“It is no crime to be ignorant of economics, which is, after all, a specialized discipline and one that most people consider to be a ‘dismal science.’ But it is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on economic subjects while remaining in this state of ignorance.”
Larry Kudlow: Are the Obama scandals good for stocks?
Are Laffer: They’re terrific for stocks, Larry. We need a change in economic policy, and there is no better change than if we take the Senate in 2014, and then the presidency in 2016 – that would be phenomenal for stocks. This administration is bad for the economy, and it’s bad for stocks. When they trip, especially at the IRS, it just doesn’t get any better than that for the future of the country.
“We are in the midst of the worst Washington scandal since Watergate. The reputation of the Obama White House has, among conservatives, gone from sketchy to sinister, and, among liberals, from unsatisfying to dangerous. No one likes what they’re seeing. The Justice Department assault on the Associated Press and the ugly politicization of the Internal Revenue Service have left the administration’s credibility deeply, probably irretrievably damaged. They don’t look jerky now, they look dirty. The patina of high-mindedness the president enjoyed is gone.”
7. From today’s BLS report on state employment and unemployment: Oil-rich North Dakota led the US with the highest year-over-year job growth in April at 3.74%, and oil-rich Texas wasn’t far behind at 3.01%. Once again, North Dakota had the lowest state jobless rate in the country at 3.3% in April.
10. From NPR: In the Cape Cod community of Falmouth, voters will decide if two, town-owned wind turbines will be taken down. Dozens have complained of headaches, insomnia and other issues since the first turbine started spinning in 2010.
The humble shipping container is a powerful antidote to economic pessimism and fears of slowing innovation. Although only a simple metal box, it has transformed global trade. In fact, new research suggests that the container has been more of a driver of globalisation than all trade agreements in the past 50 years taken together.
Containerisation is a testament to the power of process innovation. In the 1950s the world’s ports still did business much as they had for centuries. When ships moored, hordes of longshoremen unloaded “break bulk” cargo crammed into the hold. They then squeezed outbound cargo in as efficiently as possible in a game of maritime Tetris. The process was expensive and slow; most ships spent much more time tied up than plying the seas. And theft was rampant: a dock worker was said to earn “$20 a day and all the Scotch you could carry home.”
Containerisation changed everything. It was the brainchild of Malcom McLean, an American trucking magnate. He reckoned that big savings could be had by packing goods in uniform containers that could easily be moved between lorry and ship. When he tallied the costs from the inaugural journey of his first prototype container ship in 1956, he found that they came in at just $0.16 per tonne to load—compared with $5.83 per tonne for loose cargo on a standard ship. Containerisation quickly conquered the world: between 1966 and 1983 the share of countries with container ports rose from about 1% to nearly 90%, coinciding with a take-off in global trade (see chart above).
8. Christina Sommers – Let’s Not Oversell the Financial Benefits of Having Women on Corporate Boards. Studies show that there’s zero positive correlation—and sometimes even negative correlation—between female board members and business success.
First milk, butter, coffee and cornmeal ran short. Now Venezuela is running out of the most basic of necessities – toilet paper. Blaming political opponents for the shortfall, as it does for other shortages, the government says it will import 50m rolls to boost supplies. That was little comfort to consumers struggling to find toilet paper on Wednesday.
Commerce minister Alejandro Fleming blamed the shortage of toilet tissue on “excessive demand” built up as a result of “a media campaign that has been generated to disrupt the country.”
MP: As frequently happens, the government imposes mandated price ceilings below the market price, which then lead predictably and inevitably to shortages, which the government then blames on “excessive demand” or “speculators” or ”hoarding” or anything besides the real culprit — the price controls themselves.
Opponents of minimum wage laws correctly anticipate the economic chaos and chronic surpluses of low-skilled workers that inevitably result from artificial, government-mandated wages (prices) above the market-clearing wage. Proponents of minimum wage laws deny any resulting economic chaos or chronic surpluses, or assume the distortions are minimal.
Q: To be logically consistent, shouldn’t advocates of minimum wage laws also support the price controls in Venezuela?
Or stated differently, how is it possible that price controls in Venezuela obviously cause economic chaos and shortages, but minimum wages laws don’t have the same negative effects? What kind of contorted “logic” would it take for somebody to support minimum wage laws in the US but reject price controls in Venezuela? For consistency, it would seem like you would have to either: a) support both the price controls in Venezuela and minimum wage laws in the US, or b) reject the price/wage controls in both countries, no?
Economists have been puzzled by the persistence of low interest rates. Several years ago, Ben Bernanke talked about a “global savings glut” as one possible reason. Kenneth Rogoff recently discussed some of the competing theories which includes factors such as emerging economies and increased long-term uncertainty.
I want to advance one heretical idea: Are long-term interest rates being held down by lower fertility rates? Mark Perry highlights the dramatic plunge in global fertility rates. In 50 years, women are having half the number of children they used to.
How does this effect interest rates? For most of human history, your retirement plan was your kids. Having a lot of children and raising them was your savings account. With modernity, people are trading in their metaphorical savings account for real ones.
This is just a speculative question on my part, but I wonder if these two phenomena are related.
The Obamas and the Bidens released their 2012 tax returns on the White House blog today.Now that Biden’s tax returns are coming under public scrutiny, he and Dr. Jill Biden seem to be feeling a bit more charitable than the former, rather uncharitable Senator Joe Biden, whose tax returns probably received little attention, if they were even released at all.
To grasp the importance of the revolutionary change in oil and gas drilling sweeping across the United States -- and its significance for our economy -- just consider how far behind the rest of the world is lagging.