When Can Waffle House Raise its Prices?

An earlier version of this article appeared at Economic Forces. The dumbest economics discussion over the past few years — and that’s a high bar — has to go to “greedflation.” The White House tried to blame the greed of meat packers and gas companies for rising prices. I would have blamed the Fed for […]

A Review of Wynton Marsalis’s Moving to Higher Ground

The artistic and creative personae of a performer or composer is a manifestation of his entire life experience, everything that he has listened to, and his basic constitution, and his personality. Whereas in the hard or social sciences we care little about the person who discovers a truth, because it is “out there,” with the […]

Monetary Policy and that Old-Time Fiscal Religion

The ongoing debt-ceiling debate has brought concerns about the sustainability of US fiscal policy to the forefront of public discussion once again. While it may be tempting to blame current budgetary problems on the federal government’s pandemic spending spree, the problems are much more fundamental. They stem from the widespread belief that the federal government […]

Money and Inflation Are Still Related

“There is perhaps no empirical regularity among economic phenomena that is based on so much evidence, for so wide a range of circumstances,” Milton Friedman observed in 1989, “as the connection between substantial changes in the quantity of money and in the level of prices.” And yet, despite the wide body of work alluded to […]

Do Not Tarry In Eliminating Tariffs and Other Protectionist Measures

In my previous column I identified some illiberal policies that, although I wish these had never been put into place, I’d not now eliminate immediately with the push of a button. I advocate instead that these policies be wound down only gradually. But I also described some other illiberal policies that I would indeed, if […]

Economic Development Deals Are a Curse, Not a Blessing

As states periodically consider renewing and increasing economic development incentives, they would do well to consider the problem of the Winner’s Curse. The Winner’s Curse is a common result of competitive auctions, where the bidder who “wins,” say, a used car, is overly optimistic about its condition and value and thus overpays for it. Congratulations, […]

DC’s Dim-Witted Lightbulb Moment

Though he’s best known for his powerful metaphor of “the invisible hand,” philosopher and proto-economist Adam Smith saw a role for government in setting market conditions.  The founding father of economic liberalism believed government force was necessary to structure the conditions for a market economy, to create the conditions where people could trade freely. Confidence […]

Fed Raises Rate, But Signals Potential Pause in May

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) moved forward with an anticipated 25-basis-point increase in its federal funds rate target on Wednesday. It no longer, however, “anticipates that ongoing increases in the target range will be appropriate in order to attain a stance of monetary policy that is sufficiently restrictive to return inflation to 2 percent […]