Texas governor unlikely small government champion

August 19, 2011

Rick Perry, the latest U.S. presidential hopeful, has said he wants to make the federal government "inconsequential". Yet as Texas governor he has presided over the creation of more government jobs per head of population than Washington.

U.S debt jubilee would not rev up growth

October 4, 2011

Good ends do not justify bad means. That philosophical observation applies to proposals for a big American debt jubilee which are now doing the rounds.

Campaign-mode Obama leaves economy to luck

January 11, 2012

After the August debt ceiling fight, the White House said it would focus on jobs. But recent initiatives look like vote-grabbing gimmicks. Politics makes meaningful action tough. Still, a hands-off approach could backfire if voters don't feel more warmth of recovery by November.

Obama’s appeal to 99 pct won’t sway a key minority

January 25, 2012

In his last State of the Union address before facing voters, the U.S. president outlined a radical agenda. He would tax millionaires more, target big banks and punish outsourcing. The ideas will resonate, but not with Republicans in Congress. They won’t let Obama accomplish much.

Renters need to flex muscle in U.S. housing debate

February 8, 2012

Though America’s mortgage system subsidizes homebuyers, its dysfunction has cost all taxpayers dearly. Few groups are pushing for change. But the nation’s 39 mln renters - often an afterthought in the discussion - ought to be up in arms. They might find unlikely allies, too.

Improving U.S. jobs trend favors old over young

March 9, 2012

A solid 227,000 jobs were added in February, with upward revisions for past months. In the last five years, people aged 55 and over have gained 3.6 mln jobs, while younger workers have lost 7.6 mln. The incentives of shrunken savings and funny money are doubly harming the young.

Dollars everywhere – so where’s the inflation?

March 16, 2012

U.S. consumer prices rose 0.4 pct in February, but that was mostly gasoline. Year-on-year, inflation is above the Fed’s 2 pct target but not by much. But money supply is going through the roof. Either inflation is on the way, or Milton Friedman should lose his Nobel prize.

Obama’s job creation hopes look fragile

May 4, 2012

The U.S. president can at last say he has overseen increased employment in the private sector. But the slowing pace of jobs growth and declining labor force participation could make for a tough sell in November’s elections. Obama will be hoping it’s a soft patch.

U.S. housing poised to boost economy

July 19, 2012

The latest data point suggests not, but a recovery looks under way - even if homebuilders are running ahead of the market. After dragging on GDP for five years, housing should boost output and jobs in coming quarters. That will give lawmakers room to change distorting policies.

Obama job adds match Bush, Clinton but not Reagan

September 7, 2012

Thirty months after the U.S. nadir, employment is a bit over 3 pct higher. That’s in line with the post-recession record of the last 2-1/2 presidents - but far short of Reagan’s 10 pct. The August picture was also mixed: both presidential hopefuls, and the Fed, get talking points.