Year: 2023

The Bear’s Lair: What should we do with higher education?

The current U.S. and British education systems are increasingly dysfunctional. Far too high a percentage of the population has been bullied into attending college, with very little benefit in most cases and with costs that have escalated several times faster than inflation or even incomes. The faculty and administration of top colleges are increasingly isolated […]

The Bear’s Lair: Trump’s 10% general tariff is a good idea

President Trump has proposed a universal 10% tariff on U.S. imports and has been met by universal derision among professional economists. Not so fast! High tariffs were a feature of Republican governance before the Great Depression. While they operated on a “beggar my neighbor” basis against the British steel industry, for example, they have retained […]

The Bear’s Lair: Stock prices are three times their proper level

At the end of 2019, the Standard and Poor’s 500 index of U.S. share prices stood at 3221.29. Since then, the United States has been subjected to a devastating epidemic, has wasted trillions of dollars in response to that epidemic, driving its debt to GDP ratio up to 108%, has suffered debilitating inflation that has […]

The Bear’s Lair: The correct inflation target is Zero

Jason Furman, in the Wall Street Journal, is just the latest former senior financial official (Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, 2013-17) to suggest the Fed should raise its inflation target above the current 2%. We know what these people want – a target high enough that rates can be reduced to zero again, […]

The Bear’s Lair: Why Britain lost its industrial dominance

In 1830, Britain was completely economically dominant, the only significant industrial power. Since that time, it has steadily lost its industrial dominance and that relative decline, while to an extent inevitable, was hurried along by a grossly malign approach to policy which persists today. Unless it is reversed, further accelerating decline is ahead.

The Bear’s Lair: Lawfare ruins everybody’s lives

Georgia Power’s Vogtle 3 nuclear power station went into full operation this month, the first new U.S. nuclear station in 30 years. However, its cost, together with its twin Vogtle 4 has ballooned from $14 billion to $30 billion, with a six-year delay in completion due to innumerable harassing lawsuits from environmentalists and others. It […]

The Bear’s Lair: What does a true innovation look like?

 The subject of Artificial Intelligence has filled the media for the last six months, with both optimistic and dire predictions of its gigantic effect on the world. Yet not all innovations are world-changing, however profitable they may be to their inventors, while some innovations – social media, for example — have changed social mores […]

The Bear’s Lair: The United States is no longer a role model

For decades after 1945, and especially after 1991, the United States was a role model for the world. Not only was its economy the world’s strongest and most prosperous, but its economic management, while falling short of true capitalism, represented an attainable model both for sluggish European nations and for fast-growing emerging markets. Its diplomats […]

The Bear’s Lair: The unwinding of capitalism

Passively invested funds now account for 45% of all assets of U.S. stock-based funds, up from 25% a decade ago, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Indexed funds also account for 25% of bond funds. Between them, three large investment managers, BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street, manage over $20 trillion of assets and they […]