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The New Deal and Recovery, Part 21: Happy Days

By   /  August 31, 2022  /  Editor's Pick, Investing  /  No Comments

By the start of 1948, there could no longer be any doubt: the Great Depression wasn’t coming back. Instead of collapsing at war’s end, as many feared it would, combined government and private spending (as measured by nominal Gross Domestic Product) hardly budged between 1945 and 1946, and started climbing again thereafter. Consequently, as we’ve […]

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Stop Lionizing Paul Volcker and Villainizing Arthur Burns

By   /  August 30, 2022  /  Editor's Pick, Investing  /  No Comments

In a recent Bloomberg column, former New York Fed President Bill Dudley echoes a conventional Fed narrative, contrasting Fed interest rate cycles under two supposedly distinct Chairmen. “Powell will need to find a way to persuade [markets] that he has no intention of behaving like Arthur Burns (the Fed chair who relented prematurely in the […]

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How Common Has Private Currency Been?

By   /  August 16, 2022  /  Editor's Pick, Investing  /  No Comments

Recently, an investment advisor and Bitcoin proponent tweeted the claim that “[f]or most of human history” the “[s]eparation of money and state was the norm, even if the state stamped their ruler’s face on the coin.” Some strong disagreement (and some strong support) followed the tweet. The most categorical criticism asserted: “Money is and always […]

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Is China a Threat to the Fed? A Critique of the Portman Report

By   /  August 15, 2022  /  Editor's Pick, Investing  /  No Comments

Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), the ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, released a new minority staff report on July 26 contending that, for more than a decade, China has made “a sustained effort . . . to gain  influence over the Federal Reserve,” and that the Fed has failed “to […]

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The New Deal and Recovery, Part 20, Appendix: The Fate of Rosie the Riveter

By   /  August 11, 2022  /  Editor's Pick, Investing  /  No Comments

In assessing the possibility that a severe downturn occurred at the end of WWII, I took issue with conventional wartime and postwar output statistics, while taking the period’s unemployment statistics at face value. In so doing I set aside a hypothesis that disputes the unemployment numbers themselves. According to it, large numbers of would-be wartime […]

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The New Deal and Recovery, Part 20, Coda: The Fate of Rosie the Riveter

By   /  August 11, 2022  /  Editor's Pick, Investing  /  No Comments

In assessing the possibility that a severe downturn occurred at the end of WWII, I took issue with conventional wartime and postwar output statistics, while taking the period’s unemployment statistics at face value. In so doing I set aside a hypothesis that disputes the unemployment numbers themselves. According to it, large numbers of would-be wartime […]

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The New Deal and Recovery, Part 20: The Phantom Depression

By   /  August 9, 2022  /  Editor's Pick, Investing  /  No Comments

It was supposed to be a debacle. As the Second World War drew to a close, the nation’s leading economists feared that, once the armed services demobilized, at least 8 million men and women, perhaps many more, would be unemployed. That meant an unemployment rate of 12 percent—almost as high as the rate before Hitler […]

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