Outside the Box, September 2017

Low Inflation Is No “Mystery”

September 27, 2017

When is a mystery not a mystery? When Janet Yellen is puzzling over a lack of inflation, that’s when. So say Brian Wesbury, chief economist, and Robert Stein, deputy chief economist of First Trust, in today’s Outside the Box. The bottom line: QE didn’t work, and Janet knew it was unlikely to work, from the start.

So where did all that easy money go? I think I’ll let the authors tell you. I think you’ll enjoy this brief, clear-headed essay.

The essay was sent to me along with a rant by my...

Yet Again?

September 20, 2017

This week’s Outside the Box is from one of my favorite writers and analysts. Howard Marks of Oaktree Capital is simply an investing legend. He writes several “memos” a year on the world of investing, and I put quotes around the word memos because they are typically longer than what you would think of as a memo. This week’s selection is reduced from the full memo, which you can see here.

(And for those who are wondering what I omitted, Howard did a long section on Bitcoin that I had to edit...

On Swamp Draining in Texas, Florida … and DC

September 13, 2017

For this week’s Outside the Box we have a two-parter of short essays. They are unrelated but equally important. First, in “Time to Drain the Fed Swamp,” Brian Wesbury and colleagues at First Trust make the case that it was the private sector, not the federal government or the Fed, that saved the economy after the Panic of 2008. The Fed has outgrown its britches, they argue, and it’s time to fill the Board of Governors chair and vice-chair positions with people who will hold the Fed to account...

Irving Fisher and Japan

September 6, 2017

Outside the Box, for a number of new readers who have joined us, is a letter in which I feature someone else's work each week, and often it is a view contrary to mine. I have to continually remind readers that just because I include something in an Outside the Box doesn't mean that I agree with it. I think it pays us to read people we don't agree with.

John Maynard Keynes was an enormously influential economist, but some of his detractors complained that the opinions he expressed tended to...