The California Center for Jobs and the Economy has released a report comparing Los Angeles County’s economy with the Bay Area’s growth.  Needless to say, Los Angeles doesn’t look good in the comparisons. Early on, they not that Los Angeles’ economy has been almost unique in not creating jobs: In their March 2014 report, UCLA… Read more

This analysis suggest that low oil prices will likely persist.  It seems that U.S. firms are more competitive than previously thought: But U.S. firms haven’t assumed that role as readily as the Saudis would have hoped. Rather, they’ve been hard at work innovating their way to profitability even at $65 per barrel. True, shale growth… Read more

The folks at Chapman University have produced an important new paper.  We’ve said for a long time that reducing California’s Carbon Emissions is both expensive and futile, if the goal is to reduce global atmospheric carbon.  Here’s what the report has to say: This paper demonstrates that even the complete elimination of state GHG emissions will have no… Read more

It’s generally agreed that excessively lax lending standards were major contributors to the financial crisis that precipitated the Great Recession.  So, Washington wants to do it again, only more.  Here’s part of what has to say: In a just-released federal report, the administration portrays these “credit invisibles” as victims of a traditional credit-scoring system.… Read more

It is.  Corporate welfare sustains inefficient old firms while impeding innovative new firms.  In this Forbes piece, George Leef discusses the use of tax waivers or direct subsidies to attract firms to a city or state.  As he points out politicians of all stripes do this: One of the great bipartisan follies of American politics is the idea… Read more

Tyler Cowen has a piece in the New York Times today.  He’s arguing that fundamental weaknesses and dysfunctions may be causing permanent changes, a reset: The debate over the economy these days isn’t just about income inequality and what should or should not be done about it. Perhaps the most crucial issue is whether economies will… Read more

During the buildup to the financial crisis, mortgage underwriting standards weakened dramatically.  Although there have long been loans made with low or no down payments, or to people with FICO scores below 660 or even 600, or to people who did not wish to provide full documentation, it was rare to find loans made that… Read more

Here’s a great idea from Amity Shlaes: Suggestion: Postpone the tax talk, and, instead, push the candidates on bailouts. Force them to declare whether they consider themselves to be “Austrian” or neo-Keynesian.” Let them say whether, come the next crisis, they’d wing it, à la Hank Paulson, or actually put forward a plan. Clear the… Read more

People are always writing about the best places to to buy homes, retire, get a job, etc..   Only one problem, thought.  These are always backwards looking, and things change.  In this case, they changed before the report could by published: The (best) metropolitan area for flipping a house was Baltimore-Towson, Md., where the average… Read more

Two new reports came out today indicating that the U.S. economy is weaker and more fragile than we thought. Productivity dropped for the second consecutive quarter, and hiring slowed. It appears that a weak global economy and the United States increasingly onerous regulatory environment is more than offsetting and stimulus from lower oil prices.

Financial innovations often involve complex quantitative models that can be used to perform difficult computations, like valuing complex derivatives, and to enable great new products and capabilities, like passive index fund investing, hedging interest rate or credit risk, or developing a sustainable financial plan.  But you have to be careful.  Sometimes the complexity inherent in… Read more

After writing about retirement savings and spending for the past couple of years, I thought it was about time to take a look at what others have written on these subjects; here is what I found. 4% Withdrawal Rate A seminal contribution to this literature was made by William Bengen (1994) with his analysis of… Read more

Ray Dalio is the founder of money manager Bridgewater Associates, the largest hedge fund advisor on the planet.  One of Bridgewater’s claims to fame is the “all-weather portfolio” that is designed to perform reasonably well in any market environment.  The big idea is that there are four possible fundamental economic scenarios based on inflation and… Read more

Tony Robbins has a terrific new book on winning the financial game (“Money: Master the Game”). The highlight of the book is a series of interviews with famous investors, in which Robbins extracts valuable insights into the strategies of the successful. The primary lesson is “don’t lose money” and the second “don’t forget lesson number… Read more

National Markets: Since the recession began, we’ve said that residential real estate markets would not recover until the homeownership rate (the percentage of households owning the home they live in) fell to the 64 percent to 65 percent range.  We also said that residential markets would recover when the homeownership rate fell to that range. … Read more