Archive for April 5th, 2017

For a sports fan like myself, this is a big time of year. The baseball season got under way this week. Golfs first major The Masters tees off on Thursday, April 6. And the NHL regular season ends on Sunday, April 9, with the puck dropping for the playoffs on April 12.
But as an economist, author and former college professor, do sports serve as a good tool to help people think about how the economy works?
Of course, professional sports are notable business endeavors. In 2015-16, the NHL took in $4.1 billion in revenue, and Major League Baseball nearly $10 billion last year. And…

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Today the national unemployment rate stands at only 4.7 percent. Initial weekly jobless claims are about 250,000, which is as low as they have been at any point this century. But this happy state of affairs will not last forever, and when the next recession arrives, it may do so quickly and without much warning. Now is the time to improve our defenses.
The last time recession struck, unemployment rose to 10 percent as millions were thrown out of work. For those individuals and families, the Great Recession was an emergency that threatened their economic security and undermined everything they…

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“North Korea launched yet another intermediate-range ballistic missile. The United States has spoken enough about North Korea. We have no further comment.”
–Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State
Yesterday the Quinnipiac Poll indicated that President Trump’s approval rating has dropped to 35%; that’s worse than almost every prior presidential approval rating and rivals President Bush’s low print when we were moving into The Great Recession. (Other polls have had similar outcomes — for example, The IBD/TIPP poll on Monday.)
The absence of any legislative victories to date coupled with…

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The FOMC minutes were clear that officials are contemplating beginning address the balance sheet, which is another sign of confidence in the normalization process.  However, beyond that, very little else is clear.  There does not appear to be much agreement yet on the pace or the scope of the adjustment.There are roughly 5 bln of US Treasuries that are maturing next year. The Fed also owns Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS).  Over the past 12 months, the Fed has reinvested about 0 bln of maturing MBS securities.  Officials have indicated a preference to return to an all-Treasury…

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Just in time for Tax Day comes a National Public Radio program on Joseph Bankman. In 2004, the Stanford tax professor ran a pilot program in California that vastly simplified tax filing. In “ReadyReturn,” the state sent out pre-filled returns for people to sign or revise. One participant gushed, “Finally government’s doing something to make my life better…” Encouraged, Bankman hired a lobbyist to incorporate ReadyReturn into the state’s tax code. Even though many other countries use a similar system, his plan was defeated by groups that profiteer from government-mandated tax-filing misery….

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Internet billionaire and aspiring rocket man Jeff Bezos said he sells $1 billion a year in Amazon.com Inc. stock to fund Blue Origin LLC, the company fueling his dream of sending people into space.

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<p>Both Airbus&nbsp;and Boeing now offer aircraft that appear capable of flying non-stop commercial flights from Sydney to London - the "Holy Grail" for Australian carrier Qantas Airways Ltd </p>

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<p>Stocks erased earlier gains to close lower Wednesday after the Federal Reserve released the minutes from its March meeting.</p>

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Federal Reserve officials last month struggled to come to grips with two big uncertainties facing the U.S. economy.

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Most Federal Reserve policymakers think the central bank should take steps to begin trimming its $4.5 trillion balance sheet later this year as long as the economic data holds up, minutes from their last meeting showed. The minutes released on Wednesday of the March 14-15 policy discussion, at which the Fed voted 9-1 to raise interest rates, also showed that the rate-setting committee had a broad discussion about whether to phase out or halt reinvestments all at once.

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Pepsi announced Wednesday it is pulling an ad just one day after it originally debuted. The beverage giant said it was removing the advertisement, which featured the model Kendall Jenner attending a protest, and halting further rollout of the campaign.

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The retail apocalypse has descended on America.&nbsp;

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U.S. stocks opened higher Wednesday as investors parsed through solid employment data ahead of the release of Federal Reserve minutes.

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Companies added workers to U.S. payrolls in March at the fastest pace since December 2014 on solid gains in construction and manufacturing and at small businesses, data from the ADP Research Institute in Roseland, New Jersey, showed Wednesday.

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JAB is expanding its empire of coffee-related brands with the acquisition of publicly traded Panera in a deal worth more than $7 billion.&nbsp;

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