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  • GDP: I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means

    Many decision makers and commentators treat gross domestic product (GDP) as if it measures the whole of the economy. They even use “the economy” and GDP interchangeably. GDP is an accounting device—and a poor measure of economic health. Household wealth is much closer to what we mean by “the economy.” … More

    Trade Promotion Authority: Make the Case

    Trade promotion authority (TPA) does several positive things. For one, it gives the President a window where Congress agrees to an up-or-down vote on trade agreements, without the possibility of amendments. It therefore raises the chances of a vote in favor of a deal and is generally welcomed by free … More

    A Conservative Agenda for Trade: Eliminate the Threat of Tariffs

    When it comes to trade, the ultimate objective for conservatives should be to eliminate tariffs—not just reduce some or all, but take them completely off the table and make it as difficult as possible to impose or threaten to impose tariffs (or quotas). Many Americans believe that tariffs are a … More

    One Step on Cyber Espionage: Reform the Foreign Investment Process

    Japanese telecommunications company Softbank wants to buy Sprint Nextel for about $20 billion. One barrier to the deal is unusual: Softbank and Sprint are being pushed to spurn equipment made by specific Chinese companies, due to cyber espionage fears. The fear is reasonable but the way the deal is being … More

    China’s NPC: Don’t Jump the Gun on News of Economic Reform

    The annual meetings of China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) start March 5. This year is more important than most: The new Communist Party leadership introduced at last fall’s Party Congress receive their government positions. We all know the top slot (president), and we are all but certain of the #2 … More

    China Is Not Our Banker

    China has fallen behind Japan as the largest foreign holder of U.S. securities. The Department of the Treasury’s new numbers are good only through June 30, 2012, but it puts Japan at $1.84 trillion and China at $1.59 trillion. There are lots of things to say about this, but one … More

    India Stays on Path to Economic Failure

    Thursday was a really bad day for the Indian economy. Gross domestic product (GDP) growth for the October–December quarter came in at 4.5 percent, continuing to weaken. Worse, the central government budget for the next fiscal year leaves India on the same, failing course it’s been on of undisciplined spending … More

    Japan’s Economy - What Really Matters

    Japanese gross domestic product (GDP) fell for the third straight quarter (October–December) and was essentially flat for 2012 as a whole. This continues two decades of stagnation in annual output—Japan’s annual GDP in 2012 is essentially the same as 20 years ago. Stagnation is part of what motivated new Prime … More

    U.S.–China Trade: Don’t Let the Numbers Fool You

    The numbers for America’s trade in 2012 came out on Friday and, as usual, China is prominent. America’s goods trade deficit with China broke the $300 billion barrier, rising almost 7 percent from 2011 to $315 billion. Also, China was said to have passed the U.S. as the largest trading … More

    Global GDP: U.S. Adds, China Subtracts

    China’s 2012 official economic numbers are due out at the end of this week and I, among others, will gently suggest that they aren’t particularly accurate. Sometimes, however, it isn’t Beijing that can’t get basic economic facts right. Sometimes it’s us. A lot of foreigners believe China is contributing a … More