The Forever Surplus

Hard to say whether it’s Brexit or the Trump election or just the clock running out, but one of the good things that seems to have come out of all the recent shakeups is that pressure is mounting on Germany to do something about its persistent, huge, and growing current account surplus – specifically its…

The Minimum Wage Distraction

Via a link in a comment on one of Noah’s Facebook posts, I came across this very stupid article on the Minimum Wage by Kevin Drum. Not that it’s being stupid distinguishes it from most articles one reads about the minimum wage. As political issues go, minimum wage laws are among the most pointless to…

Look Who Doesn’t Like Free Trade

They said the Second World War ended. I can’t help but notice a certain, um, theme to this graphic: It’s graphic representation of the results of a Pew Survey of popular support for a free trade agreement with the United States in Europe. Notice how support is both strong and broad: nearly all member states…

A Question for Krugman

Like a lot of people, I’ve been interested in this "debate" Larry Summers and Ben Bernanke are having about secular stagnation – mostly because, like a lot of people, I don’t really know what "secular stagnation" means. Like a lot of economic debates, it’s hard to even know what they’re disagreeing on. Bernanke lays out…

Dollar Rising

The Washington Post notes that the dollar is hardening faster than at any time snce 1976. Scott Sumner and Paul Krugman are in a sort of debate about what it means. They seem to agree it’s bad, but to different degrees (though Sumner is coming around to Krugman’s point of view in the most recent…

The Big Picture, It’s in the Big Picture

Tyler Cowen has a column today asking a stupid question: Why is the Greek Government so Popular With Left-Wingers. Ask a stupid question, get a stupid answer: because they think it’s a vindication of the popular appeal of left-wing politics. The left has always had an embarassing (for them) popularity problem: for the side of…

Greece: is the solution obvious?

Again, to listen to the international media, everything in Europe is going rapidly in the toilet. There’s a meeting starting right now among European national finance ministers, and so far every statement they’ve made to the press before entering has been to stay hard on their previous line. Varoufakis says Greece has done "10 times…

The Great Rebalancing (Review)

I spent a good part of the weekend reading Michael Pettis’ The Great Rebalancing, and it’s the single most useful book on economics I’ve read in the past 5 years. The grain of salt with which you should take that judgement is, of course, huge since (a) I haven’t read that many Economics books and…

Who Just Blinked? Hard to Say

So, Varoufakis finally met with the two people who really matter – ECB Chief Mario Draghi and German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble – and to all outward appearances it blew up in his face. He left the meeting with Draghi in good spirits, telling everyone they’d had a meaningful converation, only for the ECB to…

Why They’ll Blink

As usual, the international media prefers panic to calm. Therefore, most analyses of the Greek situation you read openly speculate about Greece leaving (or being forced to leave) the Euro. It’s not that it’s completely out of the question; there’s a real danger to be sure. But my money (not literally, though – at least…