The economic forecast is mostly sunny, with some clouds, and a chance of storms.11:00 PM, Oct 27, 2003 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
GOOD NEWS about the U.S. economy is easy to come by. "The good times are back," chortles the Wall Street Journal. Most analysts are guessing that the economy is now growing at an annual rate of somewhere between 6 percent and 7 percent. It seems that the happy recipients of this summer's tax refunds surprised most analysts by dropping fully three-quarters of their refunds into shop tills.
Everyone seems happy.
* Investors have been watching share prices pursue an upward course that has taken the Standard & Poor's index of 500 companies to about 25 percent above its March lows.
Comsumers have helped ward off a serious recession, but the stores which have kept them spending deserve credit, too.12:00 AM, Oct 21, 2003 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE a close reader of the business pages to know that the free-spending American consumer gets credit for keeping the American economy from slipping into a serious recession. What is less heralded is just how the supply side of the economy has contributed to the willingness of American consumers to put their hard-earned and easily borrowed dollars to work shoring up the economy.
Start with Wal-Mart, as any discussion of the retail sector must. With revenues of almost $250 billion, it is the world's largest company.
Arnold Schwarzenegger is going to repeal the car tax, cut the deficit, expand education spending, and not raise taxes. Good Luck.12:00 AM, Oct 14, 2003 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
THE BRITISH PRIME MINISTER and Hollywood's premier tough guy have similar advice for California governor-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger. Tony Blair once said that campaigning is a lot more fun and a lot easier than governing.
The dismal science reaches new depths as economists realize that there's ever more they don't know.12:00 AM, Oct 9, 2003 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
WE HAVE ALWAYS KNOWN that the views of economic forecasters are best taken with a barrel of salt. Now it turns out that not only don't economists have a clear view as to where the economy is headed, they can't even tell with any accuracy where it's been.
In Britain, analysts were shocked when the Office of National Statistics (ONS) decided that the economy has been growing twice as fast as it previously thought.
There may not exist any military checks to American power, but the markets are doing their part to rein in our foreign policy.12:00 AM, Oct 2, 2003 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
THE AMERICAN ECONOMY seems bedeviled by twin towers. The terrorist destruction of the World Trade Center has left a residue of homeland security costs that will be a drag on the economy for years to come. Then there are those financial twin towers--the trade and budget deficits--that have caused a periodic outbreak of nervousness among policymakers for decades.
Now we have a new pair of threats, the towering pile of U.S.
Europeans on why they like working less.12:00 AM, Sep 29, 2003 • By
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Irwin M. Stelzer's European Holiday is long overdue. I am tired of reading snide comments in the New York Times about the "quality of life" in Europe.
After the WTO talks broke down fingers were pointing every which way. Whose fault was it really? (And does the WTO have a future?)12:00 AM, Sep 23, 2003 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
THE HUNT for the assassins is on. With the corpse of the Cancun meeting of the World Trade Organization now moldering in its grave, those who hoped to push the round of trade-opening measures forward are accusing the usual suspects--and some unusual ones--of inflicting the death-dealing blows.
The usual suspects, agricultural protectionists in developed countries, profess their innocence.
Europeans wonder why Americans have it so good. The answer: We work hard for it while they take vacations.12:00 AM, Sep 16, 2003 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
ENVY IS A TERRIBLE THING. Not so much because it makes those whom it afflicts unhappy, or as myth has it, turn green, but because it dulls their analytical skills. At meeting after meeting, in university seminars and in think tanks around the world, envy of America distorts discussions of what accounts for the wealth of nations.
Europeans know that America's standard of living exceeds their own by a very substantial margin.
The economic consequences of the war.Sep 22, 2003, Vol. 9, No. 02 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION has learned something about the economic consequences of the war.
As the WTO begins an important series of meetings in Cancun, the European Union has its eye on blocking free trade.12:00 AM, Sep 9, 2003 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
AMERICA HAS China in its sights. Fortunately, it's a trade war and not a shooting war that is about to erupt. The Chinese rebuffed Treasury Secretary John Snow's efforts to get them to increase the value of their currency relative to the dollar.
A look at what the polls are telling us about confidence, the economy, and the White House futures market.8:00 AM, Sep 2, 2003 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
SOME THINGS were unchanged yesterday as, since 1894, we celebrated the holiday called Labor Day. Millions of hot dogs were grilled, and Democrats took to their soap boxes to proclaim their loyalty to the trade unions that provide the financial and logistical muscle on which they depend.
But the nature of the day off with families has changed a bit. Labor Day has become a holiday on which Americans relax with their families and their cell phones, Blackberries, PDAs, and other devices that allow them to be in touch with their offices 24/7.
From the September 1 / September 8, 2003 issue: Fixing the grid requires tradeoffs Americans may not want to make.Sep 1, 2003, Vol. 8, No. 48 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
THE SCRAMBLE IS ON. Politicians who have spent decades watching our vulnerability to power outages greeted the recent massive blackout with the plaintive cry, "If only you'd listened to me . .
Greenspan and Bush are getting beaten up for fixing the economy. Will they get credit when it counts?12:00 AM, Aug 19, 2003 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
A FUNNY THING happened on the way to our economic recovery: The people who engineered it are coming under fire for alleged policy errors. Federal Reserve Board chairman Alan Greenspan should be garnering kudos for his management of monetary policy and President Bush should be hearing applause for his handling of fiscal policy. Instead, the applause is being drowned out by the hisses.
Start with the recovery itself. Corporate profits are rising, bringing corporate net income close to historic highs, and producing a rise in CEO confidence.
With a dicey economy and an approaching election, free-trade policies are on the chopping block.12:00 AM, Aug 12, 2003 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
FREE TRADE and free elections do not always coexist peacefully. In an economy in which workers find jobs hard to come by, employers find their pricing power sapped by foreign competition, and the 2004 election campaign is on fast-forward, free trade is likely to find itself among the badly wounded.
When the gaggle of Democratic candidates appeared before the AFL-CIO trade union conference last week, vying for the dollars and foot soldiers so important in the primary campaign, most promised to veto any new free trade agreements.