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On the Trump tax proposal at the Rick Smith Show

Got disconnected at the end. Link here.
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Trumponomics looks more and more like Voodoo Economics

Posting has been slow. Last weeks of classes and too many things to do. At any rate, this is the tax plan (below Trump's, above Laffer's infamous napkin plan; no big difference though).
Nothing much to say. It's vague, as his campaign promises. The only certain thing is lower taxes for the wealthy. As I noted before, there is no big stimulus in his budget (the big infrastructure spending he promised), and most of the stimulus comes from tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy (which shouldn't do much for the economy, other than increase inequality).

Trumponomics: Neocon-Neoliberalism Camouflaged with Anti-Globalization Circus

By Thomas Palley

A key element of Trump’s political success has been his masquerade of being pro-worker, which includes posturing as anti-globalization. However, his true economic interest is the exact opposite. That creates conflict between Trump’s political and economic interests. Understanding the calculus of that conflict is critical for understanding and predicting Trump’s economic policy, especially his international economic policy

As part of maintaining his pro-worker masquerade, Trump will engage in an anti-globalization circus, but the bark will be worse than the bite because neoliberal globalization has increased corporate profits, in line with his economic interests.

Read rest here.

Ricardo's Principles turns 200!

On Saturday, April 19th 1817 , David Ricardo published The Principles of Political Economy and Taxation (price was 14s, and 700 copies were printed; later editions had 1000 copies each; my copy above is of the 3rd and definite edition published in 1821, and had at least two previous owners, a college and someone in Philly that signed it in 1901). Most comments on the book tend to emphasize things like rent theory and comparative advantage, but those are not central to the main point of the book (the Wikipedia entry is specially bad). The central question in the book, which follows Ricardo's Corn Essay of 1815 (An Essay On the Influence of a Low Price of Corn on the Profits of the Stock), is that there is an inverse relation between wages and profits, and, distribution is conflictive. That is the essence of the Ricardian theory, and the reason why Marx was a Ricardian, not a minor one as suggested by Samuelson though.

The inverse relation between wages and profits is what led Rica…

Central Bank Independency

Nothing much to say about this really. I don't think I discussed it much here, but I'm certainly skeptical. I don't see why fiscal policy, which is discussed in congress and is an eminently political affair (budgets are negotiated between the executive and the parties in the legislative in most countries), should be different than monetary policy in this respect. But at any rate, the Lacker affair reveals how much the Fed is not independent from the financial sector, and that should be more troublesome than the lack of independence from the executive.

It's a bit of old news, but I've been thinking about it, both because of the new configuration of the Fed will have an impact on monetary policy, and also, since I'm teaching this course on central banking history. Btw, Jeffrey Lacker, passed confidential information to Medley Global Advisors, a research firm, and was essentially forced to resign. His successor, as per Fed rules, will be chosen by the board of di…

Economic Regularities and "Laws" and the Riksbank Prize too

I've been reading The Nobel Factor: The Prize in Economics, Social Democracy, and the Market Turn by Avner Offer, Gabriel Söderberg, an interesting critique of the use of the Nobel Prize to undermine the Welfare State, essentially by conservative groups in Sweden, that were influential within the Central Bank (Riksbank), that disliked the Social Democratic policies in place in the 1960s. I have been critical of the Riksbank prize before (see, for example, here or here; check also Lars Syll's blog who often discusses the limits to the Nobel in economics), and this book is an interesting discussion of the socio-political forces behind the creation of the prize. I highly recommend it.

Having said that, I should note that the alternative to mainstream marginalist (neoclassical) economics is not Social Democracy. I guess one can actually be Social Democratic (Liberal in the US  New Deal sense of the word) and neoclassical. A good chunk of the Old Keynesians of the Neoclassical Syn…