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  • Commentary posted October 28, 2014 by Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D. Consensus Building That the Fed's Policies Were Too Tight

    It’s certainly true that the Fed dropped its target federal funds rate in 2008.  In fact, the Fed started steadily cutting its target in September 2007.  In that month, it cut the target from 5.25 percent to 4.75. By the end of 2008, the target had been slashed to 1 percent. But those cuts don’t mean the Fed’s policies could not have been too tight. Nominal interest…

  • Backgrounder posted October 27, 2014 by Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D. Federal Reserve Performance: What Is the Fed’s Track Record on Inflation?

    Central banks … will do wisely to lay aside their inexpert ventures in half-baked monetary theory, meretricious statistical measures of trade and hasty grinding of the axes of speculative interests with their suggestion that by so doing they are achieving some sort of vague “stabilization” that will, in the long run, be for the greater good. —H. Parker Willis, first…

  • Backgrounder posted October 24, 2014 by Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D. Federal Reserve Performance: Have Business Cycles Really Been Tamed?

    Central banks … will do wisely to lay aside their inexpert ventures in half-baked monetary theory, meretricious statistical measures of trade and hasty grinding of the axes of speculative interests with their suggestion that by so doing they are achieving some sort of vague “stabilization” that will, in the long run, be for the greater good. —H. Parker Willis, first…

  • Backgrounder posted October 20, 2014 by Curtis S. Dubay How Tax Reform Would Help American Families

    Tax reform is one of the vital policy improvements necessary to revive the laboring economy. Despite widespread agreement on this fact, the prospects of Congress passing and the President signing a tax reform bill are low. One reason for this mismatch between political will and policy importance is a lack of pressure from American families on lawmakers. This is…

  • Backgrounder posted October 17, 2014 by Romina Boccia Eliminating Waste and Controlling Government Spending

    If one asks Americans how many cents of every dollar that the federal government spends they believe is wasted, their answer reflects a belief that Washington is vastly incompetent when it comes to managing taxpayer money. A 2014 Gallup poll reported that Americans think the federal government wastes 51 cents of every dollar they pay in taxes.[1] This year’s figure is…

  • Commentary posted October 16, 2014 by Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D. Let's Fully Devalue the Devaluation Idea, Once and For All

    Many bad ideas survive as urban legends. No field is immune, economics included. The list goes on: Unions care more about consumers than about their own members. Minimum wage laws don’t raise the cost of hiring low-skilled workers. Keynesian stimulus policies have worked wonders in the past. And so on. The latest bad idea that refuses to die is that countries should…

  • Commentary posted October 10, 2014 by Diane Katz Responsible to Taxpayers, Not Corporations, Congress Shouldn't Renew Export-Import Bank's Charter

    There is something unseemly about a $90 billion corporation - i.e., Boeing - demanding ever more taxpayer subsidies to export its products. And it is downright ludicrous for the company to warn of "Armageddon" should Congress eliminate the source of said subsidies, the Export-Import Bank. All of which makes for a brazen corporate welfare campaign - one wholly…

  • Commentary posted October 8, 2014 by Romina Boccia America, Don't Forget about the Deficit: 5 Ways to Control the Debt and Unleash Growth

    This week, the Treasury Department releases the actual deficit figure for fiscal year (FY) 2014 which ended on September 30. At about half a trillion dollars, this year’s deficit adds more than $4,000 to the per-household national-debt burden. What’s worse, the 2014 deficit marks a low point in the ten-year projection. The total deficit over the period is expected to ring…

  • Commentary posted October 1, 2014 by Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D. The Pseudoscience of Inflation: Part II

    A few weeks back this column discussed some of the basic problems with measuring inflation in the macro economy.  It pointed out that economists use several different price indices because there’s no one, purely objective way to measure inflation. It’s nothing like measuring the volume of water in a container or the chemical makeup of a natural substance.  Still, we…

  • Issue Brief posted October 1, 2014 by Daren Bakst Another EPA and Army Corps Power Grab: Limiting Exemptions for Agriculture Under the CWA

    A‌gricultural activities will likely be far more costly ‌and difficult, at least if the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) get their way. In addition to their controversial “waters of the U.S.” proposed rule that would expand the waters that the federal government can regulate under the Clean Water Act (CWA), the EPA and Corps…

  • Commentary posted September 29, 2014 by Katie Tubb, Jack Spencer Green Energy and Red Tape

    Nuclear reactors are designed to withstand severe weather, earthquakes, even airplane crashes. But how much more handling from the federal government they can endure remains to be seen. Almost since the inception of the American commercial nuclear industry, presidents and politicians have taken a special interest in it. We would all be better off if they wouldn’t.…

  • Commentary posted September 25, 2014 by Nicolas Loris Lift the Ban

    It’s a simple policy change that would create jobs, boost energy production, lower gas prices, help our reliable trading partners and ease geopolitical tensions around the world. Larry Summers, formerly President Obama’s top economic aide, recently said, “The merits are as clear as the merits with respect to any significant public-policy issue that I have ever…

  • Commentary posted September 19, 2014 by Diane Katz The Latest Anti-Small-Business Effort to Stop Global Warming

    There is one policy arena in which President Obama definitely does not lead from behind: the imposition of costly and pointless environmental regulation. The president on Tuesday announced a crackdown on hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a group of coolants used in virtually every home, office, and automobile. Unless we discontinue their use, we are told, the oceans will…

  • Commentary posted September 19, 2014 by James L. Gattuso Give Tesla a Truly Free Market by Ending Dealers' Monopoly

    Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk wants to sell you a car, but your state government might not let him. Why? He wants to deal directly with you, bypassing the independent dealerships that have acted as middlemen in the car industry for close to a century. In California's Silicon Valley, where Tesla is based, the disruption of existing practice is encouraged. It leads to…

  • Commentary posted September 18, 2014 by Paul Rosenzweig, Brett D. Schaefer, James L. Gattuso Should Governments Control the Internet?

    The Internet is now critical to the U.S. economy. A recent Hudson Institute analysis estimated that the information, communications, and technology sector accounted for nearly 10 percent of the total growth of the U.S. economy from 2002 to 2007 – in other words, the sector was responsible for more than $340 billion of the $4.6 trillion increase in real gross output of the…