Economics

"Unraveling the Secular Stagnation Story"

Steve Hanke endorses Robert Higgs's "regime uncertainty" hypothesis.

Once regime uncertainty enters the picture, the secular stagnation story unravels. Private investment, the cornerstone of the story, is weak not because of market failure, but because of regime uncertainty created by the government. The government is not the solution. It is the source of the problem.


"California for whom?"

Joel Kotkin and Wendell Cox:

Yet, this notion of California as a land of outsiders is being turned on its head, our state’s dream repackaged – often with the approval of its ruling hegemons – as something more like a medieval city, expelling the poor and the young, while keeping the state’s blessings to the well-educated, well-heeled and generally older population.


"We Didn't Humanize Markets, Markets Humanized Us"

Excellent piece by Steve Horwitz.

Over Labor Day weekend, I saw many friends arguing that labor unions and government intervention “humanized capitalism” by giving us the 8-hour workday, the 40-hour workweek, ending child labor, and so forth. Unfortunately, these folks have their history backward.

We didn’t humanize capitalism, it humanized us. The wealth produced by capitalism allowed us to indulge our humanitarianism in ways not possible when so many were living on the edge of survival.


"Player suspensions: the best punishment an NFL team could hope for"

Guardian columnist predicts it won't be long until NFL coaches and players illustrate, yet again, a fundamental principle of economics.

If only there was a way to give players a break, keep them healthy and have them rolling in mid-season form for the playoffs. Perhaps we’ve accidentally hit upon the one area in which Roger Goodell can be useful after all.


"Reverse Voxsplaining: Drugs vs. Chairs"

Excellent question to start and an excellent answer.

. . . when was the last time that America’s chair industry hiked the price of chairs 400% and suddenly nobody in the country could afford to sit down? When was the last time that the mug industry decided to charge $300 per cup, and everyone had to drink coffee straight from the pot or face bankruptcy? When was the last time greedy shoe executives forced most Americans to go barefoot? And why do you think that is?


"Micro vs. Macro"

John Cochrane:

The cause of sclerotic growth is the major economic policy question of our time. The three big explanations are 1) We ran out of ideas (Gordon); 2) Deficient "demand," remediable by more fiscal stimulus (Summers, say) 3); Death by a thousand cuts of cronyist regulation and legal economic interference.

On the latter, we mostly have stories and some estimates for individual markets, not easy-to-use  government-provided statistics. But there are lots of stories.


"Our Quick Take on CBO's August Projections"

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget presents the discouraging forecasts.

CBO now projects deficits more than tripling, from $438 billion in 2015 to $1.24 trillion by 2026, with trillion dollar deficits returning by 2024. CBO now projects the deficit for 2016 to be $152 billion higher than 2015 at $590 billion.

Debt held by the public, meanwhile, will grow by $10 trillion from $13.1 trillion at the end of 2015 to $23.1 trillion by 2026. As a share of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), debt will grow from 74 percent of GDP in 2015 – already twice its pre-recession levels – to 85.5 percent of GDP in 2026.