Thursday, July 30, 2009

Macroeconomics, taxes, and auto insurance

Keeping you up-to-date on some of the interesting things around the econoblogosphere.

Another article jumping on the macro-bashing bandwagon. I'd like to see more people offer solutions, or at least helpful criticism. Menzie Chinn offers his insight.

The Wall Street Journal seems to think that executives should pay more in payroll taxes. That's refreshing.

When we're worried about our economic situation, we're willing to try more innovative ways to make society more efficient. Pay-as-you-go auto insurance sure sounds efficient, though people are worried about privacy issues. Presumably, someone knows where you're driving? I think the privacy issue is interesting--lack of privacy might mean more safety. People are less likely to commit crimes if they know they can be easily tracked or caught. Then, people worry that more safety means less free, but I don't know why that necessarily follows.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Some news on the recession

Ritholtz on Feldstein's double-dip warning. Mark Perry has some good news. The Chicago Fed Index and the Confence Board's index are both up. Double dip or slow, long recovery? We have to wait and see. The way to see it, as long as housing continues to get better, and credit markets recover, I don't see how a double-dip is likely. Employment may double-dip, if they're decide that holding on to excess qualified workers will take too long to pay off.

Houston median home prices reach a record high.

Here's a look at the state-by-state change in per capita income. We're down, overall, but some states are doing okay!

Drea, at the Business Pundit, shows us five industries doing well during the recession.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Trains, raising taxes, popping bubbles, and oil

Ed Glaeser doesn't like the high-speed train idea. We should focus on high-density areas, he says. What about focusing on major airline routes? Houston may not be particulary dense (though, we're getting our own rail system, eventually) but having a train option to get to Chicago or Boston relatively quickly would be a boon. Ryan Avent has more criticisms of Glaeser.

David Leonhardt talks about Club Wagner--to recognize that we need to raise taxes in a wealthy society.

Kevin Drum agrees with NY Fed Chairman William Dudley when he says that the Fed should take a more active role in recognizing and popping bubbles.

I always find it interesting when people try to make predictions about the future price of oil. One analysts thinks it'll go down to $55 soon, and hover there as a summertime low.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Healthcare, financial crisis, stimulus, and jobs.

Instead of the UK and Canada, Jonathan Cohn compares our future healthcare system to France and the Netherlands--whose plans he says is actually more similar to our proposed plans. It's a worthwhile read, I think.

Justin Fox points to an investment banker who says that the fault of the financial crisis should fall onto the people who bought toxic assets, not the people who created them. They should never believe that you can make a return on a riskless security. I still think there were many people at fault--after all, the true risk was not properly assessed by ratings agencies.

The French think they've done fiscal stimulus better than the Americans. Could be. Certainly, our more "free" system carries with it more risk and uncertainty. It's harder to get effective government action done here.

Catherine Rampell at Economix points out that the problem with the job market is a hiring slowdown, not layoffs.