A Short History of Fed Rate Cuts

Testifying before the House Financial Services Committee last week, Fed Chair Jerome Powell hinted that the Federal Reserve may cut short-term interest rates when they meet again later this month. A rate cut wouldn’t be anything new in terms of history but it has been a long time since the Fed last lowered their short-term […]

If the Economy’s So Good, Why is GDP So Low?

There’s something missing in today’s so-called historically strong economy: blowout GDP numbers. During the last half of the past century, the Department of Commerce released some pretty impressive GDP reports. Here are the highest annual real GDP readings during each decade from 1950 until 2000: 8.7% (1950), 6.6% (1966), 5.6% (1973 and 1978), 7.3% (1984), […]

The Famous “Phillips Curve” to Predict Inflation Isn’t Working Like it Should

Cookies and milk. Keith and Nicole. Jay-Z and Beyonc?. There are certain relationships that just seem to last. In the world of economics, it’s unemployment and inflation. Way back in 1958, economist William Phillips made an interesting observation. It seemed as though when unemployment went down, inflation went up. The inverse relationship became known as […]

A Majority of Economists Think There Will Be a Recession By the 2020 Election

How’s the economy doing? Better than you might expect, and worse than you might have hoped, according to the National Association of Business Economics. According to the organization’s latest survey of 53 professional economic forecasters, the consensus is that the economy will continue to grow at a 2.6% pace in 2019, down from last year’s […]

S&P 500 Has Performed 35% Worse Under Trump Than Under Obama

So much for having the “best” stock market returns. During his first two years in office, Donald Trump regularly pointed to the stock market as proof of his leadership’s effectiveness. Experts may have shaken their heads, saying that stock values aren’t an accurate measure of the country’s economic performance. But they are popular with voters, […]

U.S. Tariff Deal with Mexico, Canada Is Also About Cutting Off China’s Steel

The U.S. has reached an agreement to drop steel and aluminum tariffs on the two countries in return for preventing Chinese steel from coming over their borders into the U.S. In a speech before the National Association of Realtors, President Trump said, “I’m pleased to announce that we’ve just reached an agreement with Canada and […]

“Debt Ceiling” May Become A Political Buzzword This Summer

Of all the economic missteps that can and do happen in the U.S.–prolonged major deficit spending, nonexistent budgets, unpredictable policies, tumultuous tariffs–the worst by far is the possibility of the government defaulting on its payments. But there’s an outside chance of that happening this fall if Congress cannot agree to raise the so-called “debt ceiling.” […]

5 Numbers to Watch to Spot the Next Recession

In June, economists will mark the 10th anniversary of the end of the Great Recession. But even as traumatic memories of that crisis recede, investors collectively have grown more jittery in anticipation of the next one. Market volatility has soared as relatively minor economic setbacks trigger frequent, dramatic selloffs. And over the past 12 months, […]