Year: 2017

The Bear’s Lair: Use tax system to rein in CEO pay

Depending on the method of calculation used, the average Chief Executive Officer makes some 300 times the remuneration of the average worker. That multiple is up from 26 to 1 in 1978. Yet CEO performance has deteriorated, if we measure the economy in terms of productivity and so forth. It is thus clear that most […]

The Bear’s Lair: Anyone but Gary Cohn for Fed Chairman!

Nearly twelve years ago, on October 24, 2005, this column reviewed the potential runners for Fed Chairman and came to the conclusion that the worst possible choice would be Ben Bernanke. Needless to say, President George W. Bush appointed Bernanke the following week. Since Donald Trump bids fair to be a considerably better President than […]

The Bear’s Lair: The incredible shrinking man

Since I am away this week, I am republishing a “classic,” in this case a review of Robert Skidelsky’s third volume of his Life of Keynes. The review was written and published by UPI in March 2002; it therefore takes no account of the frightening renaissance in Keynes’ reputation since the 2008 crisis. In reading […]

The Bear’s Lair: The coming crypto-currency bonanza

When I first looked at Bitcoin, I thought it was a badly constructed Millennial scam. Its vaunted “blockchain” had clear design problems, as Kevin Dowd and I pointed out in a Cato Institute paper. I now realize that this was a failure of imagination. I should have seen Bitcoin for what it was: the first […]

The Bear’s Lair: Destructive effects of the charitable tax deduction

President Trump’s tax plan removes the deduction for state and local taxes, but leaves in place a much worse policy, the charitable tax deduction. As tax policy, the charitable tax deduction is execrable, targeted primarily at the very rich and enabling such atrocities as the Clinton Foundation. However, it has a subtler undermining effect: it […]

The Bear’s Lair: The robot revolution resembles the industrial one.

New technology disrupted working life as never before. A large percentage of the workforce seemed likely to lose its job and maybe never work again. Poverty threatened the displaced workers, who succumbed to addiction and disease. It sounds like a dystopian prediction on the introduction of robots – but it is actually a description of […]

The Bear’s Lair: Zero is the right inflation target

Janet Yellen has said that she wants to consider raising the Federal Reserve’s target inflation rate from 2% to a higher level. By doing so, she hopes to impose more steeply negative real interest rates without the difficulties of abolishing cash or conducting state roundups of savers. Morally as well as economically, her call must […]

The Bear’s Lair: Britain needs hard money, hard Brexit

On June 8, Theresa May’s Conservatives came close to losing an election they should have won easily. The commentariat, all of whom like the Brussels bureaucrats and love the Brussels restaurants, claimed she had lost because of her firmness on Brexit and the Tories’ excessive devotion to fiscal austerity. Actually the Tories, not notably devoted […]

The Bear’s Lair: Emerging markets in an autarkic world

Five years ago, the future for emerging markets seemed set fair. Globalization was driving much of the world’s manufacturing to them, as Western companies sought optimal global supply chains. All they needed to do was avoid selecting lunatic Marxist or Islamist dictators as leaders. Yet the future has changed; globalization is in retreat, though it’s […]

The Bear’s Lair: Merkel-Macron Axis lacks a majority

Following the G7 meeting last week, Angela Merkel declared that the EU would need to deepen, and should cease relying on the U.S. and Britain. Judging by his macho “handshake” of Donald Trump, a man 31 years older, Emmanuel Macron agrees. Their dream has two problems: it would lead Europe into poverty and it almost […]