The U.S. Congress hasn’t done much in the past month with one notable exception. The U.S. House of Representatives made progress toward establishing a commission to address the nation’s worsening fiscal situation.
While the U.S. Senate was busy approving another $95 billion for various foreign policy purposes, two important things were happening to which almost no one in Congress was paying attention. One was the released January inflation data; the other was the updated Congressional Budget Office (CBO) 10-year fiscal outlook.
William F. Buckley once defined a conservative as “Someone who stands athwart history, yelling Stop.” With apologies to Buckley, we might define an economist as someone who stands athwart the contemporary public policy conversation, yelling, “This time isn’t different!”
It is no secret that the state and local governments make California a very difficult place to do business. The Golden State maintained its perennial position of the worst business climate in the country in Chief Executive magazine’s annual “Best and Worst States for Business” survey of hundreds of CEOs from across the nation. (Texas, Florida, and Tennessee once again topped the list.) But things are particularly bad for restaurant owners, and substantial increases in the minimum wage are only making them worse.
There are some big signs that the people of Las Vegas and the state of Nevada are getting genuine buyer’s remorse over the Oakland Athletics.
2023 was a good year for the stock market. CNN reported the year’s performance stats for the three most well-known U.S. stock market indices.
I am generally a fan of Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s sparring with the Biden administration over the collapse of the southern border. As noted by the House Oversight Committee, “The Biden Administration sparked the worst border crisis in American history and placed Americans’ lives at risk by abandoning deterrent-focused immigration policies and proven border enforcement tools.” Estimates differ, but at least 10 million illegal aliens have entered the United States during Biden’s term in office. As I have pointed out elsewhere, although we assume the federal government is constitutionally entitled to superintend immigration matters, the Constitution is—at a minimum—murky on this matter.
“Jobs Growth Defies Expectations” blares a WSJ headline on the front page of the paper’s first-weekend edition of February 2024.
Sustaining the U.S. national debt has become very expensive thanks to rising interest rates. The annual cost of paying the gross interest on the national debt now exceeds one trillion dollars. That cost has almost doubled during the last three years.