As you know, there are signs — tentative ones — that our economy is beginning to recover from Great Depression II. It’s about on schedule — I thought we would need about five years to crawl out of the hole we were in. But we had 5% growth in Q3 and unemployment continues to edge down (although the U6 remains high). Projections for 2015 are cautiously optimistic, barring a major war or something (which, with … Read more
Tag Archive: Economics
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Recent steps by federal regulators make it clear: low down-payment loans, a feature of the housing market’s boom, are coming back.
On Monday, Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt announced that mortgage-finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would start backing loans with down payments as low as 3%.
And on Tuesday, three federal agencies approved a loosened set of mortgage-lending rules, removing a requirement for a 20% down
For reasons that I hope I’ll explain one day, this week is going to be a bit crazy. So here are a few stories I’ve been sitting on, awaiting longer commentary:
A few weeks ago, Marvel comics unveiled an alternative Spiderwoman cover which was immediately decried as sexist because of her pose. I suspected that this criticism was largely coming from people who weren’t terribly familiar with the medium. And indeed, Maddox easily found a … Read more
Vox has one of their usual questions today, asking why our government doesn’t “fix” inequality.
Now before I get into this, I should say that I’m not entirely convinced that inequality is a problem needing fixing. Piketty’s book has been found to have some dubious data and his conclusion — that capital always grows faster than the economy — seems incredibly shaky and simplistic. The contention that inequality is increasing is subject to three assumptions … Read more
The economy contracted almost three percent in the first quarter, the worst quarter since the end of the Great Recession. Maybe it’s a blip, but that is a scary number. I’m sure the Obama defenders will blame it on the cold weather but I’m pretty sure we had cold weather in the past. Eventually, this will be Bush’s fault. Or “austerity”.
This is horrible news, whatever your politics. While I oppose Obama, I want the … Read more
You remember the “Summer of Recovery”? That was back in 2010 when the combination of fiscal stimulus and Obama frisson was supposed to get the economy moving again. Since then, we’ve been waiting and waiting for a full recovery, bumbling along at 2% growth with job creation barely keeping up with population. But I’m sure an economic boom is just around …
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The Commerce Department said on Thursday that the nation’s overall output
We’ve been hearing for the last couple of years that the Republican congress won’t do anything (with “do anything” defined as “unilaterally cave in to the President’s entire agenda”). But doing nothing cuts both ways. It’s not like the Democrats are proposing a raft of great laws that would save our country. And in many cases, they are opposing them for stupid reasons:
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A high-profile Senate bill that would dismantle Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
Building on Alex’s post on income inequality, I note that Mathew Yglesias published this over at Vox. Yglesis advocates for raising the top marginal rate on salaries above $10 million to 90% and the inheritance tax of estates over $10 million to 90%. His argument is that the Laffer Curve is largely bunk and there is no evidence that raising incomes that high would seriously hurt the economy, at least if it were confined to … Read more
Fresh off their recent report on Obamacare that predicted a decline in the workforce of 2.5 million (partially as a result of employer cutbacks, mostly as a result of people leaving jobs due to high effective marginal rates), the CBO today issued a report on the effect of raising the minimum wage.
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Raising the U.S. minimum wage would lead to the loss of about half a million jobs by late 2016 but lift almost a