The Reality of Inflation and Rate of Change in Real Wages

President Biden had what I’d call a human moment yesterday. After a Fox News correspondent shouted out a question about whether inflation would be a political liability, Biden could be heard muttering: “No, it’s a great asset. More inflation. What a stupid son of a bitch.” Seriously, can you blame him?
But why is inflation proving to be so much of a political liability? The idea that Americans are down on the economy because price increases have outstripped wage growth has hardened into conventional wisdom. And there’s obviously something to that.

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How Crypto Became the New Subprime

If the stock market isn’t the economy — which it isn’t — then cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin really, really aren’t the economy. Still, crypto has become a pretty big asset class (and yielded huge capital gains to many buyers); by last fall the combined market value of cryptocurrencies had reached almost $3 trillion.
Since then, however, prices have crashed, wiping out around $1.3 trillion in market capitalization. As of Thursday morning, Bitcoin’s price was almost halfway down from its November peak.

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Attack of the Right-Wing Thought Police

Americans like to think of their nation as a beacon of freedom. And despite all the ways in which we have failed to live up to our self-image, above all the vast injustices that sprang from the original sin of slavery, freedom — not just free elections, but also freedom of speech and thought — has long been a key element of the American idea.
Now, however, freedom is under attack, on more fronts than many people realize. Everyone knows about the Big Lie, the refusal by a large majority of Republicans to accept the legitimacy of a lost election.

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Economic Trends Aren’t What They Used to Be

Back in 2010 a group of conservative academics, economists and money managers signed an open letter warning that the efforts of the Federal Reserve to support the economy would be dangerously inflationary. But the inflation never came. So four years later Bloomberg reached out to as many of the signatories as they could, to ask what happened.
Not one was willing to admit having been wrong.
I don’t want to be like those guys. So I’m currently spending a fair bit of time trying to understand why my relaxed view of inflation early last year has been refuted by events.

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Biden Versus the Friends of Covid

President Biden ended his first year in office on a low note, with polls showing public disapproval of his handling of, well, just about everything. We are, of course, hearing endless commentary about his political missteps, along with some acknowledgment that public expectations were too high given the razor-thin Democratic majority in Congress.
One thing I don’t think gets enough emphasis, however, is the extent to which Biden has been hurt by the way the pandemic keeps dragging on — a dismal reality for which he bears little responsibility.

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Why Biden Shouldn’t Blame Inflation on Monopolies

Inflation has become a big issue for the U.S. economy and, of course, a big political headache for the Biden administration. But while many people have been urging President Biden to “focus” on inflation, there have been many fewer suggestions about what he might actually do.

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Why a Blue City Is Feeling the Blues

Remember when New York City was doomed? The first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic hit the city like a hammer, killing more than 20,000 New Yorkers over the course of a few months. And many commentators asserted that it was New York’s lifestyle — in particular, its uniquely high population density and reliance on mass transit — that made it so vulnerable.
As it turned out, however, this was all wrong.

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How France’s Economy Is Surviving the Covid Pandemic

Yesterday I wrote about America’s surprising success in limiting the economic damage from Covid-19. Compared to expectations and compared to our handling of the 2008 financial crisis, we’ve done remarkably well. But other countries have also done well, in some cases and by some measures better. In fact, among major advanced economies, the star performer of the pandemic era, arguably, is … France.
France? For as long as I can remember, U.S. media coverage of the French economy has been relentlessly negative.

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Covid Has Exacerbated Political Tribalism

In a lovely column in The Times about Ciro Scala, who went back to college after a half-century pause, Ginia Bellafante wrote: “The high school Ciro went to in Brooklyn could not provide his transcript, which turned out to be on microfiche and thus might as well have been preserved on bark.” (Nancy Friedland, Manhattan)
Pithiness, thy name is Maureen Dowd: “Joe Biden better Build Better or he won’t be Back.” (David Stout, Albuquerque, and Bob Walthers, Port Townsend, Wash.

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Covid Has Exacerbated Political Tribalism

In a lovely column in The Times about Ciro Scala, who went back to college after a half-century pause, Ginia Bellafante wrote: “The high school Ciro went to in Brooklyn could not provide his transcript, which turned out to be on microfiche and thus might as well have been preserved on bark.” (Nancy Friedland, Manhattan)
Pithiness, thy name is Maureen Dowd: “Joe Biden better Build Better or he won’t be Back.” (David Stout, Albuquerque, and Bob Walthers, Port Townsend, Wash.

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