January 31, 2006
Are the oil companies earning enough profits yet?
"Drivers Upset By Record Oil Company Profits", reports CBS3 News in Philadelphia, and quotes one driver as describing the oil companies as: "Robbers, thieves, taking advantage of the people."
January 29, 2006
Autos and the U.S. economy
A number of analysts have suggested that autos play a much less significant role in the U.S. economy today than they have historically. The data from 2005 would seem to call that conclusion into question.
January 27, 2006
The 2005q4 GDP report and the trade balance
Little sign of the reversal in the trade deficit.
Gloomy GDP report
Very weak GDP figures produced a slight rise in the recession probability index and warrant a more pessimistic outlook for 2006.
January 25, 2006
Soaring commodity prices
Is U.S. monetary policy behind the surge in commodity prices?
The full post of the discussion about economic forecasting that I had with Professor Kashif Mansori of Colby College and Angry Bear is now up at the Wall Street Journal's Econoblog. Here's my bottom line:
Don't ask for too much of your forecast or your policy, and it won't disappoint you.
Or maybe you should read the whole thing.
January 24, 2006
When is it good to be a bad forecaster?
I've been engaged in a very interesting discussion with Kash at Angry Bear on economic forecasting which will appear in the Wall St. Journal's Econoblog later this week. Kash has a couple of posts ,  based on his contributions over at Angry Bear. Here are the remarks that I used to open the discussion:
January 22, 2006
Careful with that "e-waste"
As a service to California readers, I call attention to new state regulations on disposal of household waste.
January 21, 2006
Fiscal Exposure and Medicare Part D
Even if the new Medicare prescription drug plan's implementation improves, that's just the beginning of our problems.
January 20, 2006
Strange ideas about the Iranian oil bourse
The internet can be a good source of information about issues that aren't adequately covered by the mainstream media. It can also be a font of considerable kookiness.
January 18, 2006
Oil market jitters
The February oil futures price on NYMEX has jumped $8 a barrel in the last three weeks. It's useful to try to put this into a broader view of what's going on in the world oil market.
January 17, 2006
The neoclassical paradigm
Do economists have a sensible way of thinking about the world?
January 16, 2006
Long term prospects for U.S. net exports in perspective
Does the cross-border fragmentation of production mean that measured trade flows are irrelevant?
January 12, 2006
Trade figures for November
How good is the news, really?
January 11, 2006
Putting arcane symbols into Powerpoint presentations
I've just written up the Idiot's Guide to Using Tex with Powerpoint. Here it is (it's only one sentence long):
Download this, find the symbol you want, and copy and paste it into your presentation.
January 09, 2006
What's the Fed waiting for?
The Fed is likely to stop raising rates soon. What will be the final signal that enough is enough?
Hazards of partial reading and partial equilibrium analysis
For some people, the answer to every problem is a tax cut
January 05, 2006
2005: the oil shock that didn't bite?
All but one of the recessions in the United States since World War II have been preceded by a dramatic increase in oil prices. Did we escape unscathed in 2005?
January 03, 2006
Some worries for 2006
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, oil closed back up above $63 a barrel today. I earlier expressed the opinion that demand pressure would prevent an oil price collapse. But the news driving the market this week seems not to be demand but instead new concerns about supply.
January 01, 2006
Government interest payments on the rise
Government interest payments are on their way up. Payments to non-residents are going up even faster.