From a previous CD post about Cheryl Crow’s tour rider from The Smoking Gun, which commented “When the global warming warrior hits the road, her touring entourage (and equipment) travels in three tractor trailers, four buses, and six cars. Now that’s a carbon footprint!”
Thanks to Tom McMahon of 4-Block World for sending this link of my segment on Kudlow and Company, and thanks to Larry Kudlow and his producers for having me on the show!
It was a little strange sitting in a remote studio in Troy, Michigan, looking into a TV camera during the taping, without being able to see Larry Kudlow or his guest Gary Shilling in the CNBC studio in New Jersey – I was following the conversation through an earpiece, which managed to fall out once!
After talking about the “Goldilocks Economy” with Larry and Gary, I tried to work the phrase “The Energizer Bunny Economy” into the conversation at the end, but we unfortunately ran out of time. Maybe next time!
The graph above show the closing prices for futures trading on Intrade for the contract “The US Economy Will Go Into Recession During 2007.” According to these contracts, there is only a 13-13.5% chance that the U.S. economy will go into recession by the end of the year. I have taken a short position on these contracts, meaning that I assume that the U.S. economy will NOT go into recession this year.
Inflationary expectations from the bond market over a 10-year horizon, taken by calculating the difference between the yield on a 10-year regular T-note and the yield on a 10-year indexed T-note. Data are from the St. Louis Fed.
Bottom Line: Inflationary expectations have been remarkably stable for the last 3 1/2 years, at around 2.4-2.5%.
More than 1,300 shop owners and business managers have been arrested in Zimbabwe as part of a crackdown on firms accused of flouting government-imposed price controls, police said Monday.
MP: The main difference between market prices and artificial, government-imposed prices? Market prices actually work. In terms of clearing the market, and preventing shortages or surpluses.
The latest plan to salvage Zimbabwe’s economy is to tie its currency to the South African rand, which is what Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland have already done.
Irrespective of battlefield outcomes abroad, it seems the fight against economic illiteracy at home is a battle that is never won.
One wonders why a minimum wage increase must be staggered and delayed if it is the cure-all its proponents portray it to be. The standard rebuttal is employers need time to adjust. But then the need for adjustment implies that the policy is hardly all benefit and no cost.
The negative consequences of raising the minimum wage seldom make the news, but they are all too prevalent and outweigh the advantages achieved.
Continue reading here.
From Cato’s Michael Cannon’s review of Michael Moore’s Sicko:
“You show how greedy insurance companies deny medical care to American patients. But you ignore the fact that power-hungry politicians do the same thing to patients in Canada, Great Britain, France, and Cuba — they just call it “rationing by waiting.”
You extol the virtues of France’s economic system, which seems to have socialized everything right down to laundry service. But you never tell your audience that taxes in France are 50% higher than in America, or that the French unemployment rate is double the American rate.”
1. Like all scarce goods and services, health care has to be rationed somehow – either with prices, or with time, in the form of long waiting lines and times for medical procedures. The problem with “rationing health care by waiting” is that some could die waiting. Even Canada’s Supreme Court said, “Patients die as a result of waiting lists for public health care.”
2. Despite the rosy picture Moore’s paints of life in France and Canada with “free” health care, I am not sure most Americans would want to trade our overall economic conditions for theirs. The chart above shows unemployment rates over the last 10 years in France (average = 9.71%), Canada (average = 7.42%) and the U.S. (average = 4.92%), and I think the message is pretty clear: the French economy is pretty sick.
“Before there was “Freakonomics,” Steven E. Landsburg wrote a regular column for Slate magazine called Everyday Economics. The column started in the summer of 1996 with an article headlined “More Sex Is Safer Sex,” in which Landsburg argued that H.I.V. would spread less quickly if relatively chaste people each took on a few more sexual partners.
For the last decade or so, economists have been increasingly poking their fingers into other disciplines, including epidemiology, psychology, sociology, oenology and even football strategy. These economists usually justify their expansionism on two grounds: They say they’re better with numbers than most other researchers and have a richer understanding of how people respond to incentives.
Arrogant as this sounds, there is some truth to it. Besides, the public seems hungry for the kind of real-world social science economists are practicing. “Freakonomics,” by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, has spent more than 100 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list.”
The NY Times review predicts that Landsburg’s book “will command a much smaller audience than some of the economics-tinged best sellers mostly because it is short on the nuance that comes from real human stories.”
Greg Mankiw offers a better explanation of “Why Landsburg is No Levitt”:
“Freakonomics was light on theory, heavy on (quirky) facts, and that is why it appealed to so many people. Landsburg is lighter on facts, heavier on (quirky) theories. He revels in the sometimes surprising logic of economics, which is not nearly as compelling for laymen as it is for econ professors.
By the way, I have read the Landsburg book and recommend it. But, then again, I am an econ professor.”
According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the average length of an economic expansion since WWII is 57 months. The current economic expansion that started in December 2001 is now in its 67th month, and still going strong (see graph above).
According to today’s WSJ: “The job market’s solid performance in June, along with recent signs of vigor in manufacturing and a buoyant stock market, suggest the U.S. economy is entering the second half with considerable steam despite nervousness on Wall Street about cracks in the credit markets and woes in housing.
In short, the U.S. economy seems to be enjoying a Goldilocks moment — not too hot, not too cold.”
From Vanguard’s weekly report on the U.S. economy and financial markets:
Summary: Economic news was good overall as Americans celebrated the nation’s birthday. June’s unemployment rate at 4.5% was unchanged as services industry continued to add workers to payrolls. Indexes of both the manufacturing and services sectors rose in June to their highest levels since early 2006. Factory orders slowed in May, though not nearly as much as predicted. For the week, the S&P 500 Index rose 1.8% to 1,530. The yield of the 10-year U.S. Treasury note climbed 16 basis points to 5.19%.