Monday , December 16 2019
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The Angry Bear

November average real wage growth stable, but aggregate growth now puts expansion in second place behind 1990s

November average real wage growth stable, but aggregate growth now puts expansion in second place behind 1990s November consumer inflation came in at +0.3%. Since in last Friday’s jobs report average hourly earnings also increased +0.3%, real average hourly earnings were unchanged: In a longer term perspective, this means that real wages remain at 97.9% of their all time high in January 1973: Since in November 2018 consumer inflation came in a 0%,...

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Smoking At The Fed

Smoking At The Fed This is about the now late Paul Volcker, but I shall come in from an odd and particular persprctive. Upfront, I did meet the late Paul Volcker several times, although never in an official situation.  Much of “inside” stuff I shall say comes from others. I do not know the details of the Fed prior to the 1970s, but at least as of the Chairmanship of Milton Friedman’s major prof, Arthur Burns, who capitulated to the  demands of Nixon for...

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Do we need a World War II style mobilization to decarbonize the United States Economy?

The American Prospect has a new issue out on climate change, and I highly recommend the article by Jeffrey Sachs. Sachs does an excellent job explaining why we do not need a World War II style mobilization to decarbonize the United States economy.  We can achieve a high level of decarbonization by 2050 at a modest aggregate cost (Sachs guesses 1 to 2% of output) by replacing existing power plants, vehicles, furnaces, etc. with green technologies at the...

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Scenes from the November jobs report

Scenes from the November jobs report Let’s take a more detailed look at last Friday’s November jobs report, in particular a discussion of the more leading sectors. First, let’s update the three leading sectors of employment that I have been tracking: temporary help (blue in the graph below), manufacturing (gold), and residential construction (red). Here’s what they look like compared with 2018, showing the slowdown this year (Note: the big decline in...

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“Ignorance has Won”

“I didn’t find half a dozen people,” John Richards (96) said on his website about the past in his search for associates to join him. Mr. Richards started a society after seeing the “same mistakes over and over again” in the usage of the Apostrophe. He had hoped he would find half a dozen people who felt the same way and join him. “Instead, within a month of my plaint appearing in a national newspaper, I received over 500 letters of support, not only from...

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The 2019 Globie: “Capitalism, Alone” by Branko Milanovic

by Joseph Joyce The 2019 Globie: “Capitalism, Alone” by Branko Milanovic The time to announce the recipient of this year’s “Globie” is finally here. Each year I choose a book as the Globalization Book of the Year. The prize is—alas—strictly honorific and does not come with a monetary reward. But it gives me a chance to draw attention to a book that is particularly insightful about some aspect of globalization.  Previous winners are listed at the...

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Chairman Paul Volcker Died at age 92

I first met Volcker when I was a junior international economist in Washington in the late 1960s. He was the Treasury Under Secretary for International Economics. I was going to a luncheon at the National Press Club for the Indian Finance Minister.  As I got on the elevator, Paul Volcker and John Kenneth Galbraith — among other things he was the US Ambassador to India under Kennedy –followed me on.   I am 6’2″ — or at least I was back then — but they were...

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The endowment effect and the taxation of wealth

The endowment effect and the taxation of wealth As you may recall, I am reading the histories of a number of past Republics which have had various levels of success. Without getting too far ahead of myself, it appears that one constant is that, once plutocratic oligarchies are entrenched, they will refuse to yield power or money, even to the point of destroying democratic or republican institutions.  In other words, David Frum‘s observation that “If...

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