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Category Archives: Economy

Recession Ready: Fiscal Policies to Stabilize the American Economy

This volume [256 pages] —a joint project by The Hamilton Project and the Washington Center for Equitable Growth—focuses on the workhorse antirecession programs known as “automatic stabilizers.”

“The Great Recession is remembered, and properly so, for its massive destruction of household wealth and job losses that reached over 800,000 in a single month. In just the fourth quarter of 2008, real GDP fell at an annual rate of 8.4 percent, while economies across the world were savaged by problems as bad as or worse than our own. Remembered too are the scars left by the economy’s punishing decline: an uneven recovery, many workers who remain disconnected from the job market, an increased debt level, and permanent losses in GDP.  We should also recall how bold and decisive policy actions quickly stopped and reversed the decline. Thanks to a massive countercyclical fiscal stimulus, unprecedented Federal Reserve monetary policy actions, and bold steps to stabilize the financial system, GDP resumed growing in the 3rd quarter of 2009 and rose vigorously in the 4th. Economists estimate that, by 2011, real GDP was 16 percent higher and unemployment was almost seven percentage points lower than they would have been had such firepower not been deployed.

The economic expansion that started almost ten years ago continues to this day.  Policymakers should know that the “stimulus,” derided as an “8-letter word” in the overheated political debates at the time, worked; though not every program performed equally well. So, they should examine the findings of mainstream economists who have documented the effectiveness and limitations of the policies which steered our economy away from the abyss.  Recessions are inevitable. Policymakers who might rely on Federal Reserve policy as the lone response to recession should think again; we know that fiscal stimulus is effective. Furthermore, economic conditions have changed; were the U.S. economy to fall into recession in this current low interest rate environment, the Fed’s monetary policy options would be far more limited than they were in 2009, and a higher debt level could complicate the use of discretionary stimulus. Consequently, policymakers should learn about proposals to help the next recovery start faster, make job creation stronger, and restore confidence to businesses and households so they resume investing and spending again. Enacting these proposals in fully reasoned detail before the next recession strikes will help us avoid the delays and risks associated with writing stimulus legislation in the middle of a meltdown…”

House Intel Committee releases transcripts of Michael Cohen’s 2 day closed-door testimony

Cohen’s February 2019 testimony can be found here. Cohen’s March 2019 testimony can be found here. [May 20, 2019], the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence voted to release Michael Cohen’s testimony and related exhibits to the public by a vote of 12 – 7. Afterwards, Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) made the following statement: “With… Continue Reading

OPM-GSA merger plan detailed in legislative proposal – vests power over personnel service in presidential appointee

FCW.com: “The White House is proposing legislation for a dramatic overhaul of human resources inside the government and wants $50 million to execute the plan. The administration is looking to move the Office of Personnel Management’s functions and resources to a service inside the General Service Administration, alongside real estate management and acquisition. A new… Continue Reading

What happened to the MSPB?

U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board Congressional Budget Justification FY 2020: “Over the last year, the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB or Board) has worked to improve the effectiveness and long-term impact of its missions function in response to the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) memorandum M-17-22, “Comprehensive Plan for Reforming the Federal Government… Continue Reading

This economics journal only publishes results that are no big deal

Vox – Most new publications, upon their launch, seek to promote their content as novel, surprising, exciting. A new journal that began publishing this week does … the opposite of that. “Start with the name: Series of Unsurprising Results in Economics (SURE). The journal publishes papers with findings that are, well, really boring — so… Continue Reading

The 2019 Fortune 500 List: The Prize of Size

From industry dominating mergers to legacy second-acts, the world’s highest-revenue-generating companies make moves that reverberate. – Consider this fact: Just 500 companies—the ones on this year’s ­Fortune 500 list, to be precise—produced enough revenue last year to equal two-thirds of the entire economic output of the United States. Think about that a minute: just 500… Continue Reading

Office of Government Ethics releases Trump’s 2018 financial disclosure

Axios – The Office of Government Ethics has released President Trump’s 2018 financial disclosure form, shedding light into how much money he made in the second full year of his presidency. [the full text document is embedded in this article] “Quick take: Income at Trump’s D.C. golf club was up $500,000 to about $13.3 million,… Continue Reading

Auditing for Bias in Resume Search Engines

Investigating the Impact of Gender on Rank in Resume by Le Chen, Ruijun Ma, Anikó Hannák and Christo Wilson “In this work we investigate gender-based inequalities in the context of resume search engines, which are tools that allow recruiters to proactively search for candidates based on keywords and filters. If these ranking algorithms take demographic features into account… Continue Reading

BEA International Trade and Investment Country Facts

“A new data tool–International Trade and Investment Country Facts Application–on the Bureau of Economic Analysis website gives users a snapshot of statistics on trade and investment between the United States and another country by simply clicking on a world map. These fast facts at your fingertips can include: Total exports, imports and trade balance between… Continue Reading

Australia’s central bank takes ‘responsibilty’ for note typo

Reuters – “Millions of A$50 ($35) banknotes in Australia have an embarrassing typographical error that was overlooked by the country’s central bank before they were printed and circulated. The goof first became known on Thursday when a listener on radio outlet Triple M sent the station a magnified photo of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s… Continue Reading

Maryland and Virginia are among nation’s best states

US News Best States Rankings – Measuring outcomes for citizens using more than 70 metrics – “Some states shine in health care. Some soar in education. Some excel in both – or in much more. The Best States ranking of U.S. states draws on thousands of data points to measure how well states are performing for… Continue Reading