During the past few months, John Cochrane and I organized a series of workshops on the 2008 financial crisis. Monika Piazzesi, George Shultz, Niall Ferguson, Caroline Hoxby, and Darrell Duffie joined us in making presentations and, along with other colleagues who attended, turned the series into a vigorous and informative discussion.
In 2018, many of the world’s major economies faced profound political recalibrations. To improve stability in 2019, leaders will need to focus on bread-and-butter domestic concerns, while moving toward more flexible and decentralized political models capable of governing diverse populations.
Scott Sumner has a terrific post on teaching economics. The core ideas of economics are extremely counterintuitive and are not accepted by most people.... Non-economists also tend to reject the central ideas of basic economics, and for reasons that are not well justified.
California ranks first among the states in the percentage of residents over 25 who have never finished the ninth grade— 9.7 percent of California residents, or about 4 million Californians. It also rates 49th in the number of state residents who never graduated from high school — or about 18 percent of the current population.
Christopher Rufo at the New York Post has an interesting article on homeless problems in Seattle. The analysis rings true of many other areas, especially San Francisco. It is also a good microcosm of how policy and law in so many social and economic areas stays so profoundly screwed up for so long.
France's Yellow Vest protests are rooted in frustration with the government’s indifference to the plight of struggling households outside France’s urban centers. With job and income polarization having increased across all developed economies in recent decades, developments in France should serve as a wake-up call to others.
After 19 months, special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation has charged a number of targets with almost every conceivable sin -- except collusion with Russia to throw an election. Yet suspicion of collusion was the reason that Mueller was appointed in the first place.
Just before Christmas, the U.S. Department of Justice unsealed an indictment against two Chinese nationals who allegedly conducted a twelve-year “global campaign of computer intrusions” to steal sensitive intellectual property and related confidential business information from firms in a dozen states and from the U.S. government.
Given that the US Federal Reserve has long said that its interest-rate policy is “data dependent,” why has it pressed ahead with monetary tightening in the face of worsening economic indicators? Three reasons stand out.
“The situation for 1.5 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip is worse now than it has ever been since the start of the Israeli military occupation in 1967,” according to “The Gaza Strip: A Humanitarian Implosion.” The report, published by a coalition of non-government organizations, describes an alarming shortage of humanitarian and commercial supplies in Gaza. Drinking water and electricity fall well below demand. Sewage flows into the Mediterranean Sea. With unemployment around 40 percent, the economy is collapsing.
New House majority leader Nancy Pelosi reportedly spent the holidays at the Fairmont Orchid on Kona, contemplating future climate-change legislation and still adamant in opposing the supposed vanity border wall.
Since Election Day 2016, one story has dominated our attention––the person and rhetoric of Donald Trump. No amount of achievements by Trump and the Republican Congress at home or abroad can distract the bipartisan NeverTrump chorus from shrieking over tabloid trivia ranging from mysterious nudie selfies, to the president’s fifty-year-old draft deferments.
The late, great William Safire had a wonderful New Year’s tradition: treating his readers to a quiz on what to expect with the calendar flipped. Mr. Safire was indeed a gem, as his surname suggested. To honor his memory, here’s my (hopefully not-too-lame) attempt at things to ponder in what should be an eventful 2019.
The year ahead has the potential to be historic for the U.S. Supreme Court. With Justice Brett Kavanaugh replacing the inconsistent Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, conservatives have a majority on the court for the first time since 1936.
Neil Armstrong brought the world to the moon. As the first man to tread on that rocky surface, he reminded us that this was not only an American achievement but another link in humanity’s aspirational chain. It was “one small step for a man; one giant leap for mankind.”
Journalist and author Sebastian Junger talks about his book Tribe with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Junger explores the human need to be needed and the challenges facing many individuals in modern society who struggle to connect with others. His studies of communal connection include soldiers in a small combat unit and American Indian society in the nineteenth century.
A study based on data from North Carolina finds that grade inflation increased over the last decade and that grade inflation was more severe in schools attended by affluent students than in those attended by lower-income pupils.
The unlikely 2016 election of Donald Trump—the first president without either prior political or military office—was a repudiation of the American “aristocracy.” By “rule of the best” I mean the ancien régime was no longer understood to suggest wealth and birth (alone), but instead envisioned itself as a supposed national meritocracy of those with proper degrees, and long service in the top hierarchies of government, media, blue-chip law firms, Wall Street, high tech, and academia.
In the Watergate scandal that ultimately forced him to resign from office, President Nixon tried to use the CIA and FBI to target his political enemies and to carry out dirty tricks to help him win re-election in 1972.
Cuban health statistics appear to be a paradox. Wealth and health are correlated because greater wealth can buy better health care. Yet, Cuba remains desperately poor and appears to be healthy. Cuban life expectancies of 79.5 years and infant mortality rates of 4.3 per 1000 live births (2015) compare well with rich nations like the USA (78.7 years and 5.7 per 1, 000 live births) yet its per capita income of 7602.3$ make it one of the poorest economies in the hemisphere (World Development Indicators DataBank, 2017).
Let’s face it, when you’re a college-educated 57-year-old slinging parcels for a living, something in your life has not gone according to plan. That said, my moments of chagrin are far outnumbered by the upsides of the job, which include windfall connections with grateful strangers. There’s a certain novelty, after decades at a legacy media company—Time Inc.—in playing for the team that’s winning big, that’s not considered a dinosaur, even if that team is paying me $17 an hour (plus OT!).
I was telling a friend today about my recent blog post titled “A Friendly Amendment on the Border Wall.” He hadn’t read the post but quickly understood my point. His reaction: Almost no property owner would take that deal. Of course, whether the owner would take the deal would depend heavily on how much was offered. Make it high enough and many property owners would take the deal.
In “Discrimination and Disparities,” the latest book by Thomas Sowell, who, at 88, is regarded as one of the most prominent African-American conservatives of the day, the author refers to differences in “outcomes found in economic and other endeavors [which] may not be due to either comparable disparities in [people’s] innate capabilities or comparable disparities in the way people are treated by other people [discrimination].”
Hundreds of Shelby County High School students will remember December 2018 as the month when former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited their school. Rice spoke to students one morning in a private assembly kept under wraps until after she had left.
Every year, prominent figures in the tech industry release their predictions for what they see coming in 2019. Aryeh B. Bourkoff, the tech, media, and telecom banker who founded LionTree Advisors, is one of those figures.
[Subscription Required] As the book closes on 2018, there were some particulars along the way that deserved a second look and even perhaps an accolade. Mentioning books, there are two well worth your time: “The High Cost of Good Intentions” by John Cogan is a political and budgetary history of U.S. entitlement programs. It underscores why the programs have expanded inexorably over time, and just how hard it will be for our political system to reform them.