Voters: Get Your Heads Straight on Money ASAP … Please!

by Art Patten, Symmetry Capital Management From Bloomberg: A Bloomberg National Poll, conducted June 17-20, found voters choosing jobs over the deficit or federal spending as their top concern by 42 percent to 30 percent. Yet 74 percent of Americans support an amendment to balance the federal budget, according to a CNN poll conducted July …

The Trillion Dollar War of Choice and the Constraints on Macro Policy

by Guest Author Menzie Chinn

The cost of the Iraq War has reached almost trillion dollars – at least $805.6 billion as of the end of September, not including debt service and additional reset costs; around $940 billion including interest payments.

As the US economy faces the prospects of stagnant growth or recession, it is of interest to see why the scope for fiscal policy is so circumscribed — that is, why is the debt level so high given that in the last year of the Clinton Administration we were paying down debt? Figure 1 depicts part of the answer (other parts, here).

Forecasts: What and How Do Business Economists Think?

The WSJ and Philadelphia Fed surveys of economists were released a couple of weeks ago. It’s of interest to consider what they imply for the macro outlook, and additionally, how they believe inflation will evolve as a function of other variables. As these economists are, on average, a fairly conservative group, it may surprise some that about 50% felt that federal budget cuts would hurt the economy over the next two years.