The Unz Review • An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
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Janet Yellen is being floated as one of the top two potential Treasury Secretary nominations in a Biden administration. Recall she was Obama's Fed chair. She would be only the second person in American history to have held both positions. The other person to do it was William Miller of the Carter administration, one of... Read More
And it's a good thing they don't, else we wouldn't be in the midst of a V-shaped recovery: It's a good thing the government spending $9.5 billion a day, or $400 million an hour, or $6.5 million a minute, or over $100,000 a second beyond what it vacuums up in taxes doesn't matter, because if... Read More
Net responses to the question of whether the family's financial situation has gotten better or gotten worse over the last year, by state: Trump will win all of the net better and net no change states, but he'll need to win several net worse states as well to be reelected. That's tough. The campaign strategy... Read More
the Fed stands alone, hi low the dollar goes, the Fed stands alone: China may gradually reduce its holdings of US Treasury bonds to about $800 billion from the current level of more than $1 trillion, as the ballooning US federal deficit increases default risks and the Trump administration continues its blistering attack on China,... Read More
More evidence UBI is coming. It's implicitly already here. It's a question of when, not if, its perpetual recurrence becomes codified into law: It is almost unheard of for an action explicitly tied to Trump to be this popular. Even Democrats are split down the middle. To say it's a winning issue for the president... Read More
A tale of four charts: In late 2018, the Fed timidly tried to raise rates. The market went into free fall. The Fed promptly reversed course by cutting rates close to zero. The repurchase market went haywire several months later. The Fed intervened to prop it up. When coronavirus hit, the market collapsed again. With... Read More
Until a sufficiently effective vaccine is available, the basic activities that characterize life in the modern West will remain unavailable. "Not sure" responses, constituting 16% of the total, are excluded: Over the last few months, $3 trillion in wealth was taken from the unconnected lower and middle classes and transferred to the well-connected, richest, and... Read More
The Federal Reserve is stuck. There is no way to raise interest rates without crashing the market. That was made clear in late 2018. The Fed balance sheet must continue to rise towards infinity in hopes that it is enough to goose the financial system forever. Even that hasn't been enough for the repurchase markets,... Read More
UK's COTW: Yes, it is fundamentally immoral (a word I do not use ever) that the S&P 500 should be so fully secured by the state that it can be at its record high from equity super-boom October of just last year. It really is a case of playing at the casino, keeping your winnings... Read More
For growth in personal income, anyway: Incomes are up, consumer prices are down, the dollar is invincible, and only nonsensical doomerists think deficits matter. Extend the CARES act unemployment provisions set to expire at the end of July, make the stimulus checks recurring, and prosperity is here to stay. We cracked the code. We're richer... Read More
When the US began shutting down in response to fears about an impending coronavirus catastrophe, we asserted the health effects would pale in comparison to the economic carnage the pandemic would initiate. That take drew equal amounts of derision and incredulity. Clarifying that coronavirus was the match starting the conflagration rather than the dry brush... Read More
UBI, junior addition, is wildly popular: The senior addition is pretty popular, too: Republicans, led by the president, initially got to the left of Democrats with the onetime payout to all tax-filing American adults. As the extent of the economic carnage comes into public focus, congressional Democrats are pivoting past the ground the populist wing... Read More
From the GSS 2010 onward (N = 7,886), the percentage of native-born Americans who belong to or have spouses who belong to labor unions is 13.1%. For foreign-born residents, the figure is 9.3%. Natives are thus over 40% more likely to be union members than immigrants are. The AFL-CIO and Jeff Bezos are both big... Read More
The following graph shows the percentages of people who prefer "the government respect civil liberties, even if that means accepting some risk to public safety". Residuals show the percentages who prefer "the government ensure public safety, even if that means limiting some civil liberties": Most Americans don't want a shot at liberty if it comes... Read More
Crude oil for May delivery plunged into negative territory today, the first time such a thing has ever happened. We have negative interest rates so why not negative rates for other prices? After all, an interest rate is fundamentally the price of money. I'm being facetious--mostly. The indications are everywhere. The global credit system is... Read More
Amazon ships food, but the company doesn't grow it. Netflix has plenty of cooking shows, but the company doesn't do any cooking. While backyard gardens are quaint, serious food production isn't something that can be done by people who are sheltering in place. Domestic production is being disrupted: Similar production problems are happening in other... Read More
Rusted Wardrobe? Rotted Retailville? Coin something as memorable and pithy as the phrase "Rust Belt" and you'll have made a lasting contribution to the lexicon, because the service sector shuttering is upon us. The desolation of the country's brick-and-mortar retail spaces, including bars, restaurants, botique shops, and the like will change the face of the... Read More
There is strong bipartisan (and non-partisan) support for showering the country with money. From the redwood forests to the gulf stream waters, this helicopter money was made for you and me. Yeah, ideally the Imperial capital's theater would be cut out, but it's a giveaway that can be overlooked. Support, by partisan affiliation, for various... Read More
Having just talked to a friend who sees piling into dollars as a way to make a quick buck (heh) from the current economic downturn provides an excuse to put down a record of a stream of consciousness for posterity's sake--my own and the critics'. His argument, in short, is that inflation can't happen here... Read More
Lowe raises a couple of interesting points in favor of the conventional understanding of the credit economy: This doesn't describe the technology sector in general or consumer electronics in particular. Computers, smartphones, televisions--these items are all more expensive today than they will be tomorrow, yet sell they do. More significantly, this should hold true for... Read More
Countering the fairly strong correlation between coronavirus cases and the size of the ethnically Chinese population at the state level come a pair of polls from SurveyUSA (N = 1,850). The organization asked respondents if anyone they know--a friend, a relative, a colleague, or a neighbor--has been diagnosed with coronavirus. The percentages who responded in... Read More
In the latest iteration of the GSS, the survey introduced a question asking respondents if they agreed or disagreed with the assertion that "for a society to be fair, differences in people's standard of living should be small". The following graph shows 'sympathy for socialism' scores* by selected demographics. Understand this is assessing the colloquial... Read More
A week later, in a poll taken from March 13th through March 15th, the percentage of Americans who think "the coronavirus is a hoax" remains unchanged, at 13% (nearly 1-in-7). This is subsequent to two presidential addresses, the funds rate cut to zero, quarantine edicts, steadily rising case loads, etc. As mentioned previously, the binary... Read More
If the economic collapse is exclusively a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic and the western countries in its path are able to follow something like South Korea's trajectory, we should be on the way back to business as usual by summertime. Terribly sad for the elderly victims and their friends and families, but minimal loss... Read More
Largely lost in the sauce of a hectic and scary week was president Trump's announcement of an allegedly temporary suspension of interest payments on outstanding student loan debt. That means student loans are now both interest-free and guaranteed by the the Federal Reserve. The Fed funds rate is also going to zero. The chance that... Read More
is a lot lower than the blue state rate. From The Council for Community and Economic Research: The following table ranks states, colored in accordance with their 2016 US presidential vote, in ascending order by their cost of living indices: COL index 1) Mississippi 2) Oklahoma 3) Arkansas 4) Missouri 5) Michigan 6) Alabama 7)... Read More
The inverse correlation between a state's housing affordability ranking and the percentage of its population that is foreign-born is a rigorous .62. This is not because bringing people in boosts demand for and thus the cost of housing, of course. That would be xenophobic. It is the unaffordable housing that in fact attracts the immigrants... Read More
Z Man also suspects things are coming to a head: The Federal Reserve is cornered. It cannot go to nominally negative in
Last week, YouGov included a couple of interesting but clumsy questions about jobs and trade. The organization has released a new poll this week with a much cleaner question that cuts to the chase. It asks respondents if "free trade is good or bad" for the US. The following graph shows, for selected demographics, the... Read More
COTW from Charles Pewitt: The Fed attempted to gently increase the federal funds rate in 2018 with the stated intention of raising them four consecutive times in 2019. The result was one of the worst Decembers in the history of the American stock market. Instead of raising, the Fed has cut three times this year.... Read More
In the 2018 iteration of the survey, the GSS asked a new question about what kind of company people would prefer to work for. Participants were given three possible responses to choose from--1) "a company in which the government owns the stock and appoints the management to run the company's operations", 2) "a company whose... Read More
Beats me: The price spike at the end of 2017 corresponded to a surge in search volume interest about how to get in on the action. Many of the people who drove that surge in search interest were immediately wiped out for their trouble. A fool and his money... The ability for whales to manipulate... Read More
Over the last several decades, educational creep has predictably led to a decrease in the average intelligence of college graduates. Yet even after controlling for intelligence, higher educational attainment is associated with higher earnings. The following graph shows mean annual earnings by highest degree attained among five tiers of intelligence as measured by Wordsum. To... Read More
The following map shows mean average IQ by state using 2013 NAEP scores from eighth graders in math and reading: And this map shows the average credit scores by state, according to 2017 data from VantageScores: Despite the War on Noticing, indefatigably astute readers will detect a similarity between the maps. This is on account... Read More
Taking donations is not something I've done or will ever do. It's a zero-sum game and there are people trying to scrape a living together doing dissident right media who are infinitely more deserving. However, if you're buying something from a vessel on that big river in South America and you'd prefer kicking a few... Read More
The previous post on the apparent decline in the average IQ of college graduates in the US over the last fifty years used the GSS' 10-question Wordsum vocabulary test as a basis for those IQ estimates. As was pointed out, vocabulary tends to increase with age (through the late fifties before peaking and then beginning... Read More
The Mercatus Center at GMU recently released a report on the fiscal health of each of the states--or more precisely, the fiscal health of each state's government. The methodology looks sophisticated and reasonable. Since the report wasn't commissioned to be evaluated on the factors I'm evaluating it on, I'm comfortable using it as a plausible... Read More
George Gilder discusses this in his book Men and Marriage but the data he uses is three decades old. There may be a way to get at the question via US Census data on households but the questions differ from survey to survey and tend to report household totals without breaking down individual income contributions.Fortunately, there are... Read More
This came in response to Trump toying with the idea of US debt default a few weeks ago. My intention was to post it here in a timely manner but it got lost it the sauce for awhile. So in the famous words of Ringo Starr, forgive the lateness of my reply. --- Trump was... Read More
It feels like I must have glossed over it before, but flipping through the annotations in Ann Coulter's ¡Adios America! I'm not finding any references to it. I figure that if I'd find it anywhere, it'd be there.The seemingly obvious thought just occurred to me that if the number of illegal immigrants in the US... Read More
Total ad spending (combined by candidate and PACs supporting that candidate) per vote received in primaries and caucuses among the remaining presidential candidates through the end of March: Trump's doing the most with the least and the socialist is doing the least with the most. Fitting. If we consider those no longer actively campaigning, though,... Read More
A little liveblogging. --- John Kasich, managing director of Lehman Brothers when it collapsed, is explaining what the federal government should do when a company like, well, Lehman Brothers becomes insolvent. This guy is a caricature of everything that is wrong with the contemporary Republican party. --- Carly Fiorina says we need more troops in... Read More
In addition to ruling the academic and professional roosts, Keynesians control the public mind. The monetarists (ie Milton Friedman) aren't impervious though, even if their spiritual leader is: Combined interest in the Austrian triumvirate is still dwarfed in comparison to what is directed towards the princeps Keynes and Friedman:   Economics is apparently like mechanics... Read More
As a provincial in the hinterlands, the title of Thomas Frank's What's the Matter with Kansas? has been stuck in my craw since I first started blogging nearly a decade ago. It's not due to a necessarily strong attachment to the state I call home, but to the presumption that being in a place like... Read More
Ben Southwood left the following comment worth remarking upon in the thread on a previous post concerning feminism's War on Biology: Perhaps, though it seems nearly every economist professes to believe that immigration exerts no meaningful downward pressure on wages, too, and I'm unconvinced on that front as well! In fact, I think there is... Read More
Steve Sailer writes: As an early millennial, I remember hearing a bit about the topics in a college macroeconomics class, but that was about it. I do recall a seemingly inordinate amount of focus on insider trading. The latter is a sexier subject because of the soap opera intrigue and bigger-they-are, harder-they-fall story lines it... Read More
Randall Parker points to a CNBC article focused on unfunded pension liabilities at the state level that is packed with quite a bit of data on the financial condition of the fifty. I've been after something like this for several years. There are multiple ways to view the numbers, but probably the most broadly informative... Read More
I remember hearing in junior high and high school a fair amount about how the US had become a "service economy" and that the provision of services had replaced the provision of goods as the marker of a country's affluence; in college, I recall a handful of passing references being made; contemporaneously, I can't think... Read More
NES and SNES era rpgs are close to my heart, an inseparable part of my childhood. Hey, we're talking about the early nineties here, so I could've been doing a lot worse. As I'm always happy to point out, these games are the reason why I knew, as a third grader, what the words "zenith",... Read More
A few years ago, I became frustrated when unable to find a table of national governmental expenditures as a percentage of GDP by country. So, using data from the invaluable CIA World Factbook, I created one. It's gathered some dust, and an update is in line, especially since something or other having to do with... Read More