Do We Need an Affordable Car Act?

I would love to see those loan documents. But, as usual, the Times reporters are more interested in telling stories than reporting the facts. I have posted a comment asking to see some sample loan papers. I’ll update this article if I get a reply.

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Is Paul Krugman Leaving Princeton In Quiet Disgrace?

“Is Paul Krugman leaving Princeton in quiet disgrace?”  That’s the headline over Ralph Benko’s column in the latest issue of Forbes.  And it’s a doozy of a story.  First, Mr. Benko notes the official statement from Princeton after the announcement of Prof. Krugman’s departure → Mr. Benko characterizes this as “tepid.”  I’d say it’s more like, […]

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Common Core Math Fail

I am professor emeritus of economics at California State University, East Bay. We have a small Master’s program in our department. Decades ago, when I was teaching in that program, one of my students was a high school teacher. She did very well in the class I taught and went on to successfully complete the M.A. After the course was over I asked her if she was going to teach high school economics. She replied, “No. I can’t. My certificate is in business. To teach economics I need a certificate in social studies.”

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The Invisible Economy is Not the Hidden Economy

National income accounting is not particularly easy or interesting. But those who try to use GDP should know what they’re talking about. Mr. Davidow has sadly failed this test.

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Who Really Gets the Minimum Wage

Every reputable economist who has studied the minimum wage has concluded it is a bad way to fight poverty. Far better is the earned income tax credit. However, that program will also not affect people living in households where no one works. Perhaps restoring the Clinton-era “welfare to work” programs would be helpful.

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KPCC and the Supermarket Guru Jointly Fail

It seems to me there is a simpler and more direct explanation: demand. Higher prices for any product reduce quantity demanded. And for a specific item such as beef, demand elasticity is likely to be fairly high. The reason firms are not raising retail prices is simple: it would not be profitable because they would lose more unit sales than they would gain from the higher price.

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Healthcare Spending and First Quarter GDP

Well, it happens that there’s a country just north of us that had about as bad a winter as the U.S. That’s Canada, where first quarter GDP grew 2.2%. This growth occurred despite a contraction in gross investment (-1.6%) and a huge drawdown in business inventories of -$495 million (Canadian dollars, of course). Somehow, even faced with harsh winter conditions, those intrepid Canadian consumers managed to increase spending by 2.6%. Perhaps Amazon.com and Google shopping are easier to use north of the border.

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Prof. Taylor Fails History

In other words, monetary policy is more effective when an overheated economy needs cooling off. Expansionary policy, on the other hand, is not quite so effective.

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What Happened to GDP in the First Quarter

Earlier this year I posted an article stating that I would not use government data until at least after the 2016 election. I’ve now violated that promise several times. But this data makes me suspect that even the Bureau of Economic Analysis is just making up numbers.

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Megan McArdle on Student Loan Debt and Tuition Increases

The implications of this are quite staggering. Courses and majors thought to be difficult or those in which students are likely to fail will be demoted in hiring, course offerings, and other areas. By contrast, majors such as “Hospitality and Leisure Services” will be promoted. You don’t need math, science, or much more than high energy and a great smile to graduate in those fields. If you believe administrators don’t have that kind of influence on the academic curriculum, you have not lived the three decades in public education that span my career. And this strategy has now been endorsed by none other than the President of the United States.

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