Wealth taxes don't work

The wealth taxes proposed by Senators Warren and Sanders have two primary objectives: one is to increase tax revenues to pay for universal healthcare, climate change initiatives and the elimination of student debt. The other is to reduce inequality: over the past 40 years, the share of the country’s wealth held by the top 0.1 per cent of Americans more than doubled to 20 per cent.

But the history of such taxes shows they come up short on both counts. Read my latest in the Financial Times on why here. For the TV clip version, watch my CNBC interview here.

The Eurozone’s Japanification–Nov 4

The eurozone has some worrying Japan-like qualities—potential growth is weak, demographics are unfavorable and the European Central Bank has extended its foray into unconventional monetary policy to not only buy up bonds but to impose negative rates as well. With most investors and analysts convinced the worst of the euro crisis is behind us, will we look back when the next downturn hits and think “what a wasted recovery?” What does the eurozone need to avoid Japanification and put the euro crisis behind it for good, and what are the prospects for any of that happening? In answering these questions, we’ll take a look at the new leadership in Europe not only in national capitals but in Brussels at European institutions and in Frankfurt at the ECB as well.

This talk will be held at the Harvard Kennedy School with Carsten Brzeski (The Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies’ John F. Kennedy Memorial Policy Fellow 2019 and Chief Economist, ING Germany) and myself. Come join!

November 4, 4:00-5:30, M-RCBG Conference Room, B-503

Don’t Hold Your Breath for Fiscal Stimulus

From the Federal Reserve’s Jackson Hole Conference to the IMF/World Bank Annual Meetings, the policy takeaway of this year is that coordinated monetary easing is not going to be enough when the next recession comes. Fiscal stimulus will be necessary to maintain global growth. The economics are sound, but the politics are problematic. Here’s my latest in the Financial Times on why I wouldn’t hold my breath for fiscal stimulus.

Strong labor market, despite GM

I co-hosted Bloomberg’s Daybreak Americas with Alix Steel and we broke down the jobs data. The labor market continues to look strong, despite a GM strike that distorted the numbers. There was an overall drop in manufacturing jobs–high wage, high hour jobs (the good kind that we want to be adding)–but not as many as we expected given the GM strike. This means other manufacturers added about 20k jobs to the labor force last month–that isn’t a bad result!

Here is a clip from the segment dissecting the jobs data: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2019-11-01/fed-can-pat-themselves-on-the-back-after-jobs-report-harvard-s-greene-video

Here is another clip with Kristin Dziczek (Center for Automotive Research) discussing the nitty gritty of the GM strike and the implications for the US economy: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2019-11-01/ford-avoids-a-strike-while-gm-s-impact-lingers-with-suppliers-video

Why inflation is stubbornly weak

The U.S. economy is in its longest expansion on record. As unemployment touches historic lows, a striking feature of this expansion is that contrary to what economic theory would predict, inflation too remains strangely low. Here is a video I recorded with Michael Klein explaining why the traditional theory doesn’t seem to be working. Michael is the Executive Editor at Econofact, a nonpartisan organization that seeks to cut through fake news by addressing timely and relevant issues with just the facts. If you aren’t using them as a resource already, you should be!

Greece’s Economy: Resurgent, but Still Fragile

Describing the Greek economy these days as a phoenix ascendant from the ashes of crisis is, given the country involved, an apt metaphor. Yet it may be too early to mythologise the Greek economy. Fast money has done well investing in Greece, but the stickier long-term investors that Greece so desperately needs remain sceptical. Until the fundamentals improve, this phoenix still has one wing tied down. Click here for my latest column in the Financial Times.