In his latest article for CBSMoneywatch TCF fellow Mark Thoma describes how the Federal Reserve Board has a problem with communication strategies, specifically when it comes to telling companies and consumers when borrowing costs are likely to rise and at how fast.
However, if markets are fairly certain rates will go up based on Fed communications, and rates end up staying unchanged, that's a much bigger surprise than if investors knew the chance was 50-50.
The result is quite general, and the point is quite simple: If the Fed is split, say, 60 percent to 40 percent on a rate increase, markets will, on average, be less surprised the more precisely they know these chances. A false, unified front from the Fed is counterproductive.
Read Mark Thoma's CBSMoneywatch piece on Fed communications.
Joe Nocera of the New York Times wrote about Donald Trump's latest tax plan that he announced Monday. Nocera spoke with TCF fellow Edward Kleinbard to get his thoughts on Trump's intentions to tax foreign profits earned by American companies. Kleinbard responded, saying:
His tax plan, at least, is not completely irrational. Then again, "a broken clock is right twice a day," as Edward Kleinbard, a law professor and tax expert at the University of Southern California's Gould School of Law, puts it.
Check out Nocera's article on Trump's policy platform
On Monday night, Republican primary presidental candidate Donald Trump announced his third installment of policy plans, this time in the form of a tax plan. Time magazine journalist Rana Foroohar outlines Trump's plan to reinvigorate profits from corporate America by taxing overseas profits. Despite Trump's hope that this increased return will be used to create additional jobs, many economists say it's not so simple. TCF's Edward Kleinbard responds:
The problem is that companies can easily get around such provisions by putting foreign dollars in an account labeled “business development” or some such and then using pre-existing U.S. funds to do the buybacks. “Money is fungible, and it’s very easy for multinational companies to find ways around these rules,” says USC law professor Edward Kleinbard.
Check out the Time article and learn about Trump's plan.
TCF fellow Edward Kleinbard's latest book release, We Are Better Than This: How Government Should Spend Our Money, has received widespread praise from reviewers. The prestigious National Tax Journal published a very positive review in its September 2015 issue, claiming that the book, "clearly makes a major contribution to public political discourse regarding inequality and the role of government." The reivew goes on to name Kleinbard's book:
"...a tour de force, lucidly explaining a broad range of fiscal, economic, and moral issues in a way that both enriches and informs public discourse. It deserves to be both widely-read and influential."
Read Daniel Shaviro's review here.
And read more about purchasing and further review of the book here.
Measuring the economic success of the U.S. is no longer as simple as using the terms gross domestic product (GDP) and gross domestic income (GDI). TCF fellow Mark Thoma explains how there are two new measurements which include gross domestic output (GDO) which is the average of GDP and GDI and GDPplus which is an optimally weighted combination of GDP and GDI, with weights that are allowed to evolve over time. Thoma suggests that:
"...the best approach to characterizing how well the economy is performing at a moment in time, and how well it's likely to do in the future, is to use a measure such as GDPplus in combination with other windows into the state of the economy such as the unemployment rate, industrial production, consumption, investment and so on."
Read Thoma's full article from CBS News.
CBS's MoneyWatch is closely monitoring the interest rates set by the Fed and is eager to see what will happen at the September meeting of the Federal Reserve. TCF fellow Mark Thoma explains that if the rates are increased too soon, job market might remain below the full employment level for much longer than if rates remained low, but if raised too late, there is the fear of inflation.
"Yet with interest rates already as low as they can go, this mechanism is broken, and the consequence is a level of aggregate demand that is insufficient to support full employment. In such a situation, the last thing you want to do is raise interest rates and make the situation worse," says Thoma.
Read the rest of Thoma's interest rate predictions from CBS Moneywatch.
In recent decades, and especially since 2000, the richest Americans have enjoyed soaring income and wealth while the rest of the population's living standards have stagnated. The Century Foundation was one of the first institutions to raise serious concerns about these trends and propose ideas for improving economic conditions for all Americans- not just the fortunate few.
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