In this episode of the weekly Budget & Tax News podcast, managing editor and research fellow Jesse Hathaway talks with Cato Institute policy analyst Dan Ikenson about how international trade is not a scoreboard to measure a nation’s economic success against other countries, but the best way to improve the lives of everyday Americans, and everyday people all over the world.
A little more than a year ago, oil prices were above $100 a barrel. The national average for gasoline was in the $3.50 range. In late spring, oil was $60ish and the national average for gas was around $2.70. The price of a barrel of oil has plunged to $40 and below—yet, prices at the pump are just slightly less than they were when oil was almost double what it is today.
Everyone who owns a car, truck, tractor, quad bike, bobcat, forklift or other mobile machine is hoping that the fortune being wasted on green energy may produce just one real benefit – better batteries. We want batteries that are cheap, light weight, charge quickly with no losses, last forever and store a large quantity of energy. Nothing close is on the market yet.
Keynesians never seem to learn. Every time an economy slows down or reverses gears and “goes negative,” in terms of growth and employment, their only answer is a call for “aggregate demand” stimulus and more government spending manipulation.
Financial markets in the United States and around the world are all waiting with “bated breath” for when the Federal Reserve modifies its “easy money” policy and starts to raise interest rates. No one, however, asks a simple question: Why is the American central bank in the interest rate setting business?
Old fallacies never seem to die, they just fad away to reemerge once again later on. One such fallacy is that if there is significant unemployment and slow economic growth it must be due to not enough consumers’ spending in the economy, what Keynesian economists call a “failure of aggregate demand.”
You may not have noticed it when out buying things in the marketplace in the context of your personal budget, but according to the Wall Street Journal (April 24, 2015) the world is awash with too much stuff. We seemingly have too much of, well, almost everything: too many raw material commodities, too much capital, and too much labor. The world, claims the Journal, is suffering from global gluts.
Changing our country and its laws back to a manageable and sane state is more complicated than the average small-government advocate may think. One cannot simply look at the situation in black and white, right and wrong mindset. A longer term strategy must be established.
Thanks mainly to the shale revolution, oil production in the U.S. hit a 28-year high last month while imports were at their lowest levels since 1995. Consequently, prices have fallen 15% since June, and Saudi Arabia has cut production by 400,000 barrels a day — providing further evidence that OPEC no longer has the power to set prices.
Today, more than any time, arguably, since the Great Depression, the prospects for improved housing outcomes are dimming for both the American middle and working classes. Not only is ownership dropping to twenty-year lows, there is a growing gap between the amount of new housing being built and the growth of demand.
Ongoing effective economic experiments among the 50 states are sharpening, and definitive results will pour out in the real world, editorial and opinion fallacies to the contrary notwithstanding. That sharpening[…]