The Producer Price Index dropped substantially in October: This is good inflation news. It's a volatile series, but on a trend basis PPI is down to 0%. Even the PPI for services was down to 0%. On a conventional year-over-year basis, PPI in October clocked in at 1.3%.
Kevin Drum 🕸
The latest hotness about the economy is that people aren't satisfied with low inflation. They don't merely want prices to rise more slowly, they want prices to return to their old levels. I don't know if this is true, or even whether it's an effective attack line. Either way, it ain't gonna happen. In the ...continue reading "It’s not the inflation, it’s the prices?"
Andrew Gelman and pals have a new paper out that looks at one aspect of partisan polarization: perceptions of the opposite party vs. reality. What they found shouldn't surprise anyone. In a nutshell, Democrats think Republicans are more conservative than they really are, and Republicans think Democrats are more liberal than they really are. Here's ...continue reading "Here’s why we hate each other"
There won't be a government shutdown this month. Republicans supported Mike Johnson's continuing resolution only barely, 127-93, but Democrats joined up with the non-insane Republicans to give the CR a bipartisan 336-95 victory in the House. It's expected to pass the Senate later this week. The CR lasts through late January, which means that at ...continue reading "Government shutdown avoided yet again"
Here's the latest YouGov poll showing Democratic preferences in the Gaza war: Every age group is more sympathetic to the Israelis than the Palestinians with the exception of the youngest cohort, which is slightly more sympathetic to the Palestinians. Overall, Democrats approve of Joe Biden's handling of the war by 62-21%.
This is a pair of (almost) twin horses snarfing away at their lunch shortly after the solar eclipse. It doesn't appear to have bothered them much.
Israel has (so far) killed about half a percent of the population of Gaza. This is the equivalent of 1.5 million killed in the United States—or roughly 25 Vietnams. Relative to Israel, it's nearly the equivalent of 40 October 7ths.
Three weeks ago, Rep. Mike Johnson wrote a letter to his fellow Republicans saying that he was sure they could pass all 12 outstanding appropriations bills by.......this week. In the event, Republicans have passed zero appropriations bills. The reason for this is the usual one: Hard-right members of the Freedom Caucus have stalled any progress ...continue reading "Republicans fail yet again to pass spending bills"
CPI was down a lot in October: Headline inflation was down almost to zero thanks to lower gasoline prices, but core inflation was also down. On a trend basis, we're already down to the Fed's target rate. On the conventional year-over-year basis, headline CPI was down to 3.2% and core CPI was down to 4.0%.
This is a remarkable chart: In Washington DC's public high schools, about two-thirds of all students last year were chronically absent (missed 10%+ of all school days). About a third were profoundly chronically absent (missed 30%+ of all school days). This is up considerably from the previous year, primarily because of excused absences: parents are ...continue reading "Raw data: Absenteeism in DC public schools"
I still don't understand this: Business formation dropped a bit at the beginning of the pandemic, but by July 2020 it rebounded and hit a peak nearly twice its pre-pandemic rate. That subsided, but only slightly: from 2021 onward business formation has been running at a steady 50% above its pre-pandemic rate with no sign ...continue reading "Why are people starting so many new businesses?"
Stephen Wertheim repeats a common sentiment today: the United States has forfeited world opinion by supporting Israel in its war against Hamas. His evidence is a UN vote a couple of weeks ago calling for a "humanitarian truce": Washington is hemorrhaging influence around the world.... Displeasure is not confined to Arab states. In the U.N. ...continue reading "Is America losing its standing in the world?"
The Supreme Court issued a new code of ethics today. Huzzah? It is eight (8) pages long, five of which deal with recusal and outside activities such as speaking—none of which have been especially controversial lately. But gifts have been controversial, so let's take a look at the gift section: A Justice should comply with ...continue reading "Supreme Court adopts weak new code of ethics"
Last month I showed you the Heart Nebula—or part of it, anyway, since it was too big to fit in a single frame. Today I've got the nearby Soul Nebula, aka IC 1848. Get it? Heart and soul. Anyway, the Soul Nebula only barely fits in a single frame, but it's almost all there. And ...continue reading "Lunchtime Photo"
This isn't new, but I just saw it today. On Delta airlines, miles flown are no longer the metric for earning elite status: Beginning next year for the 2025 travel year, Delta will have just one metric for earning status: money. Money spent on Delta tickets, vacation packages, hotels and car rentals booked through Delta ...continue reading "Delta Airlines credit cards are now half its business"
Henry Farrell has critical words for the notion that technological progress is both inevitable and inevitably good: Marc Andreessen’s recent “tech optimist manifesto” is one of the most significant statements of Silicon Valley ideology. As I’ve written elsewhere, it’s actually less a political manifesto than an apostolic credo for the Religion of Progress. The words ...continue reading "Progress is good"
Everyone is forecasting a weak holiday season this year. Here's the latest: The number of seasonal positions publicly advertised this fall fell to the lowest level in a decade, according to outplacement-services firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. The National Retail Federation estimates that between 345,000 to 445,000 seasonal workers will be hired this year, down ...continue reading "Holiday hiring, spending projected to be low this year"
Tyler Cowen asks today why more intellectuals don't convert to Protestantism, and I figured the answer was simple: intellectuals tend to be nonreligious and rarely convert to anything. But no! According to GSS data, level of education doesn't correlate in any way with being nonreligious. It doesn't really correlate with any other religious question on ...continue reading "Raw data: Non-religion by educational level"
Who's doing what in Gaza? It's something of a fog to me because I literally don't believe a word coming from either side. They both simply have too much incentive to lie since this is a war for public opinion as much as it's a war for control of territory. What little do we know ...continue reading "What do we really know about Gaza?"
Yes, I know all about Godwin's Law. It's worth paying attention to. However, having paid due attention, there's no way to avoid saying that this sounds like Adolf Hitler at a Nuremburg rally: Trump didn't say stuff like this as recently as a few years ago. Nor did he routinely forget who's president or who ...continue reading "Donald Trump and the “threat from within”"