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Food prices are going up: That monthly increase puts the US on pace to see a 20% increase in food prices over the next year. The consensus is to dismiss that extrapolation as doomerist nonsense. I guess I'm a doomerist. To repeat: Consumer price increases are coming. The total CPI declined because travel, lodging, and... 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
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
Argue over whether or not reparation payments are owed to blacks by the descendants of whites who brought the ancestors of these blacks to a country where today they enjoy more than ten times the purchasing power of their cousins back in sub-Saharan Africa? That debate is taking place in states like Wisconsin, Indiana, and... Read More
In the comments from the previous post, blogger Robert Wiblin contested my presumption that unskilled immigration raises the native unemployment rate. We may be talking past one another, as he provided links to studies finding small decreases in unemployment from increased levels of overall immigration. Given the inherent difficulty in tracking illegal immigrants, these studies... Read More
From the WSJ's What's News section: Houses were being built with reckless abandon a few short years ago, and times were good then. Clearly, we need the relentless construction to resume. Never mind that 2009 was yet another record year for home foreclosure filings: This will lead to the adjustments needed in the larger economy... Read More
The feature article of the June 29 issue of BusinessWeek magazine includes one-page profiles of housing markets in seven cities; six because they look to be set for a vigorous, speedy recoveries (Omaha, Seattle, Saratoga Springs, Salt Lake City, Nashville, and Austin) and one, Merced, to serve as an example of how some places will... Read More
After at least $170 billion in government money to prop up a financial and insurance conglomerate so big that the implosion of the global economic network was assured to follow its downfall, Congress votes to slash performance compensation for AIG employees by 85%.So when the well-being of the company's shareholders and customers rested on their... Read More
In a recent post, Steve Sailer reacts to a treasure trove of a report on foreclosure statistics out of the University of Virginia. There are a couple of observations that might be of interest in addition to the content of Steve's enlightening (as always) article.1) The minority recession (and potential depression) is aptly named. But... Read More
A commenter at Mangan's named Chris looked at the correlation between the per capita illegal immigrant population and the foreclosure rate by state and found a correlation of .68. Using his population figures (accessible here) and the foreclosure or preforeclosure rates from a data-rich paper out of the University of Virginia yields a slightly stronger... Read More
In a column detailing the moribund state of manufacturing in the US, Pat Buchanan wonders how we respond to the persistent trade deficits Paul Volcker recently identified as the underlying cause of the global recession:He suggests an "industrial policy". A simple way to start is by instituting a national sales tax to replace the federal... Read More
Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill was on the front page of the KC Star yesterday after her heated remarks proposing limits on compensation for investment banking executives:My initial reaction was to wonder why Congress critters continue to receive six-figure salaries and generous benefits when the federal budget has been in the red for all but four... Read More
Awhile back, I tried to convince a Dennis Mangan contemplating leaving California that Johnson County, Kansas was worthy of his consideration. Half the county's 350,000 people 25 or older have at least a bachelor's degree, and the poverty rate is half the national average while median income is 150% higher. He showed no interest, but... Read More
My second favorite Big Four firm predicts that this Memorial Day weekend will see fewer cars on the road than has been the case in years past: Gas prices are something that the public is more interested in than the major media outlets appear to be. Pew reports that while 31% of the public monitored... Read More
Mike Huckabee's ascension paralleled the ascension of the FairTax idea--replace the federal income tax with a national sales tax. That rise is evident on the editorial pages of the WSJ, where multiple pieces in opposition to the idea have been run in recognition of Huckabee's potential VP spot on the GOP side. The board's position... Read More
The 'subprime meltdown' (or 'mortgage crisis') has brought mixed relief to me, at least on a personal level. The larger economy is not free from the rules that act on individuals within it. In trying to get my mind around the problem the US faced in rapidly rising home prices combined with a savings rate... Read More
++Addition++John Savage and Randall Parker weigh in. Randall counts 48 countries, including the Palestinian territories, but I'm still coming up with 47. John isn't surprised that the US ranks dead last in its citizenry's support for free trade. In the body of the full report, Pew reveals that the US swing from five years ago,... Read More
I feel like I have a lot in common with Bruce Bartlett. So he has a lot more real-world experience and influence than I do, makes a lot more money than I do, rubs elbows with people who are a lot more important than I do, and... Ahem! Enough of where we diverge. We have... Read More
Cramer, Wall Street, and the lenders were all just thrown a bone:The discount rate is distinct from the funds rate, the latter directly influencing adjustable and new mortgage, credit card, and auto loan rates. But cutting the discount rate by 8% provides a cheaper source of cash for banks and lenders who are reeling from... Read More
I disagree with Jim Cramer's plea to the Fed, even if he got the window opened for awhile like he wanted. He's made quite a name and nestegg for himself in pushing hedge funds that have managed 20% returns in a market growing at a real annualized rate of about 3%. The math doesn't seem... Read More
Several subprime lenders have recently gone under. Many alternate A lenders are teetering (an alt-A loan is one made to a person with good credit, but who lacks other qualifications for prime lending, like proof of income over some threshold). The stock market has been given the shakes as a result. So this doesn't come... Read More
The Heritage Foundation's Robert Rector and company have released a report that meticulously presents what is intuitively obvious--unskilled, low-wage earners receive more in government benefits than they contribute in taxes (this is the focus), immigrants (legal and especially illegal) are disproportionately represented among unskilled low-wage earners, and consequently current US immigration policy is a effectively... Read More
I've long assumed the surest way to avoid becoming overweight is to expend more calories than you consume. It seems foolproof. The motley mix of diet strategies is hard to make sense of and often times just doesn't seem to work. The same inklings arise when pondering international trade imbalances. Consumption drives economic growth, but... Read More
Former VP candidate Jack Kemp, who retired permanently from public life after questions arose about his dealings with traders tied to the UN Oil-for-Food scandal and who now has his own consulting firm, opines in a WSJ op/ed piece:It's a tired bromide. Instead of having an incoming Hispanic underclass killing livestock and defiling ranches along... Read More