COMMENTARY

Will Trump win the battle for public opinion?

IT increasingly seems that the fate of Donald Trump's presidency will be settled by that old political standby: public opinion. By all reports, Democrats have more than enough votes in the House of Representatives to impeach Mr Trump - that is, to indict him for "high crimes and misdemeanours"...

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Why Trump should be impeached, removed from office

NO ONE has worked more aggressively to trigger impeachment than the president. You may remember that, during the campaign, then-candidate Donald Trump suggested that, should he win, he might become one of the most "boring" presidents in history. There was in this curious pledge - which, as we...

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Trump's bid to control the Fed is appalling and misguided

IF ever there was a case of political miscalculation, it's the collapsing relationship between US President Donald Trump and the chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, Jerome ("Jay") Powell.

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'Negative' interest rates - what gives?

THE idea that interest rates could be "negative" seems so counterintuitive that it defies easy understanding. Yet, here we are. Some foreign central banks (among them, the European Central Bank and the central banks of Denmark and Sweden) have adopted them. No less a figure than former Federal...

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Has America lost its economic dynamism?

ON this Labour Day, the American economy - the source of jobs for almost all of us - is full of promise and peril. It is hard not to be impressed with its job-creation capacity. Since the low point of the 2007-09 Great Recession, payroll employment has increased by 21.7 million jobs, with strong...

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Learning from the Great Depression

WHAT is striking about the latest bouts of financial turmoil - the recent wild swings in global stock and bond markets - is that they provide a sobering reminder of the potential hazards of economic instability. There are parallels between the present tumultuous situation and past episodes of...

COMMENTARY

Is the US economy excessively regulated?

THE most obscure part of US President Donald Trump's economic agenda is deregulation. This is not because anyone is deliberately hiding it. The real reason is more mundane: Deregulation is obscure, because it is genuinely complicated and confusing. The issues are highly technical, and they vary...

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The brave new world of trading blocs

WE MAY be on the cusp of an upheaval in global trade. Since World War II, the international trading system has operated on the premise of "most favoured nation (MFN)", meaning that concessions granted to one country must be extended to all countries in the system. The trade standoff between the...

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Will China dump US dollars?

AT LAST count, China held slightly more than US$1 trillion in US Treasury securities. One fear has been that, should China and the United States engage in an economic war - as they clearly are now - those dollars could become a weapon against us. The Chinese would sell dollars in foreign...

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The 100 trillion dollar question

WE live in an age obsessed with economic inequality. There is too much of it, most people seem to agree. After Donald Trump - his personality, behaviour and policies - inequality may well become the dominant issue in the 2020 election. This poses dangers, the most obvious being the tendency to...

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Is the global trade system breaking down or just in hiatus?

THOSE of us who have always thought that Brexit - Britain's withdrawal from the European Union - was a bad idea should be feeling self-satisfied and vindicated now. Well, we are not; at least this observer isn't. The reason is obvious. Many of the things that we feared would happen...

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Alfred E Neuman's law of budget deficits

LET'S coin a new law of politics. Call it Neuman's Law after Alfred E Neuman of Mad magazine fame, whose philosophy is, "What, me worry?"...

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Job creation is job one

US Federal Reserve chairman Jerome ("Jay") Powell didn't waste much time getting to the point at last week's press conference. "My colleagues and I have one overarching goal: to sustain the economic expansion, with a strong job market and stable prices, for the benefit...

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Global warming - why I am less pessimistic about it

ON GLOBAL climate change, I've changed my mind - just slightly. I've written about this issue for more than two decades, and my theme has been monotonously consistent. As a starting point, I've accepted the prevailing scientific view that man-made greenhouse gases contribute to...

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The Fed's latest worry - financial markets

PAY attention to the financial markets. If the Great Recession and 2008-09 financial crisis taught us anything, that was it. Until then, the Federal Reserve had focused mainly on fighting inflation and unemployment. What we learned is that overborrowing, shaky mortgages and inflated stock and...

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The Great Recession vs the Great Depression

HERE'S today's economic quiz: Was the 2007-09 Great Recession more damaging than the Great Depression of the 1930s? Surely the answer is "no". In the 1930s, unemployment reached 25 per cent. By contrast, the recent peak in the jobless rate was 10 per cent. Case closed....

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It's not the economy, stupid!

ONE lesson of the midterm elections is that economic growth is losing its power to unite the country and to reduce explosive conflicts over race, religion, ethnicity, immigrant status and sexuality. This is unfamiliar. Economic progress has been a routine part of our election narratives. The...