What is the price of oil telling us? And what are the real downsides of cheap gas?

A few days ago I continued my regular pooh-poohing of the perils of deflation, which is coming up again because of the fall in the price of oil.  As I said in that post, deflation that is associated with productivity is generally a good thing, but if its a result of a collapse in the money supply, well, that is a disaster.   And while the price of any single commodity falling can never be deflationary–since deflation is a monetary phenomenon–it… Continue Reading ››

Sometimes the media gets it right– why changing government incentives are contributing to lower employment.

I don’t know how this slipped past the editors of the NYT.  We have at least a recognition that changing incentives are contributing to more people staying out of the workforce.  Of course, excellent economists such as U of Chicago’s Casey Mulligan have done outstanding empirical analysis to show that changing government policies are making it far more costly (in terms of potential loss of government benefits) to go back to work.  But you’d never expect to hear this from… Continue Reading ››

AAgh! Economic idiocy abounds! I’m getting despondent..

Today is my final for macroeconomics and hopefully my students will demonstrate some level of economic understanding.  However, I fear that perhaps the culture of economic ignorance which pervades our public understanding might make all my efforts for naught.  Unfortunately as they leave my class they will be surrounded for the rest of their lives (at least I fear) media that continually puts out economic foolishness. Perhaps the greatest bogeyman of all modern economics is that deflation is bad; an… Continue Reading ››

Snowpiercer: Dystopian Tale for the 99%

“Politicians should read science fiction, not westerns and detective stories.” –Arthur C. Clarke Science fiction is, almost without fail, either set in the future or an unknown universe. This allows the author, or filmmaker, to turn blank pages and screens into whatever he or she wishes. Without the baggage of now, science fiction often comments on the present by portraying current realities, at least thematically, within a new context, thereby forcing readers and audiences to ponder anew. Battlestar Gallactica (the most… Continue Reading ››

The Social Justice Crowd – Bootleggers and Baptists

My esteemed Berean colleague, Marc Clauson, and astute reader Jonathan are carrying on a discussion for which Walmart’s business practices are a touch point. I posted a response to one of Jonathan’s comments several days ago. Jonathan asked my thoughts on the accusation that Walmart is the nation’s biggest “welfare queen”. I am working through a response to this accusation which I hope to post early next week. Walmart’s Business practices are an excellent starting point for an ethical discussion about our… Continue Reading ››

Stand with Hillary: She is One of Us! Right? Right?

Stand with Hillary, a PAC that is not affiliated with Mrs. Clinton, recently produced and publicized “Stand with Hillary.” I wish I had been part of the brain-storming session that produced this video. I imagine the white board must have included phrases and bullet points that said something like: Problem:six-figure speaker’s fees, extreme wealth. OMG, we are the 1%? Solution? Gas cans, construction work, and motorcycles! Hillary=country music Key demo for Hillary 2016–Racial minorities? Women? Urban? Youth? What about Nascar-watching-country-song-singing-cowboy-hat-wearing-white-males-who-speak-with-a-twang-and-work-with-their-hands?… Continue Reading ››

Is There No American Dream? It Depends.

Well, here is an interesting bit of supposedly bad news.  An economics professor at the University of California-Davis has said he has “crunched the numbers” and found that “America has no higher rate of social mobility than medieval England, Or pre-industrial Sweden.” He added, “That’s the most difficult part of talking about social mobility is because it is shattering people s dreams.”  Gregory Clark insists the numbers don’t lie and that who we will be in terms of our status is… Continue Reading ››

Happy True Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all our readers.  I have “dutifully” participated in the culinary festivities and have also indulged in one of my favorite traditional pastimes—a nap after dinner—but I haven’t forgotten to do what the goal of this national holiday intended, to give thanks.  But what does that mean?  It might seem obvious.  But in a society that is pretty secularized, the meaning can be easily lost, just as easily as its history. Though schools and other institutions, as well… Continue Reading ››

Thankfulness and Regulations: Difficult to Reconcile, But…

While the Ferguson, Missouri riots take center stage in the news, other events are occurring too, and important ones.  For one thing, Thanksgiving is nearly here and Christians everywhere in America should take time to give thanks to God for who He is and for the abundant grace He has granted to each of us and to this nation.  In addition, we are waiting on the issuance of about 3, 400 new regulations to descend upon us, care of the… Continue Reading ››

Senator Schumer: Democrats are The Party of Government, and doggone proud of it!

This year’s election results have not caused Democrats to reconsider their approach, and its not just Mr. Obama who is doubling down. Part of this is the result of the election; the vulnerable red state Democratic senators that lost the election were the more moderate members of their party. The election has resulted in an even more progressive Democratic Party. According to the NY Times, Sen Schumer is expected to call for the Democrats to explicitly embrace government in a… Continue Reading ››

Quote of the Week!

“Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Don’t teach a man to fish…and feed yourself. He’s a grown man and fishing is not that hard.”                          – Ron Swanson