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Scott Sumner: January 2018

An Author Archive by Month (15 entries)
Over at TheMoneyIllusion I have a post looking at the Fed's ability to engage in policies such as QE and negative interest on reserves. What are the limits to the Fed's ability to do these policies, and should there be... MORE

I grew up in Madison, Wisconsin, surrounded by endless miles of cornfields. The closest foreign country was Canada, hundreds of miles to the north. The first time I ever saw saltwater was in 1977, when a senior in college. And... MORE


Monetary Policy
Scott Sumner
Politico has a new piece discussing the "tragedy" of Janet Yellen not being reappointed as chair of the Fed: In December 2012, a new Federal Reserve governor and unseasoned monetary policymaker, Jerome Powell, told his colleagues that the risks of... MORE

Alternative Money University

Economic Education
Scott Sumner
I'm pleased to announce that I'll be teaching in a four day program called "Alternative Money University", organized by George Selgin. The program will take place July 15-18 at the Cato Institute in Washington DC, and George provides some information... MORE

At the recent AEA meetings in Philadelphia, there was a panel discussing Friedman's famous AEA presidential address, which occurred 50 years ago. Thus I decided to reread this famous article. It's just as impressive as I remember. Although just 17... MORE

Just who are those "consumers"?

Economic Education
Scott Sumner
While working on a principles of economics textbook, I began wondering how students evaluate terms like "consumer welfare". Who are these consumers? There's a term for people who are not consumers, they are called "corpses". All living people are consumers.... MORE

A tax by any other name . . .

Tax Reform
Scott Sumner
When the Supreme Court narrowly upheld the health insurance mandate part of Obamacare, John Roberts suggested that the penalty for not buying health insurance could be viewed as a tax. I'm not qualified to offer an opinion as to whether... MORE

Whereof One Cannot Speak, Thereof One Must Be Silent

Economic Philosophy
Scott Sumner
We talk too much. I probably talk way too much. Humans like to explain everything, even things that cannot be explained. Over at TheMoneyIllusion I did a post trying to rebut the bubble view of NASDAQ, circa 1999-2000. Lots of... MORE

I'm not a huge fan of affirmative action programs. It's not obvious to me why a Hispanic-American should be favored over an Italian-American when the fire department is hiring workers. But there is one type of affirmative action I can... MORE

Squalor and immigration

Labor Mobility, Immigration, Outsourcing
Scott Sumner
The President's recent remarks on immigration were widely characterized as offensive. The problem was not so much how he characterized Haiti and sub-Saharan Africa (although that was hardly diplomatic), but rather the implication that immigrants from those places share the... MORE

In this post I'll try to describe what various groups seem to believe about interest rates. Undoubtedly I'll get some of the nuances wrong, and I'll try to do updates as people correct this initial post: Traditional Keynesians: 1. Low... MORE

A blind spot at the New York Times

Scott Sumner
The New York Times recently published a very strange story on New Jersey, discussing the Garden State's ban on self-service gasoline. The article discussed a recent proposal to lift the ban (all other states allow self-service), as well as local... MORE

Crime and civil liberties

Economics of Crime
Scott Sumner
There's an interesting story in the National Review, discussing New York crime data: Today in New York City, use of stop-and-frisk, which the department justified via the 1968 Terry v. Ohio Supreme Court ruling, has crashed. Yet the statistics are... MORE

Why I'm not a progressive

Cross-country Comparisons
Scott Sumner
I am a utilitarian. Many (most?) utilitarians are progressives. So why am I not a progressive? I recently ran across three news articles that help to explain my skepticism of progressivism. First I'll briefly summarize the key takeaways, and then... MORE

Matt Yglesias has a good article on housing affordability: When people -- specifically market urbanists versus regulation fans -- argue about housing affordability on the internet it seems to me that the two groups are using the concept of "affordable"... MORE

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