Tuesday , June 25 2019
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Jared Bernstein: On the economy

Three observations about current monetary policy (the last one is the most important)

If you follow such things, you know that earlier this week, the U.S. central bank shifted its bias from patient waiting to a bias toward rate cuts. Here are three observations about this moment in monetary policy. 1. The market reaction has been interesting as bond yields have tanked while equity prices have climbed. Such a dynamic is not a mystery, as both movements reflect a dovish turn by both the U.S. Fed and the European Central Bank. Also, as has been the case throughout the expansion,...

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Should they cut or should they hold?

Should they cut or should they hold?If they cut there will be trouble.If they pause it will be double.Tell me quick, I want to know.Should they cut or should they hold!? Pretty much everything has been said about whether the Fed should take out an insurance cut in the fed funds rate when their FOMC meeting concludes tomorrow afternoon. But not everyone’s had a chance to say it. So, I’ll briefly weigh in. My punchline: There are good arguments on both sides, but I’d hold for this meeting and...

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Un- vs. Under- (K. Bryant in the house!)

[My CBPP/Full-employment-project colleague Kathleen Bryant has a new paper coming out next week with Dartmouth econ professor Danny Blanchflower (et al) on measures of labor market slack and their correlation with wage growth. A key focus of the paper involves the underemployment rate, and since we learned today that u6 hit a cyclical low last month, I asked Kathleen to dash off a note to get folks ready for the paper’s release By Kathleen Bryant: Today’s jobs report showed that the U6 rate...

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Headwinds in the job market? Payroll gains slow and wages fail to accelerate

Payrolls were up 75,000 last month, less than half of what was expected, though the unemployment rate held steady at its 50-year low of 3.6 percent. Despite the low jobless rate, wage growth failed to accelerate, and has been stuck around 3 percent for a few months now. Downward revision shaved 75,000 jobs off of payrolls over the previous two months and our smoother, below, shows a mild deceleration in the pace job gains. All told, it’s a weaker jobs report than we’ve become used to seeing,...

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Trump and the Mexican tariffs: How far is this administration willing to go to achieve their protectionist, anti-humanitarian goals? Maybe farther than we thought.

As you know if you’ve looked at any morning paper, the Trump administration has proposed an escalating tariff on all imports from Mexico, starting at 5 percent on June 10th and rising by five percentage points each month until it reaches 25 percent. The tariffs are intended to force Mexico to take actions to reduce the flow of migrants into the U.S. Trump said the tariffs will remain in place until Mexico “substantially stops the illegal inflow of aliens coming through its territory.” Here’s...

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The Trump administration’s proposed “update” to the poverty threshold is a wolf in sheep’s clothing

The Trump administration’s proposal to change the way the poverty line is annually adjusted for inflation is the policy equivalent of a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Sounds technical and weedy, but a new paper by CBPP’s Aviva Aron-Dine and Matt Broaddus shows just how damaging the change will be for the health coverage and benefits of millions of low- and moderate-income people. (An earlier CBPP report focused on other forms of assistance that would be less accessible under the change.) Because...

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Pushing back gently but firmly on Michael Strain’s non-stagnation argument

A few folks have asked me about my friend Michael Strain’s recent Bloomberg piece where he argues against wage stagnation (it’s “more wrong than right”). It’s an old argument but one worth having, and Michael makes some important points and misses some big ones too (5, to be precise). Larry Mishel and I counter a much shorter-term version of Michael’s case here but similar issues pertain. Certainly, the evidence he presents doesn’t change the basic wage story that I and many others carry...

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Jobs report: no one wants to be incautious re inflation, but…Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Payrolls rose by a larger-than-expected 263,000 last month and unemployment rate ticked down to a 49-year low of 3.6 percent. Yearly wage growth held steady at 3.2 percent, which is also its average over the past 12 months (raising the question: are wage gains on pause?). Since consumer inflation is running at around 2 percent, this implies real wage gains of a bit more than 1 percent, a welcome development for workers who are clearly benefiting from the persistently tight job market (see...

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Sen. Warren’s debt cancellation plan: Should progressive policy aim for narrow targets or structural change?

Introduction Sen. Warren’s college debt cancellation plan, which I explain here, has gotten a mixed reception. While many progressives and, predictably, student debt holders give it high praise, it has taken flak from two broad groups: those who just don’t like cancelling debt and those who view it as insufficiently progressive. The latter group objects to the extent to which it helps higher income debtholders who, in their view, don’t need the help relative to those with lower incomes. Their...

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It takes two to tango: The complementarity of the derigging project and expanded tax credits.

In a hearing last week, an exchange between Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) and JPMorgan’s CEO Jamie Dimon caught my eye. Dimon was touting the bank’s new minimum wage of $16.50, increasing to $18 in high-cost areas, for entry level workers. That’s a decent minimum wage, above the $15 that most progressive plans call for (and those proposals typically include a phase-in of numerous years). According to recent EPI analysis, $16.50 is well north of the national 40th percentile wage of just under $15....

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