201802.23
1
5

Central In Name Only (CINO?)

There is far too much shorthand in the study of the economy and markets. We take so many things for granted, we never really stop to ask if its appropriate that we should. The desire for quick rules of thumb is understandable enough given a complex world. There is probably nothing more in it than…

201802.23
1
4

Is It Ever Different This Time?

As my colleague Joe Calhoun likes to point out, nothing is new, everything has happened before. We like to think that’s not the case, as the saying goes every generation thinks it has invented sex. What changes is the form, the format largely remains the same. Human beings in 2018 are the same as they…

201802.22
1
4

Blaming The Boom Basis

Once the sick man of the global economy, Europe’s system had roared back in 2017. According to the narrative, everything is right right now on the Continent. Manufacturing couldn’t possibly be any better, and the ECB forced into “emergency” monetary measures for longer than almost anyone else (except, as always, Japan) is talking confidently about…

201802.21 5

Independence, At Some Point

The Federal Reserve is ostensibly an independent agency of the government. Already it is beset by a contradiction. How can it be independent if it is otherwise an arm of the federal structure? It’s a problem beyond mere perception that officials have struggled to overcome since its inception. Between the Banking Act of 1935 that…

201802.21
4
5

Not At All The Inflation They’ve Been Hoping For

The National Association of Realtors is confused. The trade group for real estate professionals and salespeople just reported a significant drop in the level of resales for January 2018. After peaking at an annual pace of 5.72 million (revised) in November, existing home sales declined to 5.56 million (revised) in December and now just 5.38…

201802.20
2
7

The Einstein Stimulus Equation

The housing bubble began to reverse in the middle of 2006. Strangely, Economists presented with the possibility were almost uniformly confident that it wouldn’t matter. Forgetting the market and liquidity issues, even by the middle of 2007 it was clear the end of the housing bubble had already restrained economic growth. Confidence abounded anyway, largely…

201802.20
1
5

What The Petroyuan Is Not

In mainstream monetary convention, bank reserves are at the center of the monetary pyramid. They are the byproduct of any central bank policy which requires direct action. In the US system, they had been absent, however, until around 2008. The reason was the Federal Reserve’s belief that it didn’t require any change in the corresponding…

201802.20
2
5

Stubborn Recoveries And The Bad Ideas That Follow From Them

We have ample enough evidence for the efficacy, or inefficacy really, of tax cuts as fiscal stimulus. They have been deployed numerous times all over the world the last ten years, and the results have been nearly identical in all. Most charitably, proponents have been left with some form of “jobs saved” to describe, counterfactually,…

201802.16
4
4

A Rough Sketch For Hong Kong, China, Maybe A Lot More

What we know about what’s going on in Hong Kong is limited. That’s a real shame because I have no doubt what has been transpiring is important for a lot more than Hong Kong and the short run. The connections are too obvious for it to run any other way. I’ve been asked several times…