Commentaries

Who’s afraid of deflation?

August 24, 2009

christopher_swann1.jpgFor most policymakers, deflation is the stuff of nightmares — scarier even than bank failures and stock market collapses. As the economy stumbled, deflation became Lords Voldemort and Sauron rolled into one.

The government’s foreclosure flop

August 12, 2009

The Obama administration has attacked the problem of rising home foreclosures with a humanitarian zeal. Their program — the most ambitious in generations — was intended to save up to four million people from being thrown out of their homes.

Bernanke: Back to Clark Kent

August 11, 2009

Having averted a disaster, cartoon superheroes typically revert to their bland civilian identities. With the recession loosening its grip, Ben Bernanke is trying a similar trick.

from Rolfe Winkler:

Beware the government’s job figures

August 8, 2009

In a phone conversation yesterday, John Williams at Shadow Government Statistics warned me not to read too much good news from the better-than-expected jobs figure.  The government's seasonal adjustments aren't, well, adjusting properly.  They're still keying off "typical" fluctuations in employment.  But of course today's economic climate is anything but typical.  Yesterday the official unemployment rate ticked down a tenth of a percent to 9.4%, but according to Williams it should have ticked up a tenth of a percent to 9.6%.

Bracing for a glut of leisure time

August 6, 2009

The United States has been labeled “no vacation nation.” Americans are notoriously diligent compared with citizens of other rich nations — putting in long hours and often not even using the skimpy vacations to which they are entitled.

Can good numbers be bad news?

July 31, 2009

Barring any unexpected stumbles, and revisions aside, today will be the last time this year that Americans are told their economy is shrinking.

The danger of a lost generation

July 24, 2009

– Christopher Swann is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own —

L-shaped housing market?

July 16, 2009

Economists seem willing to celebrate even the most tepid economic release these days. The National Association of Homebuilders’ Housing Market Index nudged up slightly to 17 in July, up from 15. Most economists had expected 16, so this is what passes for good news.

Gloomy employment milestones

July 2, 2009

There is normally something for both optimists and pessimists in the monthly employment report.