I fear the kind of government that can shut down public gatherings and centrally plan healthcare and everything else. I fear it much more than a virus.
Amongst Thomas Piketty, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Jerry Yang, and Jeremy Corbyn a wealth tax is all the rage as a means to rectify “wealth inequality”. But what does it really do?
The marginal utility of human work does not diminish, as the number of workers increases. As the size of a market grows, the value of firms and workers within it rises.
The rhetoric from the Left is intransigent in its denunciation of wealth. However, Leftists in power behave differently than their rhetoric would lead us to expect. They enact legislation and regulation which actually helps enrich crony businesses, such as big banks. Why?
There is a populist idea of money printing. The idea is that banks can just print what they want, enriching themselves in a massive fraud. But, does it really work this way? Let’s start with a simple case, which is clearly not money printing. We will build a series of...
Most people assume that prices move as a result of changes in the money supply. Instead, let’s look at the effect of changes in interest.
Scott Sumner said he had a “modest” proposal: there should be a highly liquid futures market in Nominal Gross Domestic Product (NGDP). Let’s look at that.
The flip side of falling interest rates is the rising price of bonds. Bonds are in an endless, ferocious bull market. Why do I call it ferocious? Perhaps voracious is a better word, as it is gobbling up capital like the Cookie Monster jamming tollhouses into his maw. There are several mechanisms by which this occurs, let’s look at one here.
Many people agree that it’s important to move to a free market in money (i.e. the gold standard). They also say that it’s just as important to fight bad taxes and regulation. In their view, government interference in the economy is like friction in a car. The more friction you add, the slower the car goes. One source of friction is much the same as any other.
Let me explain why money doesn’t quite work that way, using a few examples.
Something clicked for me as I stared out my hotel window at a train station and seeing other public mass transportation moving on the street.
If you borrow then it’s not income. This is why no one in his right mind borrows to buy consumer goods. Those who try cannot sustain it for long… But what if someone else borrows?
Take the notion of the efficient market. What does that mean? Today, hordes of people are coming out of economics and finance majors believing an absurdity. Yes, I said absurdity. They think that, if the market is efficient, it’s impossible to beat the average...
Central bank apologists assert that zero interest will help the economy. It hasn’t yet, and it never will. However, the main concern by both Fed defenders and foes alike is the worry that prices might rise. Well, prices aren’t rising now. So the former are smug and the latter are frustrated.
They miss the real harm of zero interest.
To make people eat their seed corn, we need to add the essential element: a perverse incentive. Let’s look at monetary policy in this light.
Imagine running a rink company at the end of the roller skating craze. You know it is not going to survive for long. How do you operate your business? You milk it. Well, that’s now happening across the entire economy.
I wrote a story about poor Clarence who retired in 1979, and even poorer Larry who retired last year. I created these characters to challenge the notion of calculating a real interest rate by subtracting inflation. The idea is that the decline of a currency can be measured by the rate of price increases. This price-centric view leads to the concept of purchasing power—the amount of stuff that a dollar can buy. It’s the flip side of prices. When prices rise, purchasing power falls.
Greece has no future, so long as it clings to the euro. The dollar won’t servce you much better. A drachma will only harm the Greek people. That leaves one other option.
With apologies to his fans, Jerry is an evil little mouse who constantly pesters Tom the Cat. Tom tries and tries, but cannot seem to overpower someone who is a fraction of his size and strength.
Watching Stephen Moore attempt to debate Paul Krugman was like that.
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