I read an article yesterday that claimed that the FED has already initiated QE3, without an announcement.  Today, I had time to check the data.   Here’s a chart from FRED: There has been a recent increase in the base, but we’re only back to our previous high.   We could be seeing the initial stages of… Read more

In his State of the Union1 speech, President Obama laid out a new program to assist homeowners by enabling mass refinancing to the current very low level of mortgage rates.  The Administration claims that tens of millions of families may benefit by this program with an average savings of around $3,000 per year.  The cost… Read more

Condensed minutes of FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) meetings are released three weeks after each meeting.  Detailed transcripts for the meetings in a given calendar year are released five years after the end of that calendar year.  Thus, last month the detailed transcripts for the 2006 FOMC meetings were released.  These transcripts have received a… Read more

I just finished John Taylor’s new book, First Principles. It’s a very good and fast read. It’s a little over 200 pages, and not a derivative in it. I don’t think there is even an explicit formula in it. Taylor writes very well, especially for an academic economist. Maybe that is from all his years… Read more

Dan already summarized the meat of last Friday’s jobs report, but I wanted to briefly comment on one fairly esoteric point.  The Friday release included an annual “benchmark revision” to the population, labor force and jobs numbers.  Each year the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) updates historical data based on updates from the Census Department. … Read more

Today’s BLS jobs-report indicates the economy added 243 thousand jobs in January, which was about 90 thousand jobs above the consensus forecast of 155 thousand. Our forecast was 150,000. This gain was accompanied by a fall in the unemployment rate from 8.5 percent in December to 8.3 percent in January. The job-gains were pretty broad… Read more

The US savings rate is really low and has been for some time.  For many years this was explained by the argument that people were getting wealthy through appreciation of their homes and stock portfolios, so the need for saving out of current income was low.  And sure enough, household net worth did expand nicely… Read more

Louisiana Congressman Charles Boustany has introduced a bill banning withdrawals of welfare funds from ATMs at liquor stores, casinos, and strip clubs. Politicians do this sort of thing every now and then. It wasn’t that long ago that California’s legislature, in its own spasm of self-righteous Puritanism, was imposing its own, very similar, controls. This… Read more