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June 11, 2005
Blogging On Blogging
It's been a busy week for yours truly, so I've fallen quite behind on my favorite-blogs monitoring. (And responding to comments here as well.) Here are some things worth checking out, from the week past.
Andrew Samwick takes note the Council of Economic Advisor's' latest economic forecasts (GDP growth down, slightly, CPI inflation up, not so slightly, interest rates down nonetheless) and the Congressional Budget Office's latest Monthly Budget Review. He takes the narrowing of the deficit (primarily due to higher revenue growth) as "good news," but warns that we are in "the fat part of the business cycle," and there is still nothing that, to him, spells "spending discipline."
Speaking of Andrew, he takes issue with a statement by Gene Sperling (former economic advisor to Bill Clinton) suggesting that social security benefits are riskless. Victor at Dead Parrot Society objects too. In essence, social security formulas are tied to average wage growth, which is not, shall we say, deterministic. (Victor also reminds us of a related argument made awhile back by Alex Tabarrok.) Hurray for Andrew and Victor. This has long been one of my pet peeves, and is perhaps the most misleading argument made by opponents of social security privatization.
Kevin at Truck and Barter links to World Bank research on the relationship between trade and financial-market openness and poverty in developing countries. (It's inverted U-shaped -- at low levels, greater openness is associated with increases in poverty, but poverty falls beyond some threshold.) And Brad Delong takes a well-aimed shot at those who argue we would be better off by shooing away our competitors.
Calculated Risk heralds the arrival of the latest release of the Federal Reserve's Flow of Funds Accounts by bemoaning the fact that debt is at an all-time high. Of course, assets held by households and nonfarm businesses are at an all-time high too, and net worth increased in the household, nonfarm corporate, and nonfarm noncorporate sectors in the first quarter. (I know, I know: Bubble!) In a related post, Stumbling and Mumbling suggests that the Flow of Funds report indicates firms are still sitting on a lot cash:
... companies' net financial investment is still strongly positive - which is unusual by historic standards. That suggests firms (on balance) prefer to put cash in the bank rather than productive assets into shops and factories - which is hardly a vote of confidence in the US economy.
SS weighs in on the "C-word" (as in conundrum) too, linking to posts from Brad DeLong (channeling Plato) and from Barry Ritholz (who I can't seem to link to at the moment), laying the finger on the "carry trade."
The Prudent Investor has an interesting post on the Indian economy.
To be continued.
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