5:26 PM, Jul 18, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Some jobs depend on there being lots of jobs and people having a little disposable income to blow on things like … well, the slots. Which is why, in Atlantic City, as Terrence Dopp of Bloomberg reports:
About a quarter of the casino jobs that propped up the city for more than three decades are on the line as one gambling house closed in January, two more plan to in the next two months and a fourth -- the $2.4 billion Revel that promised to transform the town from a bastion of blue-haired slots addicts into a destination for the glitterati -- is seeking a buyer in bankruptcy.
Dopp quotes a boardwalk vendor named Mohammad Haroon who says:
“We’re going to go back to what it was like in 1976 before there were any casinos … This was a ghost town. Nobody was here. The casinos came; then the people came. We made a lot of money in the high times. But no one’s coming anymore.”
And, of course, governments depend on revenues from gambling. Tough all over.
10:31 AM, Jul 17, 2014 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
Conflate two separate issues and you get one policy error. That is what too many opponents of carbon taxes are doing, getting caught up in the argument about climate change, which really has nothing to do with the case for a carbon tax. That case is that such a tax can make growth-inducing tax reform easier to achieve, and reduce the need for an expansion of the regulatory state, while protecting the competitiveness of our industries.
12:34 PM, Jul 16, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
We have been paying attention to other things so it probably slipped out minds. But as Bernie Becker of the The Hill reports, the defect hasn’t gone away (gone down, some, but not away) and:
For better or worse.12:00 AM, Jul 12, 2014 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
All good things must come to an end. And bad things, too, if you believe that the Federal Reserve Board’s bond buying program was a mistake. The minutes of its June 17-18 monetary policy committee meeting, published a few days ago, reveal that these purchases, largely credited with keeping long-term interest rates lower than they would otherwise have been, will come to an end in October.
12:00 AM, Jul 5, 2014 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
After celebrating our Declaration of Independence from the British oppressor, we will return to work Monday having consumed 155 million hot dogs and, for some 41 million of us, bucked traffic jams, long security lines at airports, or storm-induced flight delays in order to visit family or whatever place attracts us in this huge country of ours.
3:28 PM, Jul 2, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Rather than legislatively ratcheting up the legal minimum wage, with the attendant political grandstanding, hand wring, and finger pointing (we leave anything out?), how about this? Let’s kick the economy into high gear so that it expands so robustly that employers are pushed into competing for workers through the radical, unheard of mechanism of offering them higher wages?
4:16 PM, Jun 27, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
There has been a long stagnation following the “Great Recession.” No good news there. Lots of unemployment, hence no competition for labor and, thus, no increase in incomes. But … at least there is no inflation. That, anyway, is what we are told by the engineers with their handles on the economy’s throttles. The Federal Reserve, in fact, would like to see some more inflation.
12:46 PM, Jun 26, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
In the first quarter of 2014, GDP in the U.S. plunged at a 2.9% annual rate, and productivity—the inflation-adjusted business output per hour worked—declined at a 3.5% annual rate. This is the worst productivity statistic since 1990. And productivity since 2005 has declined by more than 8% relative to its long-run trend. This means that business output is nearly $1 trillion less today than what it would be had productivity continued to grow at its average rate of about 2.5% per year.
9:01 AM, Jun 26, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Reports from the economic front, this week, have been discouraging. Especially yesterday's revise in first quarter GDP to almost three percent negative growth. A contraction, in other words. Another one of those, on the back of that one, and we are officially in a recession.
12:00 AM, Jun 21, 2014 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
And we thought the bad old days of oil shocks were over. Embargoes, price spikes, gasoline lines in America, a sweater-bedecked president ordering the end of hot water in many facilities, collapsing retail sales as high gasoline and energy prices hit stores as much as a big tax increase would, economic stagflation, or worse. Well, it just might be that we were wrong to believe that danger to our continued prosperity has been removed with the death of theories about “Peak oil.”