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Tag Archives: Economic Crisis and Recovery

To Prevent the Resurgence of the Pandemic, Can We Talk About Open-Source Research?

As the vaccination campaign picks up steam, we have many public health experts warning us about a possible resurgence of the pandemic due to the spread of new vaccine-resistant strains. The logic is that, as more people are protected against the predominant strain for which the vaccines were designed, it will allow room for mutations to spread, for which the current vaccines may not be effective. This can leave us in a whack-a-mole situation, where we have to constantly alter our vaccines and...

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More on the Summers v. Biden Spending Debate

I already weighed in on Larry Summers’ complaint that the Biden rescue package may overstimulate the economy. As I said, I thought that while he could be right, the risks of going too small were so much greater than the risks of going too big, that it was worth going forward with the Biden package. One of the points I made in that post was that excessive demand could be siphoned off in the form of a larger trade deficit, thereby limiting the extent to which it creates inflationary...

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PREVIEW: What to Look for in the January Jobs Report

(The monthly Employment Situation is scheduled for release by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday, February 5th at 8:30 AM Eastern Time.) The continued surge in coronavirus cases will again be the main story in the January employment report. We will likely again see a fall in overall employment driven by job loss in restaurants and other areas heavily affected by the pandemic. The relief package passed in December may have been a small positive, but for the most part, checks did not...

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Dealing with a Pandemic as If Human Lives Mattered

It’s fair to say that the U.S. performance in dealing with the pandemic has been disastrous. With the effort led by Donald Trump, this is not surprising. His main, if not only, concern was keeping up appearances. Preventing the spread of the pandemic, and needless death, was obviously not part of his agenda. Unfortunately, many other wealthy countries, like France, Belgium, and Sweden, have not done much better. They don’t have the excuse of having a saboteur in charge who was actively trying...

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Four Percent Fourth Quarter Growth Leaves GDP 2.5 Percent Below Year-Ago Level

Consumption spending has been contracting over the course of the fourth quarter The economy grew at a 4.0 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter, driven largely by strong growth in housing and investment in equipment. This growth, following the extraordinary 33.4 percent post-shutdown growth in the third quarter, still leaves the GDP 2.5 percent below its year-ago level. The growth reported for consumption is entirely due to strong third-quarter growth. There is an important timing issue...

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Thomas Friedman: The Donald Trump of the New York Times

Donald Trump is a person who glories in his own ignorance. He seems to know little about anything and clearly doesn’t care. Any evidence that contradicts his pronouncements is simply “FAKE NEWS.” Thomas Friedman seems to have the same attitude as he makes grand pronouncements about the economy that are transparently absurd. I discovered this in his latest column, which carried the promising headline, “Made in the U.S.A.: Socialism for the Rich. Capitalism for the...

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The Coronavirus Vaccine Fail and International Elites

The vaccine rollout process has been painfully slow in the United States. More than 40 days after the first vaccine was approved for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration, just over 6.0 percent of our population has been vaccinated. And that is with just the first shot, very few having gotten the two shots needed to hit the targeted levels of immunity. Thankfully the pace of the vaccination program is picking up, both as kinks are worked out and now that we have an administration...

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More Mind Reading at the Washington Post

I wonder if the Washington Post lists mind reading abilities as requirement for its economic reporters. They so often feel the need to do it. The latest is a piece about the response of Republicans in Congress to President Biden’s proposed rescue package. At one point the piece tells us: “But when Biden’s relief plan rang in at nearly $2 trillion this month, and included liberal priorities like an increase in the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, some Republicans saw it as a...

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Trump Crazy and Intellectual Crazy

It’s hard not to be appalled and scared by the reality denial of Donald Trump’s followers. Their willingness to insist an election was stolen, with no evidence whatsoever, is difficult to understand for those of us who like to think that people respond to facts and logic. I don’t have any easy answers to get these people to start thinking clearly, but I will point out that it is not just ignorant and/or crazed Trumpers who have trouble dealing with reality. Many of our leading intellectuals...

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The DeFazio Bill: Reducing the Financial Industry’s Tax on Retirement Savings

Representative Peter DeFazio, along with seven House co-sponsors, introduced the “Wall Street Tax Act” today. This bill would impose a tax of 0.1 percent of sales of stocks, bonds, options, and other derivatives. According to the Congressional Budget Office, it would raise almost $800 billion over the course of the next decade. This would be more than enough to cover the entire food stamp budget over this period. It would be almost enough to fully replace the annual research spending of the...

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