The advance estimate of U.S. third quarter GDP was released this morning, indicating that the economy grew at 2 percent. Third quarter growth was driven by private consumption and government defense consumption. Investment expenditures were weak, and trade was a small drag on third quarter growth. Business investment expenditures actually contracted, while residential real estate… Read more

Dan, my favorite workaholic, sent the following from China and asked that I post it: Dan Hamilton October 28, 2010 The first estimate of United States third quarter Gross Domestic Product came out today. The preliminary estimate of third quarter real GDP growth was 2.0 percent, which follows a 1.7 percent growth rate during the… Read more

Mankiw has a post on the administration’s proposed changes in the tax treatment of investment.  As usual, he is right on.  The proposed treatment amounts to a zero interest loan, at a time when interest rates are already remarkably close to zero: However, the impact will be relatively modest. Notice that expensing merely accelerates deductions.… Read more

Finally, people are starting to see the problem with the United States economy.  This piece is typical.  For over a year now, we have been warning that the United States could be facing a long period of slow economic growth, similar to what Japan has seen for the past couple of decades. Seeing a problem… Read more

I just read paper The Macroeconomic Effects of Tax Changes: Estimates Based on a New Measure of Fiscal Shocks by Christina Romer and David Romer. It’s in the June 2010 issue of The American Economic Review (AER), the industry’s top peer-reviewed journal. Being in the AER is a guarantee that the paper is rigorous and… Read more

Famous economist Arthur Laffer has a piece in the Wall Street Journal today where he argues two points: unemployment insurance causes unemployment even in bad times and unemployment insurance is not stimulus. I’ll stipulate his second point, but his first point is all wrong. The data make it pretty clear that unemployment insurance increases unemployment… Read more

Today’s data releases highlight the challenges facing those who claim we are in a recovery. The December retail sales volume, down 0.3 percent from November, was perhaps the most shocking number to the optimists out there. This was almost a full percentage point below “consensus expectations,” which were for 0.5 percent growth. So much for… Read more

I had to pause when I read George Melloan’s Wall Street Journal piece today. Seems he sees a conspiracy between Treasury and the Federal Reserve to fund the national deficit with bank funds to the detriment of business and economic growth. In Melloan’s world, the co-conspirators do this by regulation, giving banks little choice but… Read more

After the kids went to bed last night, I checked the web to see if there was anything new. The Wall Street Journal posts the next day’s op-eds the evening before print publication. So, I checked those out. I started reading a piece by Judy Shelton provocatively titled The Fed’s Woody Allen Policy. Hey, I… Read more

Today’s Wall Street Journal has a piece by John Cogan, John Taylor and Volker Wieland. Cogan and Taylor are famous and respected economists. Volker is younger. He was Taylor’s student and at the Fed when I was there. I found him careful, thoughtful, and smart. Their piece is titled “The Stimulus Didn’t Work.” They provide… Read more