July 30, 2005
Which came first: the savings chicken or the deficit egg?
David Altig at Macroblog raises some very thoughtful questions about the relation between the drop in the U.S. saving rate and the current account deficit.
July 29, 2005
New GDP data and recession probabilities
The Bureau of Economic Analysis today released its advance estimates for the second quarter, reporting real GDP growth of 3.4%, implying a very slight increase in the recession probability index to 4.7%.
July 27, 2005
Time for optimism about Social Security
Precisely because several of the initiatives on Social Security seem to have stalled, the time may be ripe for some real progress to be made.
July 25, 2005
Why the Fed needs to slow down
The Fed has promised to keep on raising interest rates at a "measured pace." I just prefer they'd measure their pace a little more slowly.
July 24, 2005
How many people should be working in America?
Quite a few commentators have suggested that the labor force participation rate is a much better indicator of the health of the U.S. labor market than is the unemployment rate. I feel that quite a few commentators have this wrong.
July 22, 2005
Discussions with economists about peak oil: Chapter 3
Thanks to the comments from many of you, I think I now have a better idea about why economists have a hard time communicating with others about the issue of peak oil. But I'm not quite sure what to do about it.
No blackouts yet
July 21, 2005
Unwinding the deficit spin
Updated tax data are in and the spinners will spin. But the numbers can speak for themselves.
July 19, 2005
San Diego in the spotlight
Say what you will about San Diego politics, at least it's not boring.
July 18, 2005
Fact-checking the fact-checkers
When Chairman Ben Bernanke of the Council of Economic Advisors made a statement about the U.S. housing market last week, some analysts jumped all over him. It looks to me like Bernanke had his facts exactly right.
July 17, 2005
The week in oil markets
The news from China last week could be the first indication of an extremely important development.
July 16, 2005
Should we worry about all that debt held by foreigners?
I think we should, and here's why.
July 15, 2005
On a lighter note
Who says economists don't have a sense of humor? Well, maybe you will, after you find out that I admit to having chuckled over these accounts. Judge for yourself.
July 14, 2005
Further discussion about economists and peak oil
The many interesting and thoughtful responses to my invitation for more open communication between economists and others about peak oil has led me to a clearer understanding of exactly what it is we're seeing differently. Here I attempt to state a little more narrowly and precisely what I see as the key substantive issue that I believe may most merit further consideration from both sides.
July 13, 2005
The puzzle of long-term yields
Sherlock Holmes solved one of his cases by noticing a dog that didn't bark. Well, here are a few canines that don't seem to be yipping around the decline in long-term bond yields.
July 11, 2005
How to talk to an economist about peak oil
I for one would like to see better communication between economists, geologists, and petroleum engineers about the timing and consequences of the eventual decline in global annual production rates of crude petroleum. In part the failure to communicate better with each other stems from differences in the language, assumptions, and paradigms with which those of us from different specialties approach this issue. As one small step toward bridging that gap, I'd like to lay out for noneconomists a few of the key aspects of how economists might think about peak oil.
July 09, 2005
Here and there around the web
Catching my eye here and there around the web: Supreme Court speculation, a natural experiment in market microstructure, a troubling Kansas court decision, pirates, and an expression of support for those in London.
July 08, 2005
Are the new employment figures really that bad?
The unemployment rate has reached its lowest level of the last four years, and yet some economists still wring their hands in despair over the anemic job situation. I'm having some trouble following their reasoning on this one.
July 06, 2005
How high will the Fed push interest rates?
Here's one way you can figure out if you've pulled the car far enough into your garage-- if you run into the wall, you went too far. Hopefully the Fed has another plan for how to decide when to stop raising the fed funds rate.
July 05, 2005
$100 a barrel-- what are the odds?
Talk about where oil prices are headed is cheap, so at least we have plenty of that. But how seriously does the market take the various possibilities that are being bandied about by the pundits?
July 03, 2005
Where did that huge trade deficit come from?
Some have blamed the rest of the world for the rapidly growing U.S. current account deficit. But I believe that the true explanation is to be found here at home.
July 01, 2005
Some like it hot
California may again offer the nation a useful illustration this summer of how not to deal with an energy crisis.