201709.14
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The CPI Comes Home

There seems to be an intense if at times acrimonious debate raging inside the Federal Reserve right now. The differences go down to its very core philosophies. Just over a week ago, Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer abruptly resigned from the Board of Governors even though many believed he was a possible candidate to replace Chairman…

201709.13
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When You Are Prevented From Connecting The Dots That You See

In its first run, the Federal Reserve was actually two distinct parts. There were the twelve bank branches scattered throughout the country, each headed by almost always a banker of local character. Often opposed to them was the Board in DC. In those early days the policy establishment in Washington had little active role. Monetary…

201709.12
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Checking In On Brazil and the Global Economy’s Evident Capacity For Shrinking

Of all the countries around the world impacted by the “rising dollar”, Brazil got the worst of it, at least out of the major economies. What Brazilians have experienced over the past four years is nothing short of 1929-style collapse. By every economic statistic, that economy has been utterly devastated. In Q2, however, real GDP…

201709.11
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China: Where A Rising Currency Is Meant To Be Inflationary

As much as officials in Beijing may outwardly fight it, they are still in the “dollar” business. It’s not raw conjecture, either. Though we don’t know the specifics of their policy positions, in this context we don’t need to know them; it’s all right there on the central bank balance sheet. The most prominent thing…

201709.08
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The Real Euro Watch

Everyone is now a euro watcher. The European common currency’s exchange value against the dollar has been on the rise, to put it mildly. Despite decades of declaring floating currencies the optimal framework, it really is quite entertaining to watch the furor when these things actually float one way or the other. This recent trend…

201709.07
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Enough With The Labor Shortage Already, It Doesn’t/Can’t Exist

Can we finally put to rest all notions that the US economy is at full employment and doing well, and therefore wage inflation is right around the corner? I suspect not. This dance has been ongoing for years now, continuing through what was nearly a recession, so there is little reason to believe that economists…

201709.06
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Of Rules And Slack, And The Real Rule of Slack

In 1993, Stanford economist John B. Taylor wrote an influential paper that introduced the economics profession (statisticians, almost all) to what was later called the Taylor Rule. The need for such a “rule” was an unspoken outgrowth of monetary evolution. In the 1960’s and 1970’s long-established regression models estimating the influence of then-defined money on…

201709.05
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Demand Dearth

The fundamental problem is that we don’t know what’s wrong. In many ways that is a worse condition because it is one step further removed from a solution. Even after ten years “we” still have to prove that the one thing everyone largely believes can’t be the depressing issue is. Earlier this year as the…

201709.01
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Toward The Housing Bubble, Or Great Depression?

During the middle 2000’s, one more curious economic extreme presented itself in an otherwise ocean of extremes. Though economists were still thinking about the Great “Moderation”, the trend for the Personal Savings Rate was anything but moderate, indicated a distinct lack of modesty on the part of consumers. In early 2006, the Bureau of Economic…

201708.31
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Proving Q2 GDP The Anomaly, Incomes Yet Again Fail To Accelerate

One day after reporting a slightly better number for Q2 GDP, the BEA reports today that there is little reason to suspect it was anything more or lasting. The data for Personal Income and Spending shows that the dominant condition since 2012 remains in effect – “good” quarters, or whatever passes for one these days,…