ChrisWeigant.com

Archive of Articles in the "Economics" Category

Friday Talking Points [426] -- Who To Believe?

[ Posted Friday, February 24th, 2017 – 18:29 PST ]

That question is becoming more and more acute for the rest of the world, in reference to President Donald Trump versus the rest of the Trump administration. If you were the foreign minister from a country in Europe, for example, would you believe what Trump says about American policy towards Europe and Russia, or would you believe his minions, such as the Vice President Mike Pence or Secretary of State Rex Tillerson? This dilemma could become a sort of low-level ongoing crisis, since Trump's comments are so far removed from what others in his administration are saying. Who are you going to believe? The boss, or the underling who is making much more sense? That's a pretty risky geopolitical gamble to make, no matter which side you choose to believe.

Read Complete Article »

Don't Try To Co-opt Indivisible Movement, Fulfill It

[ Posted Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 – 18:29 PST ]

There are two things currently happening in the world of Democratic and progressive politics, which are happening independently of each other, for the most part. This weekend, the Democratic National Committee will meet to elect a new chair. Meanwhile, out in the hinterlands, the progressive wave of energy and resistance to Donald Trump and his agenda shows no signs of abating. But I would extend a word of caution to whomever becomes the next D.N.C. chair: Don't attempt to corral or co-opt the burgeoning Indivisible movement -- instead, just do your damnedest to fulfill their expectations.

Read Complete Article »

Rocky Starts In Presidential History

[ Posted Monday, February 20th, 2017 – 18:52 PST ]

Since it is Presidents' Day (or whatever else you call today, apostrophized or not), I thought I'd take it easy on our current president, and take a break from the regular ridicule I've been heaping upon him since he was sworn in. Today's supposed to be a noble holiday, after all, so I thought I'd make an extra effort at evenhandedness, and take a look back through history at some of the rocky starts various American presidents have had on the job.

Read Complete Article »

Friday Talking Points [425] -- Stress Conference

[ Posted Friday, February 17th, 2017 – 19:32 PST ]

Before we begin, two quick notes. That subtitle above isn't ours, but when we heard what CNN's Brian Stelter called the hot mess we saw yesterday, we had to agree it was the perfect description. Stress conference indeed! Secondly, our opening metaphor to describe our own personal reaction is going to need a rather roundabout explanation, just to warn everyone in advance.

Read Complete Article »

Too Little From Congress, Too Much From Trump

[ Posted Wednesday, February 15th, 2017 – 17:54 PST ]

The relative speed differential between the Trump White House and the Republican Congress is already starting to cause problems, it seems. Because the Trump administration is moving so quickly and Congress historically moves at a pretty glacial pace, the unspoken bargain between congressional Republicans and President Trump is already showing cracks. The basic deal was going to be that GOP leaders in Congress would back Trump up on some of his (shall we say) more esoteric campaign promises, while Trump's end of the bargain would be to sign pretty much anything Republicans could manage to get past Congress, even if it contradicted some of what Trump promised his supporters (like gutting Medicare and Medicaid, to cite the most obvious candidate). GOP leaders would allow Trump to build his wall in exchange for Trump allowing them to shred the safety net and bestow generous tax breaks to the ultra-wealthy. That was the plan, at any rate.

Read Complete Article »

Friday Talking Points [422] -- Tiny Hands, Tiny Crowds

[ Posted Friday, January 27th, 2017 – 17:59 PST ]

We're going to start today with a story that sounds like an urban myth, but actually happened. The state government of Indiana, 120 years ago, was almost taken in by a crank mathematician. He got them to introduce a bill he had written that would have changed state law to state that the value of pi was what he said it was. The language of the bill is inexact at best -- it might better be described as "completely incoherent" -- and actually suggests multiple ways of calculating pi, none of which are correct. The easiest to understand was to calculate it as a ratio of 5/4 to 4, which would give 3.2. The other methods are pretty indecipherable, to be polite.

Read Complete Article »

First Shot In The Upcoming Trade Wars

[ Posted Thursday, January 26th, 2017 – 17:28 PST ]

President Donald Trump's administration may have just fired the first shot in what could become a worldwide trade war. In response to criticisms about his announcing that the border wall with Mexico will be paid for by American taxpayers (and not, as promised, Mexico), Trump has been trying to come up with an answer for how we will be "reimbursed" by Mexico. Today, apparently, he has decided on the preferred method. The White House just announced a 20 percent tax on all imports from Mexico.

Read Complete Article »

Obama Poll Watch -- January, 2017

[ Posted Friday, January 20th, 2017 – 17:06 PST ]

Obama's Final Honeymoon Ends Well
America now has a new president, meaning (among other things) it is time to take one final look back at the presidency of Barack Obama. The chart is now complete on the public's opinion of how President Obama performed his duties, and his final "honeymoon" period not only continued during [...]

Read Complete Article »

Cabinetmaking Season

[ Posted Wednesday, January 18th, 2017 – 17:54 PST ]

It's cabinetmaking season in Washington again. President-Elect Donald Trump has made his selections, and they're all working their way through their confirmation hearings. The outcome, for virtually all of them, is not in doubt. Unless three Republican senators disapprove of a nominee to the point of voting against his or her confirmation, Trump will get the cabinet he desires. To the victor go the spoils, and all of that.

Read Complete Article »

Guest Author -- Business Cycle Blues

[ Posted Tuesday, January 17th, 2017 – 18:12 PST ]

Recently, Salon (not a right wing outlet, let's say) published a series of charts that show how much better the economy does under Democratic versus Republican administrations. This is a popular meme that appears regularly in the news feeds of the left-inclined, such as myself.

Even Donald Trump chimed in on this (although I think he has probably changed his tune since). In an interview with Wolf Blitzer in 2004 he commented that: "I've been around for a long time and it just seems that the economy does better under the Democrats than the Republicans."

Read Complete Article »