The Great Recession Was Even Worse Than Thought

In yesterday's release of the 2nd quarter 2011 GDP numbers for the U.S., the BEA also revised some past numbers.  This is not an unusual event.  It's routine. But the news and revisions this year were disturbing and sobering. First, a little about how GDP numbers are reported.  In this day and age of instant … Continue reading The Great Recession Was Even Worse Than Thought

Arithmetic, Reality, and Dreams of A Balanced Budget

Apparently, the Republicans and Tea Partiers are insisting that the federal government budget be balanced immediately (the demand for no increase in the debt ceiling) and that it be done entirely from spending cuts (the "no tax increases" pledge) to discretionary spending. This is enough to demonstrate that they simply are not dealing in reality … Continue reading Arithmetic, Reality, and Dreams of A Balanced Budget

Private Debt vs. Government Debt

The Great Recession of 2007-2009, which has been morphing into a Depression, has been different from most recessions of the post-World War II era.  It has been what economists call a "balance-sheet" recession.  Normally (at least since World War II), recessions were the result of the central bank (The Fed in the U.S.) raising interest … Continue reading Private Debt vs. Government Debt

How to Tell If the Politician or Reporter Is Ignorant, Foolish, or Has a Hidden Agenda – Part 1

One of the reasons my posts have been scarce* lately is because, frankly, I'm frustrated and nearly speechless at the foolish talk and nonsense that currently passes for news about the economy lately.  In particular, this year the politicians and reporters in Washington have been focused on the federal government deficits and debt.  We are … Continue reading How to Tell If the Politician or Reporter Is Ignorant, Foolish, or Has a Hidden Agenda – Part 1

Gov. Rick Snyder Invokes the Magic Job Genie

The mantra of Republican governors (and in Congress) has been that taxes must be cut in order to create jobs.  In previous posts I've dealt with the confusion about how federal level changes income taxes  might or might not affect the strength of the economy. Most of the federal tax discussion focuses on individual income taxes. … Continue reading Gov. Rick Snyder Invokes the Magic Job Genie

Just What Is Inflation? Is A Monster Just Around The Corner?

A casual reader/listener of many economics blogs, news stories, cable shows, and political speeches (in other words, the usual sources), would be forgiven for thinking that "inflation" is some awful comic-book super-villain that constantly threatens society.  It's as if they think that any momentary lapse in vigilance that allows perhaps a declining unemployment rate will … Continue reading Just What Is Inflation? Is A Monster Just Around The Corner?

Tax Rates Are Historically Low

The  Difference Between Average and Marginal Taxes U.S. average tax rates are at historical lows.  Yes, that's right. Our taxes aren't "high", despite the Tea Party's claim that we are "taxed enough already".  The average family pays approximately 5% of gross income as U.S federal income tax. How can that be you ask?  Well, the … Continue reading Tax Rates Are Historically Low

Tax Cuts and Economic Growth, Once More – the Corporate Tax Version

The issue of tax cuts and economic growth, which I've discussed recently here and here, looks like it's going to be an important topic for some time now judging by this week's announcement from Paul Ryan, one of the Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives.  While all the attention in the media has been … Continue reading Tax Cuts and Economic Growth, Once More – the Corporate Tax Version

‘Ism’s, Rhetoric,and the Branding of Ideology in the 21st Century

The following is a reflection I'm sharing with my online Introduction to Political Economy (it has a different name, but that's what it is) course. It's long and therefore continued after the jump. Textbooks and politicians make frequent use of labels for socio-political-economic systems. Typically these labels identify some particular ideology as an "ism".  Thus … Continue reading ‘Ism’s, Rhetoric,and the Branding of Ideology in the 21st Century

Krugman Is Still Wrong About MMT – and with it still wrong on deficit

On Friday Paul Krugman posted the first of what has become 2-3 posts on his blog wherein he claims that MMT is "just wrong".  As I noted Friday here, I commented on his blog to point out how his post was deceptive and misrepresented MMT.  I was not alone.  Well over 100 people have taken … Continue reading Krugman Is Still Wrong About MMT – and with it still wrong on deficit