Trump on federal debt “discounts”: an ex post

It appears few if any observers agree with my interpretation of Donald Trump’s idea for dealing with the federal debt, which was based on early reports. It seemed to me from a post on the New York Times’s Upshot that the policy idea would be to enter into novel debt contracts allowing the government to reduce

07 May 2016

Non-bad macro policy ideas in Trump interview

What would macro policy be like in a Donald Trump administration?  In a recent CNBC interview, Trump elaborated on his views on both monetary and fiscal policy. The New York Times’s Upshot analyzes the views expressed by Trump: a phone interview with CNBC on Thursday, he showed both the strengths and limitations of this background

07 May 2016

A big milestone

I rarely digress from economics and economic policy in this blog, but very few people live to be 100 years old. My grandfather, Fred Hannsgen, recently enjoyed a birthday gift of a major league baseball game with relatives, including my parents.  It was a very rare treat for all, including Grandpa, a serious fan and

02 May 2016

Re-emergent in the campaign discourse—an anti-bigness theme

The New Yorker notes that anti-trust law (which concentrates on combating the ills of monopoly power) has been a theme in the presidential campaigns of both Democrats and Republicans this primary season. The article notes that this theme was large for economic republicans, whose ideas were important in the early (19th century) politics of the

25 Apr 2016

Pelosi Pay-go and Republican Voodoo both wrongheaded

A New York Times op-ed by House speaker Nancy Pelosi  argues that the lack of  “paygo” principle (each spending increase must be “paid for”) in the Congressional budget violates an unstated budgetary mathematics which is purportedly the same as the one that applies to you and me. Hence, she opposes this budget, even though some

22 Mar 2016

The Myth of the Lehman sisters? A debunker speaks

Evolutionary psychologist Cordelia Fine of Melbourne University is known as a keen debunker of myths. She was at the State University of New York at New Paltz’s Coykendall Science Building last night bringing her formidable abilities to bear on risky behavior in finance. Is it at least partly rooted in behavior by men that is

17 Mar 2016

Outstanding corporate bond debt still trending upward

I’ve blogged before on the boom in bond issuance by the U.S. nonfinancial private sector. Here is a figure that uses data from the new (2015Q4) Federal Reserve flow-of-funds data release of this past week: Link to figure at St. Louis Fed site. In the figure, the amounts outstanding are divided by nominal GDP.

13 Mar 2016

Neat and on the web

Cool: On austerity: Elizabeth Warren supports increased Social Security at a new poverty policy site at the Center for American Progress, TalkPoverty. Signs of an austerity trap in the U.K. continue, with the FT reporting yesterday on an unexpectedly large budget gap in the U.K. after years of fiscal tightening. From Bill Mitchell’s Billy Blog:

12 Mar 2016

Sanders’s economic plan: interesting questions remain, part 2

We continue our discussion of how big the effects might be of a large fiscal stimulus, inspired by the debate over Sanders’s plans and the realism of projected growth rates of more than 5 percent, which were called into question recently by economists Christina and David Romer. Is it dubious economics to suggest that a

08 Mar 2016

The Sanders plan: interesting Keynesian questions remain

While we were away and then battling illness, New York Times columnist Justin Wolfers  called the debate on the effects of Sanders’s economic plans, which include expenditures on health care and other programs, along with efforts to redistribute income from rich to poor. Wolfers quotes a study by Christina and David Romer, who are not

07 Mar 2016
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