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Scott Sumner: July 2017

An Author Archive by Month (15 entries)

The economic news is not good

Politics and Economics
Scott Sumner
Ramesh Ponnuru has a characteristically excellent piece on recent controversies within the Trump Administration. But I'd quibble slightly with this observation: There was also an opportunity cost to Scaramucci's remarks. Trump administration officials sometimes complain that all the good news... MORE

Do you really want to include capital gains?

Income Distribution
Scott Sumner
I frequently argue that income is a meaningless concept, as it includes capital gains (and losses) in asset values. Indeed the problem is even more basic, as income mixes labor income and all investment income, which is like adding apples... MORE

Germany is not the problem

International Macroeconomics: Exchange Rates, International Debt, etc.
Scott Sumner
The Economist is probably the best magazine in the world, but a recent cover story on "The German problem" is just appalling: For a large economy at full employment to run a current-account surplus in excess of 8% of GDP... MORE

Sorry, I don't get the joke

Monetary Policy
Scott Sumner
In January 2008, the US economy had fallen into recession and Ben Bernanke was already supportive of fiscal stimulus: Ben S. Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, has told lawmakers that he can support tax cuts or spending measures to... MORE

What Bernanke was up against

Monetary Policy
Scott Sumner
David Levey directed me to a post by Douglas Campbell describing the climate of opinion within the Fed during the Great Recession: Even as the economy was tanking in 2008 and 2009, Bell writes that "Warsh adopted a skeptical and... MORE

Liu Xiaobo, RIP

Scott Sumner
I was saddened to hear that Liu Xiaobo passed away today. He fought for classical liberal principles in China, and was imprisoned for his efforts. In 2010 he was awarded the Nobel Peace prize. Here are a few of the... MORE

Gary Cohn as Fed chair?

Monetary Policy
Scott Sumner
Politico claims that Gary Cohn is likely to be appointed chair of the Federal Reserve. I have very mixed feelings about this choice. Let's start with the choice itself, separate from the administration that is expected to nominate him. I... MORE

David Beckworth interviews Steve Horwitz

Monetary Policy
Scott Sumner
David Beckworth's podcast series continues to produce fascinating interviews. Today I'll discuss a recent interview with Steve Horwitz. Many of Steve's views coincide with market monetarism, although in a few areas his views lean more in the Austrian direction. Here... MORE

Swift and Stevenson on economics

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Scott Sumner
In a recent post, I argued that people don't understand what's going on in the world because they learn through stories, not statistics. I recently came across the following in an essay written by Robert Louis Stevenson: Labouring mankind had... MORE

A correction on a previous post on Luddite theories

Labor Mobility, Immigration, Outsourcing
Scott Sumner
In a previous post I argued: Andy Puzder was one of the few Trump appointees that I sort of liked (I say "sort of", because even he had ethical issues.) He was pro-immigration and anti-minimum wage. But in the end... MORE

The Financial Times has a story with a headline that caught my attention: The eurozone's strange low-wage employment boom Alexandru is one of the luckier ones. A 24-year-old who emigrated to Italy from Romania at the age of 12, he... MORE

I've done a number of posts pointing to the folly of using the Phillips curve to predict inflation in the US. People are making the same mistake in Japan, assuming that a stronger labor market will lead to higher inflation:... MORE

Lies, true lies, and statistics

Growth: Consequences
Scott Sumner
We've all been hearing a lot about "fake news", although we may not agree as to which side of the ideological spectrum is peddling these lies. But there is another problem as well---news that is accurate, but extremely misleading. Indeed... MORE

How long can the China boom continue?

Cross-country Comparisons
Scott Sumner
[I wrote this post 10 days ago. Tyler Cowen blogged on the same subject today, so I figure I better post it before it becomes old news.] China's been booming since it started moving away from communism in the late... MORE

Free trade is on the march

International Trade
Scott Sumner
The Financial Times reports that the EU and Japan are about to sign a free trade agreement. Japan and the EU are set to sign a sweeping free trade deal next week after talks in Tokyo made significant progress on... MORE

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