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Tag Archives: Taxes/regulation

The widened Panama Canal is disrupting internal US transportation patterns

by New Deal democrat The widened Panama Canal is disrupting internal US transportation patterns The newly-widened Panama Canal opened to traffic in late 2016. Since then, there have been several ongoing disruptions in how goods are transported from suppliers in Asia to their ultimate markets in the US, including affects on seaports, trucking, and rail. This post is up at Seeking Alpha.  As usual, clicking over and reading should be educational for you,...

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The government shutdown may have caused a mini-recession

The government shutdown may have caused a mini-recession Aside from being a monumentally poor policy outcome, and aside from the hardship it caused nearly a million workers, the government shutdown may also have caused a general contraction in production, sales, and income, and a slowdown in employment, that if it were longer would qualify as a recession. Because the affected three months straddle Q4 2018 and Q1 2019, both quarters will likely show...

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Elisabeth Warren, David Leonhardt, Redistribution, and Predistribution

I just had an unusual experience. I was convinced by an op-ed. One third of the way through “Elizabeth Warren Actually Wants to Fix Capitalism” by David Leonhardt, I was planning to contest one of Leonhard’s assertions. Now I am convinced. The column praises Elisabeth Warren. Leonhardt (like his colleague Paul Krugman) is careful to refrain from declaring his intention to vote for her in the primary. I am planning to vote for her. I mostly agreed with...

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Negative Nov. and Dec. revisions overwhelm positive January retail sales

Negative Nov. and Dec. revisions overwhelm positive January retail sales The initial spin on this morning’s delayed retail sales report for January has been positive, with for example the Wall Street Journal calling it a “rebound” and “a sign of solid economic momentum in the first quarter. Ummmmm, No. Both nominally and in real terms, retails sales did improve by +0.2% in January over December. The problem is, both November and December were revised...

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A modest proposal to use FICA-style tax withholding as a transition to “Medicare for All”

A modest proposal to use FICA-style tax withholding as a transition to “Medicare for All” Probably the foremost reform advanced by the Democratic Party at present is “Medicare for All.” Personally I don’t particularly care whether it is ultimately necessary to have single payer (like Canada) or universal coverage (like France or Germany) or a hybrid of each (like Australia). I am fond of the Japanese saying that translates as “There are many paths to the...

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The Trump Tax Cut and Big Pharma

The Trump Tax Cut and Big Pharma CEOs of 7 pharmaceutical multinationals addressed the Senate Finance Committee: Pharma execs offer Senate ideas to lower drug costs – except actually cutting prices. Executives from seven pharmaceutical companies — AbbVie, AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Pfizer and Sanofi — are testifying before the Senate Finance Committee. The pharma executives have a number of ideas to reduce drug...

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Neoliberalism as Structure and Ideology in Higher Education

Neoliberalism as Structure and Ideology in Higher Education  A few weeks ago I speculated on the structural aspect of neoliberalism at an economy-wide level, the way its characteristic framing of economic decision-making may have emerged from changes in the role of finance in business and the composition of high-end portfolios.  My purpose was to push back against the common tendency to view neoliberalism solely as a philosophy, to be countered by other...

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100 years of industrial production

100 years of industrial production This is a post that can literally be written only once in 100 years! Because as of last Friday, it has been exactly 100 years since the first publication of industrial production by the Fed in January 1919. So this is a good time to take a sweeping historical look at production in the United States. The first graph below is the entire 100 year history, on log scale so that equal percentage changes in each time period...

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More signs of a slowdown: initial claims and real retail sales

More signs of a slowdown: initial claims and real retail sales We got two negative data points. One is cause for concern; the other – not quite yet. Let me start with the “not yet” first. Initial jobless claims rose 4,000 to 239,000. That means that the 4 week moving average rose to 231,750: This means that the number is both higher YoY, and 12.5% above its 206,000 low in September. Ordinarily that would be cause for concern. BUT, the biggest factor in...

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Amazon defeated in New York UPDATED

Amazon defeated in New York UPDATED In the biggest ever defeat for a subsidized project in history, Amazon announcedFebruary 14th that it was canceling its planned half of HQ2 for New York City, which was to receive subsidies worth at least $3.133 billion. After facing months of public opposition, the company provided a Valentine’s Day present in the form of capitulation. Amazon showed that, like Electrolux, its efforts to extract maximum subsidies from...

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