Zombies! Run For Your Lives!
August 10, 2010

The Weekly Standard has a cover package about how President Obama drove the economy in the ditch. One of the stories, which I discussed yesterday, is premised entirely on ignoring economic forecasts from early 2009. The other article is Matthew Continetti's article, "The Zombie Economy," which is a kind of neoclassical argument that the economy needs to be totally purged, but Obama is intervening to support politically-connected business that ought to be allowed to die.

GM's Turnaround
July 30, 2010

Interesting observation from First Read: We said it at the time: As the GM bailout goes, so goes the Obama presidency. It was the bailout everyone in America could understand, and it wasn’t popular. In our June 2009 NBC/WSJ poll, the American automaker had an awful 18%-47% fav/unfav. A year later, however, the Obama administration believes it has a good story to tell. And today, the president is going to tell that story. Later this morning, he heads to Michigan, where he will tour a Chrysler and then a GM plant. After that, he’ll make remarks about the auto industry at 1:40 pm ET.

83 Cheers for the Old Economy
June 02, 2010

Last week Paul Krugman had a nice blogpost comparing income growth in the stagflation-ridden “old economy” of the 1970s and the bubbly “new economy” of the last decade. For the entire United States, it seems, inflation-adjusted median family income fell at a slightly slower rate between 1973 and 1981 than between 2000 and 2008. The old economy was better for the nation as a whole, at least as far as income growth goes. But what about metropolitan areas? In which places was income growth more rapid in what many people remember as the “bad old days”? The answer: 83 of the nation’s 100 largest me

Financial Excess Still Claiming Car Country Casualties
May 21, 2010

In Michael Lewis’ disturbing but illuminating book unearthing the machinations behind the global financial crisis, The Big Short, one of the Wall Street investors enmeshed in creating the web of sub-prime mortgage-backed securities and related derivatives reports on how he knew the bubble was going to burst.

Auto-Dependent Communities to Gain from Health Reform
March 30, 2010

Big-time health care reform, now passed, will, like a lot of federal policy, have different effects in the very different American metros that make up our national economy.

Why Clean Diesel Could Be A Pretty Big Deal
March 26, 2010

It's hard to say, exactly, what the clean, low-carbon cars of the future will look like, but most of the hype revolves around plug-in electric cars and hydrogen vehicles. And why not? Those are both nifty ideas. Yet some of the technology involved still needs plenty of tinkering—plug-ins are at least several years away from becoming a mass-market item, while hydrogen vehicles are going to require a few major breakthroughs before they ever catch on.

Why China Shunned The Hummer
February 25, 2010

Why did the Chinese government step in to prevent a local company from buying the Hummer brand from GM? One theory is that Beijing just didn't want to be associated with the Hummer's markedly un-green image: “Hummer is a fuel-gobbling vehicle,” said Liu Feng, a Beijing-based auto analyst with Southwest Securities.

Is There Enough Food Out There For Nine Billion People?
February 03, 2010

Sometime around 2050, there are going to be nine billion people roaming this planet—two billion more than there are today. It's a safe bet that all those folks will want to eat. And that's... an incredibly daunting prospect. Right now, an estimated one billion people go hungry each day. So add two billion more people, a limited supply of arable land, plus the fact that rising incomes will boost demand for meat and dairy products, plus the fact that many key natural resources (fisheries, say) are already being overexploited… and it's hard to see the situation getting better.

Bad Times Columnist, Good Times Columnist
January 20, 2010

I've been railing at the establishment's insistence on acting as if voters are driven purely by ideological preference -- as if 10% unemployment has nothing to do with the current voter mood. Offering his rebuttal is David Brooks: Many Democrats, as always, are caught in their insular liberal information loop. They think the polls are bad simply because the economy is bad. They tell each other health care is unpopular because the people aren’t sophisticated enough to understand it.

Peering Into GM's Future ... Nervously
December 22, 2009

So it sounds like GM's new CFO--Chris Lidell, recently of Microsoft--is a real catch. According to today's Wall Street Journal: GM began wooing Mr. Liddell before he left Microsoft, said a person familiar with the situation. He quit the software maker during the early stages of those talks, begun in early fall, to consider other jobs, including a CFO post at another major company as well as private-equity opportunities, this person said. GM ended up "chasing him for a long time," this person added. ... Since joining Microsoft in 2005, Mr.