Politics, Moderate



More data exposing the income stagnation myth

WASHINGTON -- We in the media have a problem. Actually, it's a big problem for all of us. We have become addicted to the notion that, except for the top 1 percent or the top 10 percent, the incomes of most Americans have stagnated for decades. The problem is that, at best, this is an exaggeration and, at worst, an untruth.

A few weeks back, I ...Read more

The stock market decline means ... what?

WASHINGTON -- The stock market giveth; the stock market taketh away.

With Wednesday a federal holiday to honor former President George H.W. Bush, the U.S. stock and bond markets will be closed until Dec. 6. But there's no moratorium on wondering what the effects of Tuesday's dramatic market sell-off -- almost 800 points on the Dow, or more than...Read more

Trump vs. the Fed

WASHINGTON -- President Trump, do yourself a favor. Stop attacking the Federal Reserve and its chairman, Jerome Powell (yes, the same Powell you nominated). The result would be better for you, better for Powell and -- most important -- better for the country.

Unfortunately, Trump can't seem to restrain himself. The Fed has been raising short-...Read more

Are China and the U.S. locked in a permanent trade war?

WASHINGTON -- The United States-China trade war goes on ... and on and on.

President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are expected to meet later this week in Argentina at a summit meeting of the G-20 -- roughly speaking, the world's 20 most important economies. The object is to halt the war. Larry Kudlow, director of the White ...Read more

Was the Great Recession worse than the Great Depression?

WASHINGTON -- Here's today's economic quiz: Was the 2007-09 Great Recession more damaging than the Great Depression of the 1930s? Surely the answer is "no." In the 1930s, unemployment reached 25 percent. By contrast, the recent peak in the jobless rate was 10 percent. Case closed.

Not so fast, objects economist J. Bradford DeLong of the ...Read more

The stagnation myth is simply convenient rhetoric

WASHINGTON -- We aren't stagnating, after all.

Unless you've been hibernating in the Himalayas, you must know of the recent surge in economic inequality. It's not just that the rich are getting richer. The rest of us -- say politicians, pundits and scholars -- are stagnating. The top 1 percent have grabbed most income gains, while average ...Read more

It's not the economy, stupid!

WASHINGTON -- One lesson of the midterm elections is that economic growth is losing its power to unite the country and to reduce explosive conflicts over race, religion, ethnicity, immigrant status and sexuality. This is unfamiliar. Economic progress has been a routine part of our election narratives. The presumption is that a strong economy ...Read more

Can they overcome distrust? Doubtful.

WASHINGTON -- President Trump and Congress face a mountain of unfinished business -- and chances are that most of it will stay unfinished.

Of course, no one knows what will happen, and the president and congressional leaders of both parties have made the usual noises about cooperation. "There are a lot of good things that we can do together," ...Read more

Do we all lose in this wasted campaign?

WASHINGTON -- We'll know soon who won the fiercely contested midterm elections, but we already know who lost: We all did. This election has been a referendum on President Trump, which suits both Republicans and Democrats just fine. Democrats are betting that the public has increasingly tired of Trump's lies and his vile style. Trump and his ...Read more

When any group is singled out as needing special protections they become second-class citizens

WASHINGTON -- Perhaps it was naivete, ignorance or stupidity -- or all three -- but when I was growing up in the 1950s in a suburb of New York City, I had no sense of anti-Semitism. By that, I do not mean that I looked around and found little evidence of anti-Jewish feeling. I mean that I had no concept of anti-Semitism. To me, it didn't exist. ...Read more

Capitalism besieged

WASHINGTON -- The story of American capitalism is a contradiction. It has succeeded brilliantly in creating widespread material well-being; and yet, it has not satisfied a popular yearning for a society with less economic insecurity and more "fairness" and equality. Can the two faces of capitalism coexist? Or is one bound to triumph over the ...Read more

America has lost its entrepreneurial advantage

EDITORS: Please insert the attached table after the 3rd-to-last graf.

WASHINGTON -- Globalization strikes again. The latest target is entrepreneurship.

For decades, promoting startup firms through venture capital and other methods of business investment seemed a peculiarly American strength. It has nurtured countless tech firms, including ...Read more

Time to revive antitrust?

WASHINGTON -- Competition is dying. That's the latest complaint against American business. We have too many super-sized firms, excessively large and unnaturally profitable. Dubious mergers, permitted by toothless antitrust laws, boost companies' market power and squash rivals. The lifeblood of a dynamic economy is competition; its erosion -- if ...Read more

Italy's debt monster: a primer

WASHINGTON -- Just when it seemed safe not to worry about the next financial crisis, up pops Italy. "In Italy, lavish plans may propel next crisis," warned The New York Times. Or, "Italy's budget rattles financial markets on debt crisis fears," said Sky News.

Exactly how a crisis might emerge isn't clear. Would Italian interest rates soar, ...Read more

On global warming it's mission impossible

WASHINGTON -- If there were any doubt before, there should be none now. "Solving" the global climate change problem may be humankind's mission impossible. That's the gist of the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the United Nations group charged with monitoring global warming.

Unless we make dramatic ...Read more

The message The Economist intended is not the one it sent

WASHINGTON -- The Economist magazine is marking its 175th birthday with a special issue that looks back on its history and speculates about the future. It is a sobering exercise, highlighting the present breakdown in the world's political order, a collapse made worse by Donald Trump but not caused by him.

When the magazine was founded in 1843 ...Read more

Warning from the almost-depression

WASHINGTON -- All during the 2008-09 financial crisis, Americans were told that the government was saving Wall Street not to protect overpaid bankers but to help Main Street avoid a second Great Depression. It was a hard case to make. However valid the logic, it was overwhelmed by infuriating realities -- government was pouring tens of billions ...Read more

Legacies of the financial crisis

WASHINGTON -- Ten years after the 2008-09 financial crisis, we're swamped with studies and reminiscences. What are the legacies of the crisis? How long will they endure? Are they accurate -- or just convenient scapegoats? Here are three takeaways.

(1) (BEG BOLD)We can no longer rule out another worldwide depression -- something akin to the ...Read more

Why we don't prepare for the future

Does America adapt by crisis or consensus? Do we spontaneously change because we see we must, or must we be coerced by events that leave us no choice?

-- "The Good Life and Its Discontents: The American Dream in the Age of Entitlement"

WASHINGTON -- That's what I wrote more than 20 years ago. Americans would solve their most pressing ...Read more

Handicapping the next financial crisis

WASHINGTON -- The news is better than you might think.

A decade after the onset of the 2008-09 global financial crisis -- an event usually dated to the bankruptcy of Lehman Bros. -- the world economy seems to be repairing itself.

To be sure, worries remain.

The latest is that overborrowed "emerging-market" countries -- Argentina, Brazil, ...Read more


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