Animal Spirits and Gas Prices

Is a 9-cent drop enough to ignite our “animal spirits?” The 9-cent decrease refers to the average national price of a gallon of regular gasoline. And “animal spirits” is the optimism that leads to more buying and investing. During the…

Bailout Fatigue

Yesterday, in a 94-0 vote, the U.S. Senate said it had bailout fatigue. No, they were not referring to Fannie Mae or General Motors. They meant Greece. This is the connection: By selling government securities, Greece had borrowed money to…

Austerity and Harry Truman

What are people saying about austerity, the 2010 word of the year? According to Dr. Econ at the San Francisco Federal Reserve, households are demonstrating austerity by saving more and borrowing less. On the one hand, living within our means…

Economic Growth

Did someone once say, where you look determines what you see? For evaluating the impact of federal spending, perhaps that is the problem. Some economists emphasize the connection between federal spending and the change in GDP (national production). Mathematically, they…

A Contagious Disease

Seeing the Bloomberg Businessweek headline, “Greek Contagion Spurs Surge in Portugal, Spanish Debt Swaps,” I started thinking about diagnosing fiscal illness, treating it, and contagion. How can we diagnose the illness? The illness seems to be the Greek spending disease. Just like you…

Deficit D

2010Facing a $1.6 trillion deficit, President Obama creates the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. 1993:Facing a $260 billion deficit, President Clinton appoints a Bipartisan Commission on Entitlement and Tax Reform.The commission’s recommendations (which were not implemented):http://retirement.gov/policy/docs/ssb/v58n2/v58n2p74.pdf 1992From the…

Are We All Keynesians?

According to the Yardeni newsletter, in 1965, A Time Magazine cover story was titled, “The Economy, We Are All Keynesians Now”. Even Milton Friedman was quoted as saying, “We are all Keynesians now.” (which he later corrected as having been,…