Archive for the ‘economics’ Category

Do High Heels Mean an Elevated Economy?

September 2, 2021

Do High Heels Mean an Elevated Economy?

“Trevor Davis, a former consumer products expert at IBM, came up with a theory that matched heel length with economic upturns. ‘The index worked by analysing social media and other online sources for influencer and consumer references to shoes and boots where there was either a specific height of heel mentioned, like ‘four inches’ or a phrase that could be equated easily to a height,’ he says. ‘We then correlated that with a variety of indicators of economic performance to get the index.’ He says the data revealed that when economic indicators turned down the heel height initially went up, but if the economy remained in a recession state for more than a few months then heel heights went down.”

— “Can the ‘high heel index’ predict economic growth?” Priya Elan, The Guardian

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Is History Important?

March 17, 2020

If we’re headed for a recession, blame the economists who flunked history class, explains Robert Skidelsky in this video from the Institute for New Economic Thinking.

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Banning Stock Buybacks

March 9, 2020

When the Trump administration slashed their taxes, corporations invested the windfall in building new facilities and creating new jobs, right? Of course not. They spent the cash on stock buybacks. That’s good for corporate execs but a disaster for the economy. William Lazonick explains in this video from the Institute for New Economic Thinking.

More:

“Why Stock Buybacks Are Dangerous for the Economy,” William Lazonick, Mustafa Erdem Sakinç, and Matt Hopkins,. Harvard Business Review

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Davos 2020: The USA is Represented by Ivanka.

January 6, 2020

Davos 2020: The USA is Represented by Ivanka.

World leaders and the billionaires who own them will gather in Davos Switzerland this month for the annual World Economic Forum. The United States will be officially represented by White House Lifestyle guru Ivanka Trump and her husband, Secretary of Everthing Jared Kushner. Ms. Trump’s appearance will follow her keynote address at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show where she’ll doubtlessly talk about replacing the abused workers in her garment sweatshops with robots.  Since the Davos golf season ended in October, President Trump may not attend again this year.

More:

“Ivanka and Jared included in presidential delegation to Davos,” Matthew Choi, Politico

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How America’s CEOs got so rich

December 9, 2019

How did American CEOs get insanely rich? Stock buy-backs. A Vox video.

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Will Economists Flunk History, Bring On Recession?

December 5, 2019

Robert Skidelsky explains why economists need to know history. He assumes that political leaders listen to economists. As an economist, he should know better. A video from the Institute for New Economic Thinking.

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How Corporate Welfare Hurts You

October 9, 2019

“When corporations get special handouts from the government, it costs the rest of us. We have to pay more in taxes to make up for these hidden tax breaks, subsidies, and loopholes. In turn, there’s less money for good schools and roads, Medicare and national defense, and everything else we need.”

— “How Corporate Welfare Hurts You,” Robert Reich, The American Prospect

Related:

“The High Public Cost of Low Wages,” Ken Jacobs, Ian Eve Perry and Jenifer MacGillvary, UC Berkeley Labor Center

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Taxing the Super-Rich

August 14, 2019

What is a wealth tax, anyway? Alvin Chang explains. A Vox video.

There’s a related fact sheet here

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Trump Awards Arthur Laffer the Medal of Freedom

June 20, 2019

Trump Awards Arthur Laffer the Medal of Freedom

Failed businessman Donald Trump awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to economist Arthur Laffer. “Freedom” here must refer to freedom from reality. Dr. Laffer popularized the “supply side” theory of economics, which holds that if you cut the taxes of rich people so they have even more money, some of it will magically trickle down to society’s less wealthy. This fiction was a favorite of Herbert Hoover, daddy of the Great Depression, and early-onset Alzheimers Ronald Reagan. You can see why the notion would be attractive to Mr. Trump, who became a millionaire at the age of 8.

Arthur Laffer revived this “supply-side” zombie with a visual aid, the “Laffer Curve,” allegedly first drawn on a cocktail napkin in 1974. That theoretical chart, based on wishful thinking and zero data, purports to show that tax cuts for the rich will boost the economy and pay for themselves. While the curve’s drinking-binge origin tale seems apt, it’s a fiction, mythologized by Dr. Laffer’s hype man, conservative pundit Jude Wanninski. The story is now enshrined in GOP dogma and, embrassingly, at the Smithsonian.

Donald Trump, despite the populist rhetoric of his campaign, enthusiasticly slashed taxes for the rich once elected, which helped no one but the wealthy. The medal award is yet another example of Mr. Trump doubling-down on a lie. How could the Laffer Curve be untrue when Arthur Laffer got the Medal of Freedom? Of course, maybe he really got it for co-authoring a book of fawning fiction called Trumponomics.

More:

“Trump is giving Arthur Laffer the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Economists aren’t smiling.” Elizabeth Popp Berman, Washington Post

“Trump Awards Medal to Controversial Tax-Cut Champion Laffer,” Margaret Talev and Justin Sink, Bloomberg

“Trump Awards Kook Art Laffer for Inventing Fake Curve,” Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine

“Why are we still pretending ‘trickle-down’ economics work?” Morris Pearl, The Guardian

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Stephen Moore, Trump Fed Nominee, Withdraws

May 2, 2019

Stephen Moore, Trump Fed Nominee, Withdraws

Following the lead of pizza czar Herman Cain, Trump Federal Reserve Board nominee and alimony cheat Stephen Moore has withdrawn himself from consideration. In his bid to exert influence on the independent central bank regulatory agency, President Trump is having difficulties finding stooges with any degree of plausibility.

More:

“Stephen Moore says people don’t want to debate his economic ideas, but those are bad, too,” Matt O’Brien, Washington Post

“Why Stephen Moore’s Fed Bid Failed,” David A. Graham, The Atlantic

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