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The real and unreal in Trump’s tax plan

Tax observations: The burden of the corporate income tax—surprise—really does fall mostly on corporations and their owners, rather than being passed along to consumers. Hence, cuts in this tax—just plain cuts—are likely to increase the after-tax income of the wealthy much more than middle class or poor people. This must be kept in mind by

01 May 2017
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Post-conference post

On Friday and Saturday, an economics department held a conference in honor of  its new building. There was little unbridled praise of free markets. Many celebrants were people who had been students in the Ph.D. program in the department, which got its start as a radical department in the 1970s. The design of the new

30 Apr 2017
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Money Market Mutual Funds: Holdings evolve amid revamp debate

Another chart related to my research on money market mutual funds, a type of retail investment offering great liquidity and yields that follow market rates on short-term securities.  Each series in the figure represents a type of assets held by this sector. The data are from the U.S. Financial Accounts; all I have done is

20 Apr 2017
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Why not cut the deficit?–answering a noneconomist’s question

A friend sends an investment advice newsletter from a broker-economist type. The letter–a propos of the current effort to ramp up tax reform work in Congress after the health-care flop–discusses debt and the deficit in the United States. Typical of the deficit hysteria-entitlement reform camp, the article mentions amounts amounts of  government debt per U.S.

18 Apr 2017
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Range and punch of anti-stagnation tools should be increased

In the New York Times’s Dealbook column, macro issue as Justin Wolfers attempts to make a case that a re-do of the policy arsenal is in order. While the employment situation is vastly improved, policymakers won’t be able to count on Fed rate cuts to rescue the economy next time, given low post-crisis “settings” of

10 Apr 2017
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Major “populist” and fiscal-stimulus items offer glimmer but stay off front burner

Some progressive economists are cringing at a right-wing administration and its likely nefarious acts. On the other hand, while I count myself among this group, I see the Trump Administration as an interesting chance to get away from the standard neoliberal policies likely to be in force most of the time. For example, interventionist economic

19 Mar 2017
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Prospects for fiscal- and trade-policy flexibility dim a bit

This blogger puts on a reporter’s hat once again, with some tidbits from the press on prospects for macroeconomic policy in the coming years. A report in the Financial Times suggests that the Wall Street faction in economic policy issues may be pushing aside Peter Navarro as a player with power on trade issues, at

16 Mar 2017
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Recent peso policy developments bring up theoretical controversies

The latest issue in exchange rates is still what will happen as the Fed carries out the process of raising short-term interest rates on government paper from levels that were effectively zero before last December. Usually such moves increase the value of the home currency, as investors and traders exchange their money for dollar-denominated assets

08 Mar 2017
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MMMFs and more post-conference wrap-up

The money market mutual fund (MMMF) data featured in my last post may need some explanation and in fact I ended the post with the statement, “More later.” I gathered the data in connection with work on this financial instrument that I did for a presentation at the Eastern Economic Association meeting last weekend. The

04 Mar 2017
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Post-conference upload: Money Market Mutual Fund Data

Financial Accounts data from Federal Reserve Board of Governors website (www.federalreserve.gov). More later.

02 Mar 2017
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