 23, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1303976

Updated: The chart above shows the percent changes between January 2000 and June 2014 for: a) Average Hourly Earnings (blue line), b) the CPI for Food and Beverages (red line) and c) the CPI for ...


July 23, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1303993

Judging by the policy advice being offered to the European Central Bank by the International Monetary Fund and the editorial writers of the Financial Times, one would think that there was an unambiguous case for ECB quantitative easing. After all, European inflation is presently running at around a quarter of the ECB’s ...


July 23, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1303992

The chart above helps to illustrate the significance of America’s shale oil and gas boom by showing the combined domestic output of US oil and gas (in quadrillion BTUs, EIA data here). After production of conventional oil and gas peaked ...


July 23, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1303985

…. is from Henry Grady Weaver’s 1947 book The Mainspring of Human Progress (in reference to material that originally appeared in Isabel Patterson’s book The God of the Machine):

Most of the major ills of the world have been caused by well-meaning people who ignored the principle of individual freedom, ...


July 23, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1303987

Some people really don’t like “big box” retailers. The openings of new stores, particularly in cities, are frequently accompanied by protests. Recall that Occupy Wall Street targeted retailers, including Wal-Mart, Target, and Best Buy. Critics knock these companies for a variety of reason, including low wages, meager benefits, and their ...


July 23, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1303984

The chart above helps to illustrate the significance of America’s shale oil and gas boom by showing the combined domestic output of US oil and gas (in quadrillion BTUs, EIA data here). After production of conventional oil and gas peaked ...


July 23, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1303978

Related to my earlier post today on food inflation, the chart above shows that the share of consumption expenditures on food at home for Americans hasn’t changed in the last decade, as has remained remarkably constant at about 7.7%. ...


July 23, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1303977

Very cool, from the Detroit Free Press:

Check out these amazing Detroit then-and-now photos from DetroitUrbex.com. To see how the Motor City has changed over some of its 313 years, simply drag your mouse across the photos from left to right and watch Detroit transform before your eyes. To ...


July 23, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1303980

Last September, I wrote a post titled “Americans love to complain about rising food prices; here are three reasons they should stop whining.” In an article today in The Federalist, Sean Davis responds to my post in an article titled “American Families Are Right To Be ...


July 23, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1303979

Flint, Michigan native and ardent critic of capitalism Michael Moore is engaged in a bitter divorce battle with his wife of 21 years and details are now emerging about the couple’s ostentatious display of wealth. According to a report in today’s Detroit News:

Moore and [his wife] Kathy Glynn ...


July 23, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1303983

The monthly 10-year Breakeven Inflation Rate over the last ten years is displayed above and represents a market-based measure of expected inflation derived from the spread between 10-Year Treasury Constant Maturity Securities and 10-Year Treasury Inflation-Indexed Constant Maturity Securities as calculated ...


July 23, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1303982

1. Video of the Day. Do girls fall behind in science and engineering because society tells them they should be pretty, rather than, “pretty brilliant?” That’s the message of a new Verizon ad campaign. But in the video above, Christina Sommers, the Factual Feminist, shows ...


July 23, 2014, 3:33 pm, 1303981

In the summer of 2006, as the citizens of Michigan were getting ready to vote that November on a ballot proposal that would decide whether publicly-funded Michigan universities could continue their admissions practices of racial double standards and affirmative discrimination, I wrote an op-ed about Proposal 2 that appeared in ...


July 23, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1303902

A tax expenditure is defined as a departure from the default tax code that decreases total taxes paid. They are called tax “expenditures” because they resemble government spending.

Although a majority of tax expenditure spending can be accounted for by a small number of provisions, the Congressional Budget Office ...


July 23, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1303904

The corporate inversion debate continues to heat up, revealing a serious conflict between the Obama administration and the business community. Corporate inversions are cross-border mergers that allow U.S. companies to reincorporate abroad where corporate taxes are much lower.

Earlier this week, Abbott Laboratories and Mylan Inc., both U.S.-based drug makers, ...


July 23, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1303901

This November Massachusetts will vote to repeal House Bill 3847. The law, signed in 2013, raised the state’s gas tax from 21 to 24 cents per gallon and automatically tied the tax rate to inflation for future years. Despite opposition by the group Tank the Gas ...


July 23, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1303903

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) per-passenger fees rise today, from $2.50 for non-stop flights and $5.60 for connecting flights to $5.60 for all flights. I’ve written about this fee hike before, discussing how direct airline ticket taxes and fees can be a large portion of the total ...


July 23, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1303900

Australia is the first developed country to both institute and repeal a tax on carbon. On Thursday, July 17, the Australian Senate repealed its carbon tax with a 39 to 32 vote.

After the repeal, Prime Minister Tony Abbot characterized the tax as destructive to jobs, families and the ...


July 23, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1303897

Recently Spain announced that it is increasing the country’s taxation rate on total bank account deposits to 0.03 percent. New revenues from the tax will be distributed to each of Spain’s 17 regional governments to help them pay for budget shortfalls, which the federal government prohibits from being ...


July 23, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1303898

The recent death of Eric Garner after an incident with New York police has recently made headlines and sparked controversy about excessive force and police practices. Sources report that police and prosecutors are investigating the use of a chokehold by an officer in the process of detaining ...


July 23, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1303899

A law professor wrote an article discussing our work ensuring state tax guidance to same-sex couples after DOMA was struck down. About half the states both (1) require state tax return filing status to match the federal tax return filing status and (2) ban gay marriage. As these ...


July 23, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1303891

The Bank of Korea is gearing up to cut its benchmark interest rates and may move as soon as next month, say economists, due to signs economic growth is slowing.

The nation’s new finance minister, Choi Kyung-hwan, recently made the case for a rate cut in Parliament. Second quarter gross domestic ...


July 23, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1303889

July 23, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1303892
Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Meeting in the Brazilian city of Fortaleza last week, leaders of the five BRICS nations – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – finally put some flesh on the bones of a long-awaited plan ...


July 23, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1303890

President Barack Obama is again taking aim at the “skills gap” separating many unemployed workers from the companies that could hire them.

Mr. Obama, in his State of the Union address on Jan. 28, said he had asked Vice President Joe Biden “to lead an across-the-board reform ...


July 23, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1303894

July 23, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1303896

The share of U.S. firms giving pay raises has nearly tripled since last fall, according to a new survey of business economists by the National Association for Business Economics, though official data on U.S. workers’ earnings haven’t shown any broad acceleration in wage growth.

Some 43% of the NABE members ...


July 23, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1303895

TUESDAY

Hungary’s central bank releases a policy statement at 1300 GMT Nigeria’s central bank releases a policy statement BOE’s Haldane speaks in London at 1900 GMT

WEDNESDAY

BOE releases minutes of its July 9-10 policy meeting at 0830 GMT BOE’s Carney speaks in Glasgow at 1145 GMT ECB’s Weidmann speaks in London at 1930 GMT

THURSDAY

New Zealand’s central ...


July 23, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1303888

Millennials get flack for postponing marriage, living with parents and shying away from homeownership. But what’s less discussed is how, to some extent, they’re just responding rationally to their local housing markets.

Nearly half of Americans between the ages of 23 and 34 who lived in metro areas with “ideal housing ...


July 23, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1303893

Recent college graduates are paying a price for entering the workforce in the shadow of a deep recession: Their wages are growing far more slowly than the U.S. average.

“The wage growth gap points to continued weakness in the overall labor market,” wrote San Francisco Fed economists Bart Hobijn and Leila ...


July 23, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1303882

Uncertainty breeds volatility. That’s why even though volatility levels are near record lows, the Institute of International Finance sees choppy markets ahead.

Investors have been willing to take on more risk, pushing borrowing costs down and buoying stock values, amid strengthening confidence in the U.S. and global recoveries. But with perhaps ...


July 23, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1303881

The Wall Street Journal’s Daily Report on Global Central Banks for Wednesday, July 23, 2014:

Sign up for the newsletter.

Highlights

Da Costa’s Take: The Fed Still Has Little Reason to Worry About Inflation Regulators Said ...


July 23, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1303887

The U.S. housing market appears to be finding its footing after a sharp rise in mortgage rates last summer, on top of some big price gains, deflated sales.

The National Association of Realtors reported on Tuesday that sales of previously owned homes rose 2.6% in June to a seasonally adjusted annual ...


July 23, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1303883
t Reuters

Last year, Australia’s central bank cut rates to a record low 2.5% to help boost flagging growth as a mining boom slowed.

While that extreme measure ...


July 23, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1303880

Manufacturers, by definition, make things.

But is that definition outdated? That’s the question behind a move among federal government agencies to reclassify as “manufacturers” companies like Apple Inc., which controls every aspect of the iPhones and other products it sells–except their actual fabrication. Production is ...


July 23, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1303884
A wholesale market in Hyderabad. Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

India is on the verge of torpedoing another trade pact, and at issue yet again are the country’s ...


July 23, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1303886

It’s a good time to be a vegan. Meat prices are up 9.4% in June from a year earlier, and pork, fish and eggs are more expensive, too.

Prices for the food Americans ...


July 23, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1303885

When the Federal Reserve started tests late last year of its so-called reverse repo facility, some officials hoped it would play a starring role in the campaign to raise interest rates when the time comes.

But now the Fed thinks the new tool will play no more than a “useful supporting ...


July 23, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1303878

What are the odds that IRS employees deliberately targeted President Barack Obama's political opposition and have attempted to ...


July 23, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1303879

A new noise event rattled the markets on Thursday, 17 July 2014, when news broke that a Malaysian Airlines commercial jet had been shot down over eastern Ukraine, potentially by Russian-backed separatists. That act caused stock prices to drop below the level they would otherwise ...


July 23, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1303877

What are the best and worst states for U.S. teens between the ages of 16 and 19 for finding jobs?

To find out, we turned to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, whose Geographic Profile of Employment and Unemployment provides the data by detailed ...


July 23, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1303873

Via the SF Fed:

The Wage Growth Gap for Recent College Grads, by Bart Hobijn and Leila Bengali, FRBSF Economic Letter: Starting wages of recent college graduates have essentially been flat since the onset of the Great Recession in 2007. Median weekly earnings for full-time workers who graduated from ...


July 23, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1303874

Cecchetti & Schoenholtz:

... A well-functioning financial system is based on trust. Widespread belief in honesty and integrity are essential for intermediation. That is, when we make a bank deposit, purchase a share of stock or a bond, we need to believe that terms of the agreement are being ...


July 23, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1303876

July 23, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1303872

July 23, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1303875

"We don’t have a debt crisis, and never did":

The Fiscal Fizzle, by Paul Krugman, Commentary, NY Times: For much of the past five years readers of the political and economic news were left in little doubt that budget deficits and rising debt were the most important issue facing ...


July 23, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1303868

Gavyn Davies:

Another false alarm on US inflation?, by Gavyn Davies: There have been a few false alarms about a possible upsurge in inflation in the US in the past few years... There is an entrenched belief among some observers that the huge rise in central bank balance sheets ...


July 23, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1303871

Running late today -- two very quick ones. First, from Scientific American:

Will Automation Take Our Jobs?: Last fall economist Carl Benedikt Frey and information engineer Michael A. Osborne, both at the University of Oxford, published a study estimating the probability that 702 occupations would soon be computerized out ...


July 23, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1303867

From James Choi:

Why the Third Pounder hamburger failed: One of the most vivid arithmetic failings displayed by Americans occurred in the early 1980s, when the A&W restaurant chain released a new hamburger to rival the McDonald’s Quarter Pounder. With a third-pound of beef, the A&W burger had more ...


July 23, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1303869

The discussion continues:

Wall Street Skips Economics Class, by Noah Smith: If you care at all about what academic macroeconomists are cooking up (or if you do any macro investing), you might want to check out the latest economics blog discussion about the big change that happened in the ...


July 23, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1303870

July 23, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1303866

In a recent article, Amity Shlaes asserts official statistics mismeasure how we experience inflation. I’m going to agree, but not for the reasons you might think. It’s not because John Williams’ Shadowstats, which she appeals to, is right (Jim has comprehensively documented why each and every person who ...


July 23, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1303865

Here’s the introduction to a new paper I just finished:

This year the oil industry celebrated its 155th birthday, continuing a rich history of booms, busts and dramatic technological changes. Many old hands in the oil patch may view recent developments as a continuation of the same old story, wondering ...


July 23, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1303864
A


July 23, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1303862
Here is another weekly update on housing inventory ...

There is a clear seasonal pattern for inventory, withthe low point for inventory in late December or early January, and then usually peaking in mid-to-late summer.

The Realtor (NAR) data is monthly and released with a lag (themost ...


July 23, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1303861
CR Note: If you want to understand subprime lending, I strongly suggest the following post from my former co-blogger Doris "Tanta" Dungey. This was written in 2007, but the concepts are forever. Read it all.

What Is "Subprime"?

For other Tanta posts, see: The ...


July 23, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1303863
The Chicago Fed released the national activity index (a composite index of other indicators): Index shows economic growth decelerated slightly in June

Led by slower growth in production-related indicators, the Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) edged down to +0.12 in June from +0.16 in May. Two of the ...


July 23, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1303860
From housing economist Tom Lawler:

NVR, Inc. the fourth largest US home builder with a heavy concentration in the Mid-Atlantic region, reported that net home orders in the quarter ended June 30, 2014 totaled 3,415, up 4.2% from the comparable quarter of 2013. Net orders per active community ...


July 23, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1303859
Here is a followup on an earlier article concerning short sale fraud, from E. Scott Reckard at the LA Times: Former BofA short-sales employee gets prison term for taking bribes

A former Bank of America mortgage employee was sentenced to 30 months in prison for pocketing $1.2 ...


July 23, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1303855
The most important number in the NAR report each month is inventory. This morning the NAR reported that inventory was up 6.5% year-over-year in June. This is a smaller increase than other sources suggest (Housing Tracker shows inventory up 15% year-over-year in July), and it is important to note ...


July 23, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1303856
The Cleveland Fed released the median CPI and the trimmed-mean CPI this morning:

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, the median Consumer Price Index rose 0.2% (2.0% annualized rate) in June. The 16% trimmed-mean Consumer Price Index also increased 0.1% (1.8% annualized rate) during the month. The ...


July 23, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1303857
The NAR reports: Existing-Home Sales Up in June, Unsold Inventory Shows Continued Progress

Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, climbed 2.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.04 million in June from an upwardly-revised 4.91 million in May. ...


July 23, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1303858
From the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS): Consumer Price Index - June 2014

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.3 percent in June on a seasonally adjusted basis, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index ...


July 23, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1303854
The BLS reported this morning:

The Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) increased 2.0 percent over the last 12 months to an index level of 234.702 (1982-84=100). For the month, the index rose 0.2 percent prior to seasonal adjustment.

CPI-W is the index that is ...


July 23, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1303853
Earlier today, the Richmond Fed manufacturing survey for July was released: Manufacturing Sector Activity Expanded; Shipments Grew Mildly, Hiring Picked Up

Overall, manufacturing conditions strengthened. The composite index for manufacturing moved up to a reading of 7 following last month's reading of 4. The index for shipments gained one ...


July 23, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1303849
I've been using weekly inventory numbers from Housing Tracker ("DeptofNumbers") to track changes in listed inventory and it might be useful to compared the Housing Tracker numbers to the Realtor (NAR) numbers for inventory.

According to Housing Tracker for (54 metro areas), inventory is up 15.0% compared to ...


July 23, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1303852
From the MBA: Mortgage Applications Increase in Latest MBA Weekly Survey

Mortgage applications increased 2.4 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending July 18, 2014. ...

The Refinance Index increased 4 percent from ...


July 23, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1303850
Note: This index is a leading indicator primarily for new Commercial Real Estate (CRE) investment.

From AIA: Momentum Increasing for Architecture Billings Index

The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) is signaling improving conditions for the overall design and construction industry. As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, ...


July 23, 2014, 3:03 pm, 1303851
According to Black Knight's First Look report for June, the percent of loans delinquent increased slightly in June compared to May, and declined by 15.0% year-over-year.

Also the percent of loans in the foreclosure process declined further in June and were down 36% over the last year. Foreclosure ...


July 23, 2014, 2:45 pm, 1303847
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July 23, 2014, 2:45 pm, 1303848
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July 23, 2014, 2:45 pm, 1303846
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July 23, 2014, 2:45 pm, 1303845
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July 23, 2014, 2:45 pm, 1303844
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July 23, 2014, 2:45 pm, 1303843
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July 23, 2014, 2:45 pm, 1303842
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July 23, 2014, 2:45 pm, 1303840
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July 23, 2014, 2:45 pm, 1303841
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July 23, 2014, 2:45 pm, 1303839
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July 23, 2014, 2:44 pm, 1303838

TYLER COWEN has written a column on inequality, in which he notes that while inequality is rising within many economies it is falling globally. That is true, though it is worth pointing out that among the economies within which inequality is rising are large emerging markets like China and ...


July 23, 2014, 2:44 pm, 1303836

LOOKING backward, it is clear that American productivity growth has been pretty disappointing over the past 40 years, with the exception of an IT boomlet lasting from about 1996 to 2004. But past performance need not imply continued disappointment in future. The impressive gathering of innovative momentum in recent ...


July 23, 2014, 2:44 pm, 1303837

REPUBLICANS renewed their assault on the Federal Reserve recently, as they debated legislation to curtail the Fed's freedom to set monetary policy as it sees fit. The legislation would require the Federal Reserve to set interest rates according to a Taylor rule:a formula which adjusts interest rates according to ...


July 23, 2014, 2:44 pm, 1303835
On Tuesday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that the US Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose Mike Bryan on the Atlanta Fed’s Macroblog has made me think again.
at ...


July 23, 2014, 2:44 pm, 1303834

Chris Blattman of Columbia University talks to EconTalk host Russ Roberts about a radical approach to fighting poverty in desperately poor countries: giving cash to aid recipients and allowing them to spend it as they please. Blattman shares his research and cautious optimism about giving ...


July 23, 2014, 2:39 pm, 1303832

Warren Buffett has made such an impression on value investors and insurance investors, that they think that float is magic.  Write insurance, gain float, invest cleverly against the float, and make tons of money.

Now, the insurance industry in general has been a great place to invest, but we need to think about ...


July 23, 2014, 2:39 pm, 1303833

Recently, a friend of mine from Canada came to stay with me.  We talked about a wide number of things, but when we talked about investing, I described insurance investing to him, giving my usual explanation on reserving.

Classical life insurance reserves are a science.  Death happens with regularity, it is ...


July 23, 2014, 2:39 pm, 1303830

What has struck me about Modi’s maiden budget is not the fiscal arithmetic, but the framework. And while this note confines itself to analyzing the budgetary framework rather than the numbers, it should be noted that the effectiveness of the fiscal arithmetic has gone for a toss with the announcement ...


July 23, 2014, 2:39 pm, 1303828

Contemporary capitalism is characterized by a political economy that revolves around finance capital, is based on a savage form of free market fundamentalism, and thrives on a wave of globalizing processes and global financial networks that have produced global economic oligarchies with the capacity to influence the shaping of policymaking ...


July 23, 2014, 2:39 pm, 1303829

Randall Wray did a guest post at FT Alphaville as part of a series devoted to the upcoming Mission-Oriented Finance conference.

In his post, Wray counters the conventional story about the nature and significance of money with an alternate view drawing on Schumpeter’s notion of bankers as the “ephors” of capitalism:

Bank and central bank money creation ...


July 23, 2014, 2:39 pm, 1303827

We are still more than a week away from receiving the advance report for U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) from April through June. Based on what we know to date, second-quarter growth will be a large improvement over the dismal performance seen during the first three months of this ...


July 23, 2014, 2:38 pm, 1303825

U.S. federal courts have ruled that Argentina is prohibited from making payments to fulfill 2005 and 2010 agreements with its creditors to restructure its debt, so long as it is not also paying a few creditors that have all along been holdouts from those agreements.  The judgment is likely to ...


July 23, 2014, 2:38 pm, 1303824
Quite a few things to note and ponder in this chartbook on the causes of death, from the always-appealing Bloomberg Visual Data. "How Americans die":


July 23, 2014, 2:38 pm, 1303823
An important part of the CrossRail project has been decided with the news that the £1.4bn contract to run the new Crossrail service through London from 2018 has been awarded to Hong Kong-basedMTR Corporation. ...


July 23, 2014, 2:38 pm, 1303822
In London and much of the South East, the recovery has been well under way for a considerable time. House prices boom and restaurants are packed. The economic data for the UK as a whole looks just as encouraging, with employment being at its highest ever level.


July 23, 2014, 2:38 pm, 1303821
Violence is obviously the worst element of conflict, but the economic devastation can also be huge.Economists should be reflexively anti-war. Jeffrey Sachs discusses thewaste of war on Project Syndicate. You can use the topic of war to introduce economic ideas like opportunity cost, fiscal stimulus and supply side ...


July 23, 2014, 2:38 pm, 1303820
Ed Miliband has told his party's national policy forum that the party must change policy from their traditional approach of raising spending and taxes, saying ''Higher spending is not actually the answer to the long-term economic crisis''. Some members of the forum wanted to force a vote for an immediate ...


July 23, 2014, 2:38 pm, 1303819
The UK economy is doing well. Even so, it is not often that we are placed unequivocally at the top of a world ranking of any kind. But a team of economists led by Nicholas Gruen of Lateral Economics in Melbourne has done just that. In their recent report ...


July 23, 2014, 2:38 pm, 1303818
People do care about fairness, social norms and not just about a cold calculation of marginal cost and marginal benefit. In this excellent short interview on BBC World,Joe Gladstone, Behavioural Scientist at the University of Cambridge, discusses the new form of "Pay What You Want" pricing. This means consumers can ...


July 23, 2014, 2:44 am, 1303806

Kudos to Joseph Cotterill at FTAlphaville for an excellent post on the obsession with the Rights-Upon-Future-Offers (RUFO) clause in Argentina's restructured bonds, which seems to be driving Argentina to a payment default on those very bonds. Judge Griesa is not buying it, though --  at a hearing on ...