Don’t do it: Manufacturing budget problems in St. Paul

Source: Flikr Creative Commons Stop me if you've heard this one: a state has a budget surplus, so the legislature and the governor strike a deal to cut tax rates permanently and increase spending permanently.  Things don't turn out as well as the forecasts predict and the state finds itself with large budget deficits in a few short years. These are the outlines of the budget deal starting to … [Read more...]

Inflation! Debasement! April edition

Hyperinflation-era German currency Source: Flikr Creative Commons It’s time to check in on inflation!  and debasement! This is the certainty, expressed by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, that no matter what the data tell us, accelerating inflation and a depreciating currency are just around the corner.  Here are the new readings for April 2016: Inflation: steady as she goes.  Prices overall … [Read more...]

Luck, soft skills, and human capital

Source: Flikr Creative Commons Imagine growing up in the 1960s with two college-educated parents, surrounded by other kids whose parents also went to college and whose family incomes were above the national average. That was me: I grew up in Deephaven, Minnesota, in the 1960s and 1970s. I went to good schools and had excellent health care. I learned manners, patience, and a variety of … [Read more...]