The French Election: Macron-Good, Le Pen-Bad

L: We have a great friend who lives, along with his lovely wife, part of the time in the US and part in France. His short-line bio says, "J. Paul Horne is an Independent International Market Economist based in Alexandria, VA and Paris where he was chief international economist for Smith Barney for 24 years." I asked him to tell us how the French presidential election could affect the US economy. Here's what he wrote. JPHorne: International markets reacted positively to Emmanuel Macron’s coming first in the initial round of France’s presidential election on April 23. If today’s consensus that the “Republican front” of traditional parties will vote together to defeat Marine Le Pen, head o

Why Red & Blue See Taxes Differently

L: I find it fascinating (now that I'm over my election trauma) that Democrats and Republicans think of taxation in totally different ways. Jim and I agree that government and regulations have a place in society, and as a moderate Democrat, I can also agree that government-run programs are not a panacea and that excessive regulations ARE a problem. But, when it comes to taxes, we totally disagree on what "taxes are too high" means. Now that I've found a magic book, The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt, I at least have some insight into why this is true. [The following is just me channeling Dr. Haidt. And by the way, I have his permis

Be Ready for Weak GDP Data

The upcoming data report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis will likely report very weak GDP numbers for the first quarter--like less than

The Great American Jobs Machine

J: President Reagan used to refer to employment growth in the US as the "Great American Jobs Machine," especially in contrast with the generally weak gains in European employment that occurred at about the same time as the US recovery from the deep recession that ran from July 1981 to November 1982. During that time period in the US, the net increase in nonfarm payroll jobs from December 1982 to December 1983 was 3,458,000 and the subsequent 12-month period saw a gain of 3,880,000 such jobs. While the numbers are not so robust these days, we are still seeing big increases. In February 2017, there were 2,312,000 more nonfarm payroll jobs than there were one year earlier. The Job Openings a

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