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Mohamed El-Erian: Are Central Banks Losing Their Big Bet?
Posted: July 19, 2019 at 07:45 AM (Friday)

ZURICH – Following the 2008 global financial crisis, central banks bet that greater activism on the part of other policymakers would be their salvation, helping them to normalize their operations. But that activism never came, and central bankers are now facing a lose-lose proposition. In recent years, central banks have made a large policy ...


John Goodman: Replace The Cadillac Plan Tax, Don't Repeal It
Posted: July 19, 2019 at 07:12 AM (Friday)

If there is one thing that tends to unite economists across the political spectrum it’s the view that the government should not give unlimited tax subsidies to employer-provided health insurance. Yet that is what we have been doing Partially as a remedy for that problem, Obamacare imposed a (yet to take effect) tax on expensive health ...


Mohamed El-Erian: Why the Fed Should Not Deliver a Big Rate Cut
Posted: July 19, 2019 at 05:00 AM (Friday)

Caving to pressure could help markets but would risk harming the U.S. economy. What’s wrong with a 50 basis-point interest-rate cut? I’m all for central banks doing their utmost to support high, durable and inclusive growth. But this doesn’t mean throwing everything at the wall when the economy is doing relatively well, financial markets ...


Betsy McCaughey: The high hidden price of paid-family-leave laws
Posted: July 18, 2019 at 08:50 PM (Thursday)

Democrats see your paycheck as fair game for their endless social-improvement projects. Every Democrat vying for the White House backs federal legislation that would guarantee workers nearly three months of paid family medical leave every year. Sounds wonderful. We all favor caring for newborns and sick relatives. And working nine months ...


Kathleen Hefferon and Henry Miller: Cures for Cancer Could Grow on Trees
Posted: July 18, 2019 at 07:00 PM (Thursday)

Poorly designed regulation blocks investment in ‘pharming’—plant-based medications and vaccines. Politicians talk a lot about farming but seldom about “pharming,” even though the latter can also have a big impact on Americans’ pocketbooks—and their health. The punny name refers to genetically modifying plants such as corn, rice, tobacco ...


Paul Krugman: Deficit Man and the 2020 Election
Posted: July 18, 2019 at 06:30 PM (Thursday)

The Trump bump probably peaked too early. I’ve seen a number of people suggest that the 2020 election will be a sort of test: Can a sufficiently terrible president lose an election despite a good economy? And that is, in fact, the test we’d be running if the election were tomorrow. On one side, Donald Trump wastes no opportunity to remind us ...


Scott Walker: Supporting free enterprise and conservative values
Posted: July 18, 2019 at 04:19 PM (Thursday)

'We have it in our power to begin the world over again'. We live in the greatest country in the history of the world — the United States of America. Young people like my two sons, Matt and Alex, have opportunities unheard of by prior generations. At the same time, it is shocking to read polls that show that nearly 60 percent of young ...


Jared Bernstein: Cities would like to raise their minimum wages, too, but states keep blocking them
Posted: July 18, 2019 at 12:55 PM (Thursday)

The House of Representatives passed a long-overdue increase in the federal minimum wage Thursday. The bill would raise the wage floor from its current $7.25 an hour, where it has been stuck for a decade (the longest period on record without an increase), to $15 by 2025. Unfortunately, now it will almost surely die in the Senate. That might be ...


Bjørn Lomborg: The Nutrition Challenge
Posted: July 18, 2019 at 08:40 AM (Thursday)

EDINBURGH – Additional investments in early childhood nutrition are crucial, and should be a high priority for donor and recipient governments, multilateral development organizations, and philanthropic foundations. The case for such spending is clear, and the payoffs will almost certainly be enormous. It's easy to think of starvation as ...


Veronique de Rugy: Unemployment, Underemployment, and the Comprehensive Jobless Rate
Posted: July 18, 2019 at 12:01 AM (Thursday)

When it comes to the health of the labor market, we don’t know the full story. When he testified before Congress last week, Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell made an interesting comment: "We don't have any basis or any evidence for calling this a hot labor market." He added that "to call something hot, you need to see some heat." ...


John Cochrane: Forget the Gold Standard and Make the Dollar Stable Again
Posted: July 17, 2019 at 06:57 PM (Wednesday)

Precious metals no longer make sense as a store of value. Instead, peg money to goods and services. Some of President Trump’s potential nominees to the Federal Reserve Board have expressed sympathy for a return to the gold standard. Conventional monetary-policy experts deride the idea—and not wholly without reason. The gold standard won’t work ...


Andy Puzder: Good economic news is so awkward for the Democratic candidates
Posted: July 17, 2019 at 05:25 PM (Wednesday)

With the U.S. economy producing another strong jobs report for June, Democratic presidential hopefuls face a difficult task: how to avoid crediting President Trump. For months, when faced with positive economic news, Democrats have tended to say either that Trump was lucky to inherit a recovering economy from the Obama administration or that ...


Kelly Sadler: When it comes to the economy, Democrats live in an alternative reality
Posted: July 17, 2019 at 04:29 PM (Wednesday)

Pining for the Obama years. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders appeared on “Meet the Press” this weekend and railed against the U.S. economy, stating it “continues to favor the people who have the wealth and the power, while all over this country people are working two or three jobs.” Mr. Sanders echoed what California Sen. Kamala Harris stated in ...


Robert Samuelson: Will the global debt bomb explode again?
Posted: July 17, 2019 at 11:23 AM (Wednesday)

Debt is the crux of the matter. If you want to understand what makes the world vulnerable to a global recession or, possibly, something much worse, you have to come to grips with the worldwide debt buildup. It’s not the only candidate for calamity, but it ranks first among the possibilities. At the end of March, worldwide debt totaled ...


Greg Ip: China’s State-Driven Growth Model Is Running Out of Gas
Posted: July 17, 2019 at 10:00 AM (Wednesday)

Latest data suggest China may not match the trajectory of Taiwan, South Korea and Japan. New data showing the toll trade tensions are taking on China’s economy are merely a symptom of a more serious malaise: The country’s state-led growth model is running out of gas. A recession or crisis may not be imminent, but the long-run implications are ...


Michael Strain: Maybe Inequality Isn’t What’s Making People Mad
Posted: July 17, 2019 at 09:00 AM (Wednesday)

People perceive a widening rich-poor gap when wages are stagnant, not whenhigh and low incomes actually diverge.Do people really care about income inequality? Or when they use the term, are they really thinking about something else? You would certainly think from the U.S. political debate that Americans want to close the rich-poor wage gap. ...


Caroline Baum: Using level of long-term rates to assess financial conditions is a mistake
Posted: July 17, 2019 at 08:45 AM (Wednesday)

Right now, the inverted yield curve points to an increased risk of recession, while various financial conditions indexes say conditions are easy. The Fed risks misinterpreting financial conditions from long rates. Financial conditions are all the rage among central bankers. And for good reason. Monetary policy involves setting a short-term ...


Richard Haass: Asia’s Scary Movie
Posted: July 17, 2019 at 07:30 AM (Wednesday)

NEW YORK – A snapshot of Asia would show a region at peace, with stable societies, growing economies, and robust alliances. But, if we view history as a moving picture, we may well come to look back on this moment as the time in which the most economically successful part of the world began to come apart. History at any moment can be understood ...


Millions have come out of poverty. It’s a reason to hope.
Posted: July 16, 2019 at 07:36 PM (Tuesday)

POVERTY IS about a lack of financial resources, but not only that. As an innovative project of the United Nations Development Program and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative recognizes, measurements of human deprivation must also take account of health and access to education, sanitation and electricity. The resulting ...


Scott Atlas: Public Option Kills Private Insurance
Posted: July 16, 2019 at 07:14 PM (Tuesday)

If you like your plan, you can keep your plan, Biden assures voters. Where have we heard that before? At the center of Joe Biden’s health-care proposal is the “public option”—a government insurance policy that would compete with private plans. Mr. Biden has obviously seen the polling. By 57% to 37%, Americans reject the idea, put forth by some ...


Hans von Spakovsky and GianCarlo Canaparo: Emoluments Lawsuits: Trump Wins Big — Two Down, One to Go
Posted: July 16, 2019 at 06:33 PM (Tuesday)

The remaining emoluments-clause case against Trump is as spurious as the first two. President Trump has won the second of three lawsuits alleging he violated the Constitution because foreigners and state officials patronize his businesses, such as the Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C.
The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal dismissed the claim ...


Nouriel Roubini: The Great Crypto Heist
Posted: July 16, 2019 at 12:18 PM (Tuesday)

NEW YORK – Cryptocurrencies have given rise to an entire new criminal industry, comprising unregulated offshore exchanges, paid propagandists, and an army of scammers looking to fleece retail investors. Yet, despite the overwhelming evidence of rampant fraud and abuse, financial regulators and law-enforcement agencies remain asleep at the ...


Jim Bianco: Only a Half-Point Rate Cut From the Fed Will Do
Posted: July 16, 2019 at 07:00 AM (Tuesday)

Anything less would fail to fix the imbalances in the global bond market, continuing to weigh on economic sentiment. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell was right in making clear during his Congressional testimony last week that despite the strong jobs report for June, the central bank will cut interest rates for the first time since 2008 ...


Steve Forbes: Will The EU Learn That Repudiating Proven Principles Of Growth Is A Huge Mistake?
Posted: July 16, 2019 at 06:00 AM (Tuesday)

European economic growth rates have lagged those of the U.S. for decades. Since the crisis of 2008, for instance, the average pace for the EU has been 0.9% versus almost 2% for the U.S.—and that 2% is regarded as subpar. This EU sluggishness (along with deep concerns over uncontrolled immigration) has spurred the rise of nontraditional, ...


Alan Blinder: A New Tactic in Trump’s War on the Fed
Posted: July 15, 2019 at 07:08 PM (Monday)

He can’t fire Powell, so he’s sending over dreadful nominees to make the chairman’s job harder. You might have noticed that President Trump is waging war on the Federal Reserve. That in itself is nothing new. In 1966, Lyndon Johnson invited Fed Chairman William McChesney Martin down to his Texas ranch to barbecue him. George H.W. Bush attacked ...


Norbert Michel: The Best Housing Finance Reform Options For The Trump Administration
Posted: July 15, 2019 at 06:21 PM (Monday)

The Trump administration will soon release its much-anticipated report on reforming the housing finance system, and it finally has a reform-minded Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) director who is willing to deal with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It remains unclear exactly how the FHFA will pull this off, but fixing the U.S. housing ...


John Tamny: Meet El Salvador, Slayer Of Keynesian And Monetarist Mysticism
Posted: July 15, 2019 at 09:08 AM (Monday)

“People don’t flee their homes because they want to, they flee their homes because they feel they have to.” Those are the words of Nayib Bukele, president of El Salvador, and as reported by Kirk Semple of the New York Times. One senses that people understand the above well when politics and partisanship are left out of the migration ...


James Capretta: Controlling Costs Is Health Care's Defining Issue
Posted: July 15, 2019 at 09:07 AM (Monday)

Proponents of government-run health care sometimes frame the reform debate as a choice between universal coverage and a “free market” that leaves many people without needed medical services. This is a misleading depiction of the options. It is possible to provide universal coverage with privately-administered insurance plans, ...


Brian Riedl: The Case for Ending Income Tax Itemization of Deductions
Posted: July 15, 2019 at 08:02 AM (Monday)

While liberals and conservatives battle over the wisdom of the 2017 tax cuts, that law has quietly created an opportunity for a new reform that could please both flat-tax conservatives and tax-the-rich liberals. For decades, many economists have argued that itemized tax deductions complicate the individual income tax code, overly benefit the ...


Peter Morici: Facebook’s Libra threatens dollar’s international status
Posted: July 15, 2019 at 06:00 AM (Monday)

Facebook’s Libra is attracting scrutiny from Congress, concerned about money laundering and other issues associated with cryptocurrencies. Properly managed, however, Libra poses a bigger challenge — it could replace the dollar as the currency of choice for legitimate international transactions. Libra’s White Paper presents an impressive list ...


Greg Ip: The Moonshot Mind-Set Once Came From the Government. No Longer.
Posted: July 14, 2019 at 09:07 PM (Sunday)

Americans still take big risks to solve big problems. But now it’s private enterprise that does it. “If we can put a man on the moon…” For 50 years Apollo 11 has been the exemplar of what the U.S. can accomplish if it put its mind to it—and, of course, its pocketbook. The Apollo space program was the capstone of an era in which Americans took ...


Robert Samuelson: The rise and fall of America’s 'policy entrepreneurs’
Posted: July 14, 2019 at 05:14 PM (Sunday)

Alice Rivlin , a longtime scholar at the Brookings Institution think tank, enjoyed an unusually constructive career. Over more than four decades, Rivlin — who died in May at age 88 — served as the first director of the Congressional Budget Office, the deputy director and then director of the Office of Management and Budget and the vice chair ...


Mollie Hemingway and Carrie Severino: Kavanaugh Fight Was No 'Win’
Posted: July 14, 2019 at 04:37 PM (Sunday)

The left savaged a man’s reputation and America’s institutions—and paid no price for its indecency. When the Senate confirmed Brett Kavanaugh 50-48, it was a victory over American politics’ most vicious smear campaign in decades. Or was it? The left failed to keep Judge Kavanaugh off the Supreme Court, but it did irrevocable damage to ...


Nicole Gelinas: The Manhattan blackout proved how fragile our infrastructure is
Posted: July 14, 2019 at 03:21 PM (Sunday)

Midtown Manhattan was surreal Saturday night. The center of our little island is supposed to be the center of the universe — yet I am writing this after eating a lukewarm peach for dinner by (hot) candlelight in 90-degree temperatures with the windows shut tight, racing against time to finish it before my computer runs out of its last moments ...


Stephen Moore: Trump wants to index capital gains taxes for inflation, which will boost the economy
Posted: July 14, 2019 at 02:44 PM (Sunday)

It’s official. President Trump wants to index capital gains taxes for inflation. This would be a big stimulus boost for the U.S. economy immediately and over time and could get us back to 3 percent to 4 percent growth by liberating potentially hundreds of billions of dollars for new capital investment. My sources tell me that the president ...


Paul Krugman: Goldbugs for Trump
Posted: July 13, 2019 at 01:22 PM (Saturday)

Before going to the White House, Donald Trump demanded that the Fed raise interest rates despite high unemployment and low inflation. Now he’s demanding rate cuts, even though the unemployment rate is much lower and inflation at least a bit higher. To be fair, there is a real economic argument for rate cuts as insurance against a ...


Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Can Ilhan Omar Overcome Her Prejudice?
Posted: July 12, 2019 at 06:24 PM (Friday)

I was born in Somalia and grew up amid pervasive Muslim anti-Semitism. Hate is hard to unlearn without coming to terms with how you learned it. I once opened a speech by confessing to a crowd of Jews that I used to hate them. It was 2006 and I was a young native of Somalia who’d been elected to the Dutch Parliament. The American Jewish ...


Sally Pipes: Trump Scraps A Reform That Would Have Saved Patients Billions
Posted: July 12, 2019 at 03:31 PM (Friday)

This week, the Trump administration axed a proposal that would have saved American patients billions of dollars by shedding light on the complex drug supply chain. If enacted, the rule would have required insurers to share discounts they negotiate with drug companies directly with patients. The proposed rule would have changed the terms ...


Fed’s Evans Sees Two Rate Cuts Needed This Year
Posted: July 12, 2019 at 01:06 PM (Friday)

CHICAGO—Chicago central banker with power to vote on policy path expects two interest-rate reductions in 2019. Lower U.S. interest rates are needed to combat weak inflation, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago President Charles Evans said Friday. Mr. Evans, a voting member of the Fed’s rate-setting committee, said he expects to see two reductions ...


Steve Forbes: Historic Political Opportunity Hiding In Plain Sight
Posted: July 12, 2019 at 08:00 AM (Friday)

As the piece below demonstrates, you don’t have to be a fan of Donald Trump—and Philip Howard is emphatically, disdainfully not one—to be deeply concerned about the Washington bureaucratic swamp of endless, nitpicking regulations that are doing so much damage to American culture, politics and economic well-being. Since the 1960s, we’ve ...


Komal Sri-Kumar: The Bond Market Is Now a Giffen Good
Posted: July 12, 2019 at 06:00 AM (Friday)

With some $13 trillion of bonds worldwide yielding less than zero percent, it would be easy to characterize fixed-income assets as nothing more than a giant bubble waiting to burst. Those who agree probably haven’t heard of the concept of a “Giffen good.” Simply put, a Giffen good is a paradox of economics where rising prices lead to ...


James Grant: The Fed Could Use a Golden Rule
Posted: July 11, 2019 at 06:51 PM (Thursday)

Abandon the Ph.D. standard, which brought the era of government bailouts and too big to fail. Though money can’t talk, people can’t stop talking about it. With the nomination of Judy Shelton to the Federal Reserve Board, the discussion has tilted to gold. Gold is money, or a legacy form of money, Ms. Shelton contends, and the gold standard is ...


Louis Uchitelle: Unemployment Is Low, but That’s Only Part of the Story
Posted: July 11, 2019 at 12:00 PM (Thursday)

These should be the best of times for working people.After all, the unemployment rate is just 3.7 percent, near its lowest level in almost 50 years. If that were our only guide, then we might conclude that virtually every adult in the United States who wants to work is either doing so or is diligently looking for a job.The problem is that ...


Mohamed El-Erian: The Fed Satisfies Fewer and Fewer These Days
Posted: July 11, 2019 at 10:34 AM (Thursday)

And no wonder. It's somehow expected to "save" an economy that's already thriving. Give financial markets what they wish for, and they will ask for more. Give them more than they wish for and they’ll still ask for more. Just ask Fed chairman Jerome Powell. His remarks to Congress on Wednesday were more dovish than expected, but rather ...


Patrick Bolton, Stephen Cecchetti, Jean-Pierre Danthine and Xavier Vives: How to Keep Central Banks Independent
Posted: July 11, 2019 at 08:49 AM (Thursday)

BARCELONA – Some observers say central banks can best mitigate risks to their independence by returning to the narrow price-stability mandate that served them so well prior to the global financial crisis. But this advice is misguided: central banks must revive their original role as guardians of financial stability. The global financial ...


Michael Mink: Neil Armstrong Teaches You To Reach Higher
Posted: July 11, 2019 at 08:00 AM (Thursday)

Neil Armstrong was prepared and determined to land on the moon — a seemingly impossible feat. Lessons he learned exactly 50 years ago can teach anyone today looking to reach new levels of success. As commander of Apollo 11, Armstrong (1930-2012) strove to do what no other mission had before: make a manned lunar landing. While Armstrong expected ...


Jared Bernstein: The big news from Powell’s testimony isn’t about the stock market. It’s about paychecks.
Posted: July 11, 2019 at 06:00 AM (Thursday)

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome H. Powell testified Wednesday before the House Financial Services Committee on the Fed’s thinking about the state of the economy. The hearing — the semiannual Monetary Policy Report to Congress (Powell repeats his testimony in the Senate on Thursday) — is often a pretty staid affair. The chair tries not to say ...


Mervyn King: Europe Must Learn From the Greek Tragedy
Posted: July 11, 2019 at 12:01 AM (Thursday)

The task facing Greece’s new government is harder than it needed to be, and Europe is partly to blame. Democracy, it is often said, began in Greece — but lately Athens has been struggling to make its invention work well. At elections last Sunday, voters ejected the left-leaning Syriza government led by Alexis Tsipras and turned to ...


Veronique de Rugy: The Global Trade War Comes Full Circle
Posted: July 11, 2019 at 12:01 AM (Thursday)

Economic reality is always more complex than politicians pretend it is. It has always puzzled me that anyone would believe that protecting the U.S. market with tariffs is a good idea. Yes, U.S. consumers might increase their demand for domestic goods because duties on imported foreign goods make them relatively more expensive. But these ...


Time for the Fed to Cut Interest Rates
Posted: July 10, 2019 at 07:50 PM (Wednesday)

The Federal Reserve should demonstrate its independence by cutting interest rates — because the economy needs the help. Even as the Federal Reserve has engineered the nation’s recovery from the 2008 financial crisis, Fed officials have lived in fear that too much job growth, too much wage growth — too much prosperity — would spark ...