I’m spending too much time around economists

Well, actually I think the time is well-spent.  But it is funny how often economic thinking and concepts directly intrude on my thoughts the older I get and the more time I spend with economists in person and in print.  Two cases in point, both related to the concept of opportunity cost: 1.   I was stuck at … Continue reading I’m spending too much time around economists

Uncertainty, the Small Investor, and Recovery

By now, we have all heard the basic argument that a core problem impeding recovery during the 1930s was the uncertainty created by public policy. In Robert Higgs’ words: “the New Deal prolonged the Great Depression by creating an extraordinarily high degree of regime uncertainty in he minds of investor.” New or anticipated taxes and … Continue reading Uncertainty, the Small Investor, and Recovery

Recovery Summer Update: Wie geht’s?

With but a few weeks left in “Recovery Summer,” this past week was not what many would have hoped. On Tuesday, the Federal Reserve’s FOMC announced that “the pace of recovery in output and employment has slowed in recent months” and “the pace of economic recovery is likely to be more modest in the near term … Continue reading Recovery Summer Update: Wie geht’s?

Recovery Summer Update

The Summer Recovery Tour has just completed its scheduled stop at Yellowstone National Park, as the touching account on the White House Blog informs us. Meanwhile... The Beige Book, released yesterday, “underscored the Fed’s view that the recovery, while still moving forward, is progressing at a slower pace than earlier in the year.” (BusinessWeek) James … Continue reading Recovery Summer Update

Unemployment: the Shrinking Denominator

Well, the new jobs numbers were released today: nonfarm payroll employment fell by 125,000 in June. At the same time, the unemployment rate fell from 9.7 to 9.5 percent. Before the celebrations begin (“Recovery Summer is underway! The unemployment rate fell!”) recall that the rate only reflects those who are in the labor force. According … Continue reading Unemployment: the Shrinking Denominator

Recovery Summer

The Recovery Summer is well underway. Vice President Biden sought to rally the troops in the Milwaukee stop of his Recovery Summer tour by noting: "there's no possibility to restore 8 million jobs lost in the Great Recession." Today, a  sharp drop in the Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index have sent markets into a triple-digit … Continue reading Recovery Summer

Policy Differences Among Economists and “Disinterested Citizens”

Milton Friedman argued in 1953 (and again in 1967) that economic policy differences are rooted primarily in different views about the consequences of those policies -- and that these disagreements could largely be eliminated by better positive economics (!).  Specifically, he wrote: I venture the judgment, however, that currently in the Western world, and especially in the United States, … Continue reading Policy Differences Among Economists and “Disinterested Citizens”