Thoughts From the Frontline, February 2020

COVID-19: A Crisis the Fed Can’t Fix

February 28, 2020

For the last 3+ years, I have maintained it would take an “exogenous” event to send the United States into recession. Historically suboptimal growth? Sure, but sub-3% growth isn’t a recession.

Why Americans Want Socialism

February 21, 2020

As I write this, a self-proclaimed “democratic socialist” is leading the race for one of our major parties’ presidential nomination. The fact that so many Americans (especially young Americans) support Bernie Sanders ought to tell us something. A Quinnipiac poll out this week showed Senator Sanders with 54% support among Democrats age 18–34. Meanwhile, 50% of adults under 38 told the Harris Poll last year that they would “prefer living in a socialist country.”

Depending on the Undependable

February 14, 2020

The welfare of a nation can scarcely be inferred from a measure of [GDP].”

—Simon Kuznets (who developed GDP), 1934

The Hits to GDP

February 7, 2020

Economists and investors are rightly obsessed with growth. We always want more of it. We worry it won’t come or, worse, might turn into contraction. Economists of all stripes, from Paul Krugman to Lacy Hunt, recognize economic growth cures all manner of ills.