Monday, May 23, 2011

Monday Morning Links

1. Interactive Chart of Public Debt by Country (HT: CME Group)  

2. Baltimore food trucks should be allowed to compete: It's unfair for the city of Baltimore to protect brick-and-mortar restaurants at the expense of food trucks. 

3. Amazing photos of extraordinary homemade dams.  

4. Oil and natural gas industry contributes $1 trillion (7.7% of GDP) and 9.2 million jobs (5.3% of total jobs) to the U.S. economy.

5. Christina Romer's plain, adult talk on the U.S. dollar

6. Don't Sweat "Soft Patch II": In a few months we will be looking back at recent reports as just statistical noise.

23 Comments:

At 5/23/2011 10:19 AM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

RE "Amazing photos of extraordinary homemade dams."

I doubt the owners had the necessary permits or the zoning to build dams. Just kidding (I hope) -- way to go hard working homeowners.

 
At 5/23/2011 10:32 AM, Blogger Rufus II said...

Around here, in the last part of Feb it was like someone had just "turned off the switch."

That was about the time gasoline prices went over $3.50/gal.

How many times will we "kick at this football" before we wake up?

 
At 5/23/2011 10:46 AM, Blogger Rich B said...

#5. Some adult talk but some infantile Dem boilerplate like:

"This example describes conditions in the early 1980s, when President Ronald Reagan’s tax cuts and military buildup led to large deficits. Those deficits, along with the anti-inflationary policies of the Fed, where Paul A. Volcker was then the chairman, led to high American interest rates. The dollar was very strong in this period."

Seems to me that nominal interest rates were very high when Reagan came in, and real interest rates were high as inflation subsided. It took some time for real rates to come down. The economy was also much stronger after the severe recessions of the early 80's.

 
At 5/23/2011 10:58 AM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Romer is right on. The dollar should enhance trade and exports. A strong dollar does not do that.

 
At 5/23/2011 11:19 AM, Blogger Benjamin said...

I am always surprised that people in the USA in flood plains do not built on stilts. I guess they get federally provided flood insurance etc.

 
At 5/23/2011 11:39 AM, Blogger Che is dead said...

Rich,

You are exactly right. Interest rates were very high when Reagan took office and declined during his term. There's also this piece of liberal nonsense - "President Ronald Reagan’s tax cuts and military buildup led to large deficits." The fact is that the lower tax rates enacted by Reagan and the resulting increase in economic growth led to an INCREASE in tax revenue. Leftists believe that if they repeat that "lower tax rates result in larger deficits" over and over again the public will ultimately come to associate one with the other.

 
At 5/23/2011 12:13 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"... brilliant American innovation and troublesome American budget deficits — caused the dollar to strengthen."

By this argument we should currently have the strongest currency on Earth.

"... that one way any monetary expansion helps a distressed economy is by weakening the dollar."

Two or three paragraphs ago it was the market that determined the "price" of the dollar now it's "monetary expansion".

"... trimming our budget deficit ... would also weaken the dollar. And that, in turn, would blunt the negative impact of deficit reduction on employment and output ..."

If the governments fiscal situation is addressed by cutting spending - as opposed to raising taxes - there will be no "negative impact to employment and output" as the dollars previously extracted from the economy by the government are instead left in the private sector where they will be more effectively allocated toward wealth creating economic activity.

 
At 5/23/2011 12:22 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Volcker choked off inflation through tight money. It was the right policy at that time, as inflation was high.

The Reagan Administration ran big deficits, the wrong policy.

Oddly enough, Nixon had tried to fight inflation through wage and price controls. It was Carter who appointed Volcker.

 
At 5/23/2011 12:35 PM, Blogger Walt G. said...

I don't think mobile food trucks have a problem until they stop. When they stop, chances are, they are either on someone else's property or on public property.

So the question becomes, how much autonomy does a business have when they are on someone else's property? It seems like the only way mobile food vendors can sell food is if they are on someone else's property. Is there any way to increase mobile food vendors' access without restricting someone else's property rights?

Does legal parking access mean I can pull my car up to the curb and sell watches out of my trunk behind the food vendor? If not, why if they can? Shouldn't my customers have the same access as someone who wants to eat lunch? Don't I have the same "right" to make a living as a mobile food vendor or jewelry shop owner?

 
At 5/23/2011 1:47 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Right on, Rich and Dead Che. I wonder if Chrissy Romer is intentionally avoiding explicitly differentiating between a high nominal interest rate and a high real interest rate.

Gotta love her "full employment" mantra. Give everybody a bat or go to war and *presto* - full employment.

There's nothing magical about employment. What's magical is prosperity and you can't inflate, debase your currency and central play your way to that. If you don't believe me, ask Zimbabwe.

"STRANGELY, every politician seems to understand that it would be desirable for the dollar to weaken against one particular currency"

Why is that strange? We've known for a long time that politicians (with a few exceptions) are economic illiterates. Unfortunately, it seems some of our economists are too.

"The United States would export more and grow faster if China allowed the dollar’s price to fall."

Is that so? I export literally nothing to Whole Foods. My trade deficit with that retailer is enormous. My trade deficit with Oscar de la Renta is even bigger. Yet, I'm richer for these imports into my household and I grow richer still every year. Maybe a respected economist should be expected to understand why that is. This mercantilist rubbish is the flat earthism of economics.

 
At 5/23/2011 1:48 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

"centrally plan", that is.

 
At 5/23/2011 1:51 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

When they stop, chances are, they are either on someone else's property or on public property.

Key's right there in your sentence. If they're in public property, then they're technically on property they've paid for with their tax dollars. Why shouldn't you (out of the trunk of your car) and they (out of their truck) be able to sell?

 
At 5/23/2011 2:00 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

" Key's right there in your sentence. If they're in public property, then they're technically on property they've paid for with their tax dollars. Why shouldn't you (out of the trunk of your car) and they (out of their truck) be able to sell?"

well.. could you set up a food truck at the public library or schools or the interstate highways because you "paid taxes"?

 
At 5/23/2011 2:26 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Why not, Larry?

 
At 5/23/2011 2:28 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

I think we need a Constitutional amendment to legalize all vending on public property, for push-cart vendors, food trucks, prostitution, recreational drug dealers, jitney drivers etc. People should have the right to make a living.
Funny how "libertarians" turn a blind eye to this.

 
At 5/23/2011 2:32 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

re" why not"

I'm not advocating in favor or opposition per set but basically asking if we should/could/would allow food vendors to set up on the interstates (or other infrastructure or facility provide through tax dollars)?

call me skeptical.. but I don't see vendors of ANY kind setting up shop on Interstates.

so my question is why? why not?

and my premise is that if you can define a criteria that would prohibit it ... then that pretty much establishes the premise that it can be denied - for cause.

no?

 
At 5/23/2011 2:54 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Larry, if you can't figure out why a food truck probably won't park in the middle of an interstate, I don't think I can help you.

 
At 5/23/2011 3:18 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

they don't park there because they would be arrested...

the issue is ...why is there a law against it

.. and if there is a law against it...then what is the basis of that law and can that same basis apply to streets in towns and other publically-provided infrastructure.

goes back to that tension between libertarian wants and governmental needs, eh?

 
At 5/23/2011 3:28 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

Just FYI - I'm pretty sure that FHWA has a rule against public vendors in the interstate rest areas and if not mistaken, the rationale is that the rest area is a taxpayer-facility.

In some places like Maryland they have Plazas where the businesses bid for the opportunity to set up shop.

I'm pretty sure that food trucks who did not pay for their spots would be run off forthwith.

In Va, rest areas were closed down for budget reasons and many folks advocated opening them back up by letting vendors bid but FHWA won't generally allow it - at least in Virginia.

 
At 5/23/2011 4:15 PM, Blogger juandos said...

pseudo benny is still babbling on foolishly and Romer still has no credibility

 
At 5/23/2011 4:36 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

they don't park there because they would be arrested...

Really, Larry? You really think the reason people don't park in the middle of a highway is because they'll be arrested? That's the deterrent? You don''t think that maybe getting run over by a semi would be even more of a deterrent? I bet if you think about it long enough you can come up with a few other good reasons.

 
At 5/23/2011 4:59 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

I think the reason they don't set up food trucks on the shoulders and rest areas - in addition to any other areas is that they would be arrested.

The charges would vary of course according to how moronic their behavior... sorta like here.

 
At 5/23/2011 5:14 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Yet, I'm richer for these imports into my household and I grow richer still every year. Maybe a respected economist" should be expected to understand why that is. This mercantilist rubbish is the flat earthism of economics."

And, I suspect that respected economists do understand.

 

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