November 30, 2013
Presidents and the economy
An interesting new research paper by Princeton Professors Alan Blinder and Mark Watson examines differences in performance of the economy under Democratic versus Republican presidents. The paper begins:
The superiority of economic performance under Democrats rather than Republicans is nearly ubiquitous; it holds almost regardless of how you define success. By many measures, the performance gap is startlingly large--so large, in fact, that it strains credulity, given how little influence over the economy most economists (or the Constitution, for that matter) assign to the President of the United States.
October 13, 2013
An exit strategy for Republicans
Like many other Americans and observers around the world, I find the ongoing spectacle in Washington both perplexing and distressing. But having seen the President follow the advice of our mighty blog for choosing the next chair of the Federal Reserve, I feel emboldened now to recommend a course of action for the House Republicans.
September 28, 2013
Time to Prepare for Government Closure
The House is preparing to vote on a CR that incorporates a one year delay in implementation of Affordable Care Act (aka "Obamacare").  This outcome almost assuredly guarantees a government shutdown. 
January 20, 2013
A long-run perspective on the U.S. deficit and debt
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis economist Daniel Thornton has a new paper looking at long-run factors in the U.S. deficit and debt. His graphs tell a familiar story, but one worth repeating.
January 16, 2013
Debt-ceiling economics and politics
Let me outsource this topic to some others who've said it better than I could.
November 10, 2012
Links for 2012-11-10
A few links to some items I found of interest.
November 07, 2012
President Obama won a second term in office yesterday, receiving 50.3% of the popular vote But the Republicans held control of the House of Representatives and Americans remain deeply divided. Historically, the party in control of the White House loses some congressional seats in the midterm elections. That means that any legislation passed into law over the next two years, and likely the next four years, is going to have to be agreed to by both a Democratic President and a Republican House.
November 04, 2012
Going over the fiscal cliff
The "fiscal cliff" refers to a broad set of tax increases and spending cuts that under current U.S. law will take effect in January. A recent assessment by Bank of America Merrill Lynch estimates the tax increases in 2012 could come to $470 B and spending cuts another $250 B, for a combined fiscal shock of $720 B, or 4.6% of GDP.
October 24, 2012
Here are two maps for those trying to follow the U.S. presidential election.
October 21, 2012
Reducing oil imports
On Wednesday I noted that encouraging more U.S. oil production was unlikely to result in a significant drop in U.S. retail gasoline prices. Nevertheless, I believe that there would be some important economic benefits from lowering the U.S. oil import bill, as I discuss here.
August 19, 2012
The Ryan Plan and bipartisan compromise
I have a dream.
July 21, 2012
The fiscal cliff and rationality
What should happen, what could happen, and what will happen?
November 23, 2011
Taxing the 1%
Trying to prevent an increase in tax rates on the richest 1% of Americans looks to me like a losing strategy for the Republicans.
July 09, 2011
Debt ceiling options
As Congress and the President continue to wrangle over raising the debt ceiling, more of us are wondering, what would happen if the debt ceiling isn't raised? To paraphrase Sherlock Holmes, when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be Plan A.
June 04, 2011
Debt ceiling politics
Here's a link to an interview with a local TV station.
April 26, 2011
The Washington Post reported last week on a discouraging poll. Americans supposedly want to reduce the deficit, but not if it means changing Medicare, cutting programs like defense or Medicaid, or raising taxes on anybody but the very richest Americans. Democrats and Republicans seem farther than ever from finding agreement. It's times like this that I'm glad there are some optimists around who still see some basis for making progress with America's daunting fiscal challenge.
January 05, 2011
Debt ceiling politics
The decision to raise the debt ceiling will be the first test of whether the Republicans can move from tree shaking to jelly making.
November 03, 2010
Arnold Kling notes that exit polls show that 52% of those who voted have an unfavorable opinion of the Democratic Party and 53% have an unfavorable opinion of the Republican Party. Arnold comes up with this conclusion:
People with an unfavorable view of Democrats went 88-10 for Republicans, but people with an unfavorable view of Republicans only went 76-22 Democrat.
That was the difference in the election. The "unfavorables" on net broke Republican. The way I would spin it is that there is a large block of voters who are negative on both parties, the Republicans captured a larger share of that block, and that block swung the election.
February 28, 2010
What drives media slant?
University of Chicago professors Matthew Gentzkow and Jesse Shapiro propose an answer.
November 27, 2008
The more the merrier
How many economic-advice-giving organizations does it take to run a White House?
November 24, 2008
Obama's economic plans
President-elect Barack Obama today announced more details of the economic team that will be advising the new president. I find these quite encouraging.
August 30, 2008
Obama's acceptance speech
Barack Obama gave a fine speech at the Democratic National Convention on Thursday. But I'm troubled by what I see as its underlying economic philosophy.
May 05, 2008
Gasoline prices: consumers and politicians respond
The trend is clear: demand is down and complaints are up.
May 06, 2007
Can this be true?
Did Bush know about the 9/11 attacks in advance?
allegedly 35% of American Democrats answered "yes" and another 26% said they are not sure.
If that's accurate, America's system for communicating facts and ideas is seriously broken. I'm wondering if that breakdown might be related to the following dilemma. If you are a liberal elected official or opinion maker who is shown evidence of such massive delusion, do you (a) try to correct it, or (b) try to exploit it?
April 19, 2007
The politics of future promises
I have been detailing concerns about meeting the pension and health care obligations of the city and county of San Diego. Although these challenges arise at the level of our local government, the problem appears to be national in scope, as a sampling of stories from PensionWatch makes clear.
January 25, 2007
Derek Neal for president
December 29, 2006
WIN buttons and Arthur Burns
I normally find myself agreeing with Dave Altig's high-quality analysis over at Macroblog. But I'm afraid I have to leave Dave all alone in his latest quixotic mission to defend Arthur Burns (Chair of the Federal Reserve during the great inflationary episode from 1970 to 1978) and Gerald Ford's old WIN buttons.
October 20, 2006
Map showing projected outcomes of U.S. senate elections
Via Midas Oracle, a neat map from Computational Complexity showing the current Tradesports probabilities for U.S. Senate outcomes. Like the graphics I collected here, this is continually updated live.
October 18, 2006
Proposition 87 expenditures
Last week I discussed the way in which California's Proposition 87, the Clean Alternative Energy Act, would raise revenues. Today I take a look at some of the implications of its proposed use of those funds.
October 10, 2006
Proposition 87 tax plan
Sixteen of the 191 pages that Californians are asked to read in order to vote intelligently in the upcoming election are devoted to discussion of Proposition 87, the Clean Alternative Energy Act. This calls for $4 billion or more in new taxes and spending. In this post, I discuss only the tax side of this proposal, and hopefully will have an opportunity to take up the spending details in a sequel.
October 07, 2006
Following the U.S. elections
If you're looking for an alternative to the talking heads and endless spinning, here are some quantitative tools for following the U.S. elections that I've found useful.
September 24, 2006
What do Russia and California have in common?
July 21, 2006
That's one way to raise those campaign dollars
A California lawyer tells doctors that they should not expect to be asked to testify in workers' compensation trials unless they contribute $2,500 to Phil Angelides' campaign for governor.
March 20, 2006
The politics of the deficit
Congress squawks about the horrible debt and then adds even more red ink.
February 18, 2006
The case against my former representative in Congress, Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-CA), is pretty unbelievable.
November 13, 2005
Does it matter whether Bernanke is a Republican?
Mr. Dooley told us that the Supreme Court watches the election returns. So also must the Chair of the Federal Reserve.
September 10, 2005
It is my intention occasionally to offer thoughts about some of the propositions on which Californians will be asked to vote this November and provide a forum for discussion of the issues. Today I take up Proposition 77, the redistricting initiative.
August 06, 2005
Update on Kelo in California
New developments on the implications of the Supreme Court's Kelo decision for California.
July 19, 2005
San Diego in the spotlight
Say what you will about San Diego politics, at least it's not boring.
June 24, 2005
A supreme mistake
Count me among those disgusted with the Supreme Court's ruling against Susette Kelo, which asserted the right of the government to seize her home in order to divert the property to what it judged to be a use of higher economic value.
June 11, 2005
Time to repeal McCain-Feingold
Everybody seems to agree that this law at a minimum needs some major tweaking. I say it's time to throw it out altogether.