Category: Economy

The End of the 40-Year War on Government

The war on government also made it possible to reduce non-defense domestic discretionary spending—that is, all government spending except defense spending and “non-discretionary” entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare, where anybody who’s eligible receives benefits automatically. Domestic non-discretionary spending represents only about 14 percent of all federal spending, which is why shrinking it has […]

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“The Smartest Thing We Can Do Is Act Big”

Today, Treasury Secretary-nominee Janet Yellen addressed the Senate Finance Committee during her confirmation hearing. In her statements, she argued that major fiscal stimulus is justified to support the economy while the pandemic still rages. She stressed the need to address income inequality and pledged support for the incoming Biden administration’s climate change policies. In other […]

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Biden Calls For Bold Rescue Plan To Tackle Economy

NewsOne Featured Video Just days before his inauguration, President-elect Joe Biden announced the “American Rescue Plan,” a $1.9 trillion recovery plan to combat COVID-19 and get the economy and the nation on track. In remarks Thursday night, Biden called for expanding direct financial assistance and relief including another round of direct cash payments to individuals, […]

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Here Comes the Pin

IT is drifting into view. Its outline is beginning to take shape… Yes, we can see it now, sharp and shiny — a pin — on a collision course with a bubble… The stock market bubble. What is propelling this pointy menace? When might it impact? Answers to follow. Let us first glance at the […]

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Is Tether Just a Scam to Enrich Bitcoin Investors?

Whatever the investigation in New York turns up, Tether’s short history is already replete with strange criminal characters, unsolved hacks, sudden switches between overseas banks, and huge, unexplained losses. There’s likely more to come. As a connective tool for the larger crypto economy, the potential of Tether was clear. The class-action lawsuit puts it simply: […]

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One of the Greatest Economic Blunders in History

The U.S. economy lost 140,000 jobs in December. Only about 55% of the jobs lost in March and April have returned. That’s a significant number. Americans and others around the world who make their living as bus drivers, bartenders, waiters, hair stylists and boutique store clerks, among thousands of other jobs, make up 50% of […]

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This Is Tyranny

Well, wasn’t that a great fireworks display on Wednesday? It’s going to be pretty hard to lecture the world about democracy and peaceful elections after this. You can bet it got Congress’ attention. It’s one thing if angry crowds storm a Target in Minneapolis or break things in Portland, but it’s another thing when they […]

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Democrats Shouldn’t Just Restore American Democracy. They Should Reinvent It.

The supposed stewards of democracy in our government have made basic civic participation something closer to a luxury good than a universal right. Poverty and racism are clear barriers to voting and running for office; lack of transportation, the fact that elections aren’t national holidays, outright voter suppression, a dearth of public campaign finance laws—all […]

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Biden Will Face New Depression

Economic growth or decline is the result of factors that are larger than any one administration or any one set of policies. Of course, specific policies such as tax changes or regulatory initiatives can help or hurt the economy depending on how they are designed, but they will generally not change the macro-momentum. A tax […]

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The Case Against the $2,000 Checks

Unemployment has rebounded, too, but by much less, and in November it was still 6.7 percent. (We’ll get December’s unemployment rate on January 8.) The same Cares Act that sent $1,200 checks to most American households allocated $600 per week in additional unemployment benefits, lifting 7.2 million people out of poverty, according to the EPI. […]

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Here’s What’s Coming in 2021

The calendar has scrolled to 2021, mercifully. The plague year has ended. As a financial newsletter, we are duty-bound to give our annual market forecast — such as it is. So today we fetch our crystal ball from storage… blow away the dust… and gaze for images of the year ahead. How long will the […]

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A Pandemic Dividend for Every American

The idea of including citizens in the wealth stream made possible by public investments is, in turn, related to a myriad of proposals for universal basic income popularized by Andrew Yang, Andy Stern, and Peter Barnes. Those ideas source their funds from either the public treasury or, in the case of the Alaskan Permanent Fund […]

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Instacart Is a Parasite and a Sham

The pandemic has devastated wide swaths of the U.S. economy, causing more than 22 million job losses and about 25 percent of small businesses to close, many of them for good. But some companies have thrived amid this catastrophe—indeed, thrived because of it. Instacart, the grocery delivery service, is booming, with sales up 500 percent […]

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The Year of Magical Thinking in American Politics

Never in living memory has late December been so welcome; 2020, the year that lasted centuries, is nearly done. A lot of us didn’t make it. But for all the anxiety that mounted throughout the summer and fall as the presidential election drew nigh, Trump’s attempts to bring about the worst-case scenario—a stolen election or […]

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Mitch McConnell Is Giving Us a Sneak Preview of the Political Hell to Come

President Trump says he wants most Americans to receive $2,000 checks from the federal government. So does the Democratic-led House of Representatives, which voted Monday to bump up the total from $600 per individual, as allocated by the $900 billion pandemic stimulus bill that Trump grudgingly signed on Sunday. Even some Senate Republicans are on […]

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Trump’s Cruelty Will Cost Americans Billions for Literally No Reason

US President Donald Trump walks to board Air Force One prior to departure from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, December 23, 2020, as they travel to Mar-a-lago for Christmas and New Year’s. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)  President Trump just created a multibillion-dollar debacle. And he got […]

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Operation Santa Is a Horror Story About American Poverty

Thanks to Operation Santa, Vicky, the girl who asked for a new power wheelchair, may be connected with a charitable organization that can help her. Many thousands of poor people will be helped in this way by holiday-season generosity. But the needs of impoverished children can’t be met by charity alone; the scale of poverty […]

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The Return of Corporate Tax Incentives Is a Bad Omen for Blue States

In September, New Jersey officials announced a plan to borrow $4.5 billion to cover what The New York Times referred to as a “gaping financial hole” in the state’s budget. It was an understandable move given the Covid-19 pandemic’s deleterious effect on employment and local tax revenue, and Democratic Governor Phil Murphy’s advisers said they […]

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The Case for Giving Workers Ownership Rights

Full worker cooperatives comprise a small portion of the American economy today. An annual survey by the Democracy at Work Institute and the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives, in 2018, estimated that there are around 800 of them, and those that were verified by researchers employed fewer than 7,000 workers. But around 14 million workers […]

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Republicans for Recession

In March, a partisan Republican calculus on whether to assist state and local governments might have been screw ’em, it’s only the blue states. That’s what Trump would be saying out loud the following month. But there was also much reason to fear that a second Great Depression was brewing, for which Trump would be […]

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Should You Laugh or Cry?

The announcement came yesterday afternoon… Interest rates stay glued to the floor. And the Federal Reserve will continue inflating its balance sheet until… “substantial further progress has been made toward the Committee’s maximum employment and price stability goals.” We expect the Committee will be very busy for very long. Jim Rickards estimates pre-pandemic growth rates […]

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Suicide of a City

I updated my economic forecast last month to include a recession in the first quarter of 2021, based on the reemergence of lockdowns. It was one of those forecasts I hoped I’d be wrong about. Yet, all of the news since then confirms its accuracy. With governors like New York State’s Andrew Cuomo, you can […]

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Gold Is Ready To Rumble

Gold had a nice run last week. It traded up from $1,769 per ounce on Monday, November 30, to $1,842 per ounce by the close on Friday, December 4. That’s a 4.1% gain, not a bad week’s work. Gold’s trading at about the same level today. Still, this mini-rally has to be put in the […]

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The Stubborn Classism of Classical Music

Writer and musician Linda Catherine Cutting, in her article for WBUR Boston, gestures toward this understanding, yet only as a passing thought:  In all major American orchestras, only 1.8 percent of the musicians are Black, a statistic that doesn’t touch the field of talent that’s available, as there’s a much higher percentage of Black classical […]

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The Insidious Classism of Classical Music

Writer and musician Linda Catherine Cutting, in her article for WBUR Boston, gestures toward this understanding, yet only as a passing thought:  In all major American orchestras, only 1.8 percent of the musicians are Black, a statistic that doesn’t touch the field of talent that’s available, as there’s a much higher percentage of Black classical […]

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The “Great Reset”

LIKE the poor… the world improvers will always be with us. The latest batch is yelling for a “Great Reset.” The prevailing economic, political and social institutions are inadequate to needs, they insist. Capitalism in its current form is the barbarous relic, a grotesque antique. Tinkering, adjusting, tweaking the thing is hopeless. It wrecks the […]

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“Party Time Is Just Around the Corner”

“PARTY TIME is just around the corner”… This is the conclusion of Money Week, the gleeful conclusion. Why is “party time” just around the corner? Because the 2020s will roar as the 1920s roared… and the “deflationary fog” long overhanging the economy will finally scatter: The key rationale for not just one good year, but […]

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More Bad News for Main Street

The November unemployment report came issuing this morning… A Dow Jones survey of economists had projected 440,000 new November jobs. The actual figure? 245,000 — a mighty “miss.” Thus our deep disfaith in the crystal-gazing of experts is affirmed… again. “Overall, it is a disappointing report,” said economists at Jefferies by way of understatement, explaining: […]

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Why Joe Biden Can Stop Worrying and Start Spending Like Crazy

And that’s the magic of public money, the alchemy of public finance. Because then even big, well-directed public investment is—by definition!—not inflationary. The new money, simply spent into existence by our money-issuing federal government, creates the very means of its own absorption. This observation is the key to an economic recovery program that can be […]

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