James Pethokoukis

AEICalifornia has a housing crisis, and Californians seem confused about how to solve it Here's just one tidbit from California's housing affordability crisis: According to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, families in the northern California counties of San Francisco, San Mateo, and Marin who make as much as $117,000 a year are eligible to live in low-income housing projects. Want another one or two? Well, here you go: California's median home value has increased by almost 80 percent to $544,900 since 2011, while more than half of renters spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing. Not [...]
Mon, Oct 22, 2018
Source: James Pethokoukis Category: JAMES PETHOKOUKIS
AEIIf you care about wage growth, then you also need to care about how taxes affect economic growth If one wanted to talk up this economic expansion — maybe even call it “a boom” — they would certainly point to low unemployment. At 3.7 percent, the jobless rate is at its lowest level since December 1969. Or as economist Ernie Tedeschi notes in The New York Times today, it has averaged 4 percent over the past year, same as the peak of the 1990s boom (actually 1991 though 2001). A big difference between now and then: Wage growth today is just under [...]
Mon, Oct 22, 2018
Source: James Pethokoukis Category: JAMES PETHOKOUKIS
AEIWe aren't doomed: My review of ‘The Fourth Age: Smart Robots, Conscious Computers, and the Future of Humanity' by Byron Reese Unless you're a JRR Tolkien fanatic, probably everything you know about his imaginary Middle-earth is what happens in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. But there's more to the Tolkienverse than the Third Age of that mythopoetic timeline. Preceding events of the First and Second Age are found in other works. Less is known about what comes next, in the Fourth Age. About that we can mostly only speculate — as many fans obsessively do. A different sort [...]
Fri, Oct 19, 2018
Source: James Pethokoukis Category: JAMES PETHOKOUKIS
AEIEnding poverty by ‘ending capitalism' is absolute nonsense. Just so, so wrong It's hardly to Teen Vogue's credit that its dreadful story “What ‘Capitalism' Is and How It Affects People” isn't nearly as wrongheaded and offensive as the viral tweet promoting it: “Can't #endpoverty without ending capitalism!” But let's start with the grotesque, clickbaity tweet. End poverty where, exactly? Is Teen Vogue referring to the United States, which it identifies as an example of a “modern capitalist” country along with Britain and Germany? First of all, the median income of the bottom 20 percent of households is up more than 70 [...]
Thu, Oct 18, 2018
Source: James Pethokoukis Category: JAMES PETHOKOUKIS
AEIThe Davos folks now rank the US as the world's most competitive economy. Here's why For the first time since the Global Financial Crisis, the United States is the world's most competitive economy, according to the World Economic Forum's annual report (based 70 percent on data, 30 percent on national business leader opinion). One reason for the return to the top spot — it was a respectable second last year to Switzerland — is that the WEF has tweaked its methodology, although America was on the ascent even before the change. There's now a greater emphasis on attributes that should prove [...]
Wed, Oct 17, 2018
Source: James Pethokoukis Category: JAMES PETHOKOUKIS
AEITrump doesn't like the Powell Fed. But his tax cuts and taunts, not Powell, might be the real ‘threat' President Trump's attacks on the Federal Reserve haven't escalated to the nickname stage yet, but they might be getting close. In July, Trump said he was “not thrilled” about the pace of the central bank's rate hikes. He then complained on Twitter that “Tightening now hurts all that we have done.” And last week Trump said, “I think the Fed is making a mistake. They are so tight. I think the Fed has gone crazy.” Now the president calls the Powell Fed [...]
Wed, Oct 17, 2018
Source: James Pethokoukis Category: JAMES PETHOKOUKIS
AEIBreaking down NAFTA 2.0: A long-read Q&A with Claude Barfield Earlier this month President Trump announced a new trade agreement with Mexico and Canada, which he has christened USMCA — but most people refer to simply as NAFTA 2.0. President Trump understanably wants to differentiate his trade deal from the one he deemed the worst trade agreement in this country's history, maybe ever. But many trade analysts say NAFTA 2 is not much different than NAFTA classic. One such analyst is Claude Barfield. In this episode, we talk about the differences between the two deals: how it has improved, and the updates [...]
Wed, Oct 17, 2018
Source: James Pethokoukis Category: JAMES PETHOKOUKIS
AEITaking another look at Europe's terrible record of generating successful tech firms If a country or region doesn't generate many fast-growing technology startups, then it seems unlikely to have many large, successful technology companies. So no surprise, then, in these stats from The Economist about the relative success of the European tech sector: “Of the world's 15 largest digital firms, all are American or Chinese. Of the top 200, eight are European.” Moreover, a running Wall Street Journal analysis finds Europe with just 14 tech unicorns vs. 97 for the United States. European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager addresses a news conference on [...]
Tue, Oct 16, 2018
Source: James Pethokoukis Category: JAMES PETHOKOUKIS
AEIGoogle's Trumpian return to China President Trump has yet to say or tweet anything about Google's potential search-engine return to China, but it's hard to imagine he'd be anything but congratulatory. America First meet Google First. After all, Google is merely mimicking the president's hard-headed, interest-based foreign policy. If there's business to be done, politics shouldn't get in the way. As Trump said in a 2017 speech in Saudi Arabia, “We are not here to lecture. We are not here to tell other people how to live, what to do, who to be, or how to worship.” Trump was more direct [...]
Tue, Oct 16, 2018
Source: James Pethokoukis Category: JAMES PETHOKOUKIS
AEIFacts and falsehoods about the US labor market: A long-read Q&A with Adam Ozimek For several years now, we have heard economic commentators proclaim the United States had reached “full employment.” And yet the economy just kept adding jobs, and the unemployment rate kept falling. One economist who has consistently opposed that prognosis is Adam Ozimek, and it appears he's been vindicated. So I invited him on the show to talk unemployment, wage growth, and all things economic policy. We also cover the trade war, inflation, and Dr. Ozimek's one out-of-the-box idea to boost US economic growth. Adam Ozimek is an economist at [...]
Fri, Oct 12, 2018
Source: James Pethokoukis Category: JAMES PETHOKOUKIS