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  • GDP Report: Government Shrinks, Private Economy Grows

    Last Thursday’s revisions to the first-quarter growth estimates showed little change: Gross domestic product (GDP) had grown at a 2.4 percent rate, not 2.5 percent as reported in the initial estimate. For those who mistakenly equate GDP and “the economy,” this is bad news—and an excuse to kvetch about sequestration. … More

    GDP Grew 2.5 Percent in the First Quarter

    After dreadfully low growth in the last quarter of 2012—just 0.4 percent—gross domestic product (GDP) returned to a healthier rate of growth of 2.5 percent in the first three months of 2013. The autumn’s drop in private inventories was reversed as companies stockpiled more goods in anticipation of future consumer … More

    Blame Income Inequality?

    Scott Winship’s recent piece in National Affairs, “Overstating the Costs of Inequality,” elevates the national debate over the role that income inequality plays in economic mobility and growth. Winship, an economist at the Brookings Institution, finds “simply very little evidence to suggest that…income disparities between the rich, middle class, and … More

    Debt Drag: Krugman, Konczal Miss the Point

    On their respective blogs, economists Mike Konczal and Paul Krugman criticize the widely cited finding that a nation’s debt above 90 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) slows economic growth. They presume that the limitations of one study by Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff mean that its warning can … More

    High Debt Threatens Economic Growth

    Economic scholars have recently shown how high government debt has a negative effect on long-term economic growth. Government debt crowds out private investment, slowing the growth of gross domestic product (GDP) and wages. The consensus is that “debt drag” gets worse as debt rises. Like piling bricks on a sled, … More

    GDP Fell in the Fourth Quarter of 2012

    The Department of Commerce made news Wednesday by announcing the first quarterly decline in gross domestic product (GDP) since the recession ended in 2009. As always, GDP is only a summary measure, not the whole story. This GDP report continues the narrative of the past three years: We are making … More

    Scholars Agree: High Tax Rates Do Harm Growth

    The Congressional Research Service (CRS) stirred controversy last year when it released a study claiming that tax rates do not influence economic growth. Predictably, those who favor higher taxes used the flimsy report to bolster their backward argument that raising tax rates, as Congress and President Obama did with the … More

    Effective Marginal Tax Rates: A Growing Discussion

    Did you notice how your paycheck shrank in January? The expiration of temporary payroll tax cuts boosted marginal tax rates about two percentage points for most Americans. That might not be a very large number on its own, but taken together with the full range of government policies affecting workers … More

    Bank Profits Soar as Washington Subsidies Flow

    Too often, government policies designed to ameliorate a general problem merely benefit a special interest. A case in point, highlighted by Binyamin Applebaum on the Economix blog, is the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP). HARP is part of the complex federal effort to stabilize the home mortgage market and stem … More

    Fiscal Cliff: Is Heritage Inconsistent?

    Menzie Chinn took to the blog Econbrowser last Thursday to accuse conservative economists in general – and The Heritage Foundation in particular – of being inconsistent, since we did not share his optimism about the benefits of the 2009 stimulus, but we’ve warned of the danger of the fiscal cliff. … More