Economic Analysis

Economy with a Fever

Thoughts from the Frontline

April 27, 2018

Getting a fever is no fun. You likely get chills, you sweat, and you’re just generally uncomfortable. You get tired easily and need to rest. But here’s the weird part: Fever isn’t the real problem. It’s a symptom of something else. You must treat whatever that is to relieve the fever.

Us vs. Them

Outside the Box

April 25, 2018

This is the final Outside the Box. It is a little emotional to me, like parting with an old friend. How can one possibly sum up almost 14 years? Well, quite simply, you can’t. I would like to say, however, that it is been my extraordinary pleasure to send out more than 600 issues of Outside the Box, and I sincerely hope they helped your research and thinking.

While reminiscing on Outside the Box this week, I meandered through the archives and stopped at the very first issue, sent on September...

China Plays It Cool

Thoughts from the Frontline

April 20, 2018


Photo: Getty Images

China is the world economy’s elephant in the room. We can’t possibly ignore it, yet many try anyway. Admitting China’s influence forces us to admit the world is changing—and we all must change with it.

Hoisington Quarterly Review and Outlook, First Quarter 2018

Outside the Box

April 18, 2018

Lacy Hunt is in the very top rank of US economists. He would have made an excellent Fed chairman, if you ask me (no one did who mattered); but he goes on holding down the fort, along with partner Van Hoisington, at Hoisington Investment Management in Austin; and so you and I continue to have the benefit of Lacy and Van’s quarterly updates, which I always feature here in Outside the Box.

Today’s is an amazing piece of academic economic analysis. Lacy and Van kick it off with this trenchant...

How to Get Your Tax Weekend Back

Thoughts from the Frontline

April 14, 2018

This weekend millions of Americans and/or their accountants are preparing to file income tax returns. Tax day is an annual event as significant as the Fourth of July – though far less fun.

Fed “Policy Mistakes” – a View from Across the Pond

Outside the Box

April 11, 2018

I have talked at length in recent months about the well-proven limitations of Federal Reserve modeling of the economy. (See for instance “Data-Dependent ... on Imaginary Data.”) And come to think of it, I’ve been on their case for years. The Fed’s predictive capacities are demonstrably abysmal. In today’s Outside the Box, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, the intrepid international business editor of the Daily Telegraph of London, joins the fray.

Ambrose’s criticism of the Fed’s current posture on...

Assumptions Equal Problems

Thoughts from the Frontline

April 6, 2018

The future is tantalizing because it is both unknown and unknowable. At best, we can make educated guesses about tomorrow or next year. Sometimes, it’s actually hard to understand what happened in the past, much less to chart how the future might unfold.

Is Risk-Free Really Risk-Free?

Outside the Box

April 4, 2018

In Outside the Box I try to bring you ideas that are, well, outside the box. This is increasingly important as we all find ourselves locked into confined social, political, and economic spaces that prevent us from seeing different perspectives. Often those perspectives are important, and sometimes they’re critical.

If you're looking for the 'next Bitcoin'... You're missing the bigger picture.

Today we will go even further outside the box than usual and consider a thought that is practically unspeakable to many. Is short-term US Treasury debt really “risk-free,” as...

Springtime Chart Fling

Thoughts from the Frontline

March 31, 2018

Here in Texas you know spring is here when our state flower, the bluebonnet, pops up everywhere. I was at the Masters in Augusta last year, and the azaleas were beautiful. But they are cultivated and take a lot of work to bring out their beauty.

Question Your Assumptions

Outside the Box

March 28, 2018

I always thought I would learn more as I grew older. In fact, the opposite is happening: The older I get, the more I realize how much I don’t know. Maybe that’s why my search for answers seems to widen and intensify each year.

If you're looking for the 'next Bitcoin'... You're missing the bigger picture.

Our questions differ, but we’re all seeking answers. Our digital technologies, led by search, theoretically make it easy to find answers, too – but they aren’t necessarily the right ones. This is a growing problem. Whatever crazy thing you want to believe, a quick...