Economists utterly fail at predicting recessions

There are some things that economists are good at and some that they are not. Art DeVany, an extremely well-known economist, points to economists record at predicting recessions.


The explanation behind the sub-prime mortgage crisis

The government is blaming the banking industry, but it is really government pressure that is responsible for the problems in the industry. It is always amazing to me how government regulation begets more government regulation. Stan Liebowitz has an excellent piece on all this in last week's NY Post:

Most people instinctively understand that such loans are likely to be unsound. But how did the heavily-regulated banking industry end up able to engage in such foolishness?
From the current hand-wringing, you'd think that the banks came up with the idea of looser underwriting standards on their own, with regulators just asleep on the job. In fact, it was the regulators who relaxed these standards - at the behest of community groups and "progressive" political forces.
In the 1980s, groups such as the activists at ACORN began pushing charges of "redlining" - claims that banks discriminated against minorities in mortgage lending. In 1989, sympathetic members of Congress got the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act amended to force banks to collect racial data on mortgage applicants; this allowed various studies to be ginned up that seemed to validate the original accusation.
In fact, minority mortgage applications were rejected more frequently than other applications - but the overwhelming reason wasn't racial discrimination, but simply that minorities tend to have weaker finances.
Yet a "landmark" 1992 study from the Boston Fed concluded that mortgage-lending discrimination was systemic

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New Op-ed: 'Stimulus' Package Won't Jolt Economy

I have a new op-ed up at Fox News:

There is a lot of hysteria about the economy. Politicians worried about a voter backlash want to show voters that they are willing to do something.

Yet, the White House and Congressional proposal last week to send $100 billion in checks to Americans will not stimulate the economy, only waste taxpayers’ money. Instead of growing the economy as claimed, the expanded unemployment benefits being pushed by Senate Democrats will only shrink it. . . .

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