Category Archives: United States

The way they live now: Artists reap the rewards of vast wealth inequality with meals cooked by personal chefs, making others feel guilty they have to eat at their computers

But I was reassured, because for all the pretension, one of the artists drops his guard… personal chef creates meal, guests come by… but it all only lasts 30 minutes, then the capitalist tractor engine is revved up again for … Continue reading

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San Jose mayoral candidate Sam Liccardo at our home

We hosted a “town meeting” for San Jose mayoral candidate Sam Liccardo last night.  Had a good turnout, lots of old friends and neighbors and made some new acquaintances.   The city of San Jose has come through a bad seven … Continue reading

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Good outlook for U.S. economy from Fed Chair Janet Yellen

Let the housing price rise continue apace… Ms. Yellen reiterated the Fed’s optimistic assessment that economic growth will strengthen this year, giving no sign the Fed is concerned about a recent spate of weak economic reports, including slow job growth … Continue reading

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San Francisco minimum wage effects: very small and unlikely to have been negative

Reading a chapter form the book When Mandates Work: Raising Labor Standards at the Local Level edited by Michael Reich, Ken Jacobs, Miranda Dietz.  As I imagined, the effects were very small. The counterfactual that many people have in mind … Continue reading

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Abortion decline: NPR fail, NY Times excellent reporting

On the car into work this morning, NPR has a longish news segment on the release of a report about the decline in abortion rate.  The NPR reporter gave no numbers for either the rate, the base number of abortions, … Continue reading

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GiveDirectly program evaluation… rant!

Wow, you mean they give $1000 to poor people in Kenya and it really, really helps them!  Amazing!  All that time I was donating to dumb NGOs who didn’t do anything; I mean, they didn’t even evaluate rigorously what they … Continue reading

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New York Times on Inflation

Nice article on inflation and monetary policy.  Sometimes incoherent, in that occasionally mistakes private benefit for public gains… (but rarely mistakes private losses for public losses)… The Fed, in a break from its historic focus on suppressing inflation, has tried … Continue reading

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Kaiser Permanente (my health care provider) apparently decides to make a move responding to ACA

If 3 million people signed up to Kaiser, who otherwise didn’t have insurance, we’d be a better country with happier people (having insurance and a doctor available is very reassuring… and not having your neighborhood host fundraisers for insurance-less musicians … Continue reading

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I was wondering whether any female presidents of Jesuit-Catholic colleges in U.S.? Answer seems to be: No

But those challenges aren’t insurmountable. The ranks of women in the presidency — as well as top administrators, including many in business positions — continue to grow. Women now lead half of the Ivy League, including universities that didn’t admit … Continue reading

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Are you a liberal who reads the Republican talking point of healthcare.gov disaster, and worries they might be right?

Well, don’t believe their baloney. I just went to Cover California, and in about 30 seconds I could see health insurance plans available for me.*  The premium plans for family of four costs about $1800 per month.  Expensive, but actually … Continue reading

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Bad, bad Mankiw…

I’m teaching using Mankiw’s Macroeconomics 8th edition and on page 138, Chapter 6, he uses an example to illustrate and develop intuition of what is always a problem for students, that capital flows have to equal current account (NX = … Continue reading

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Budget negotiations… let me get this straight…

At present, according to news reports, the only sticking point is what to do about the medical devices tax (2.3%) which is estimated to raise about $3 b a year, how long the deal should be for (Jan? Feb?), and … Continue reading

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Impending calamity in Puerto Rico, analysis from Reorg Research

From Reorg Research. As a heavily levered U.S. Territory, Puerto Rico has nearly $70 billion worth of debt to which numerous U.S. and foreign financial institutions have heavy exposure. Tangentially connected banks and companies too have suffered from the current … Continue reading

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Kathryn Davis’ Duplex… thoughts while reading….

NPR’s book reviewer Roscrans Baldwin (huh?  is that a great name or what for a book critic?) talked about this book early September, so when it arrived in libraries I requested it.  I’m more than halfway through and it lives … Continue reading

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Terry Gross fail, Chimamanda Adichie disppoints

I enjoyed (well, if that is the word) reading Purple Hibiscus and Half of a Yellow Sun, and would heartily recommend them.  But it seems that Adichie has decided to pursue some fast money, with an obvious novel and lecture … Continue reading

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Marginal Revolution gives basic scenario of the default

Interest rates skyrocket and there are numerous collateral calls from clearinghouses and thus a squeeze on Treasuries. Everyone is scrambling after Treasuries and suddenly T-Bill liquidity is quite scarce. (Here is one FT post on collateral crunch.) The next morning … Continue reading

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Just to make sure everyone knows we are dealing with inefficient bargaining: they will be paid but not do work while the game of chicken goes on

The Republicans could have argued that government workers don’t do anything anyway so the shutdown is not even really costly, but they’ve apparently decided not to go that route.  Of course this eliminates a major constituency for a deal; now … Continue reading

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Question: Why are no moderate Republicans switching parties?

Maybe there are some and I don’t know about it.  I confess that out here in solidly Democratic California partisan politics not too high on list of things to follow especially when research in on West Africa.  But I do … Continue reading

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Was the recession of 1991 a financial crisis?

Amongst policy-oriented economists this matters a lot, because the V shape of the recession and recovery in 1991 means that this was either (2) an important exception to the usual “financial crises recessions are really bad” or (2) it is … Continue reading

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My town makes the big time… for the wrong reason

New York Times officially declares San Jose a “metropolis”… soon we’ll have a caped super-hero just like the other ones.  But ours will fight pensions? San Jose now spends one-fifth of its $1.1 billion general fund on pensions and retiree … Continue reading

Posted in United States