Economic Recovery from the Pandemic

Economist Writing Every Day

How well have countries recovered from the declines in the pandemic? It’s actually a bit difficult to answer that question, because it depends on how you measure it. Even if we agree that GDP is the best measure, how do we measure recovery? One possibility is to simply ask whether the country has exceeded its pre-pandemic GDP level. Exactly which quarter to use as the baseline is debatable, but here is a chart that Joseph Politano made for G7 countries using the 3rd quarter of 2019 as the baseline.

But we know that absent the pandemic, most countries would have continued growing (absent a recession for some other reason), so just getting back to pre-pandemic levels isn’t necessarily a full recovery. But how much growth should we have expected? It’s a hard question, but here’s a chart along those lines from the Washington Post, using the CBO’s measure of…

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January 20, 1936: Death of King George V of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India.

European Royal History

George V (George Frederick Ernest Albert; June 3, 1865 – January 20, 1936) was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India, from May 6, 1910 until his death in 1936.

King George V’s relationship with his eldest son and heir, Edward, deteriorated in the later years. George was disappointed in Edward’s failure to settle down in life and appalled by his many affairs with married women. In contrast, he was fond of his second son, Prince Albert (later George VI), and doted on his eldest granddaughter, Princess Elizabeth; he nicknamed her “Lilibet”, and she affectionately called him “Grandpa England”.

In 1935, George said of his son Edward: “After I am dead, the boy will ruin himself within 12 months”, and of Albert and Elizabeth: “I pray to God my eldest son will never marry and have children, and that nothing will come between Bertie…

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Rise and Fall of the Modern Warming Spike

Science Matters

image_thumb9The first graph appeared in the IPCC 1990 First Assessment Report (FAR) credited to H.H.Lamb, first director of CRU-UEA. The second graph was featured in 2001 IPCC Third Assessment Report (TAR) the famous hockey stick credited to M. Mann.

A previous post Rise and Fall of CAGW described the process that began with Hansen’s flashy Senate testimony in 1988, later supported by Santer’s flashy paper in 1996. This post traces a second iteration that ensued following Michael Mann’s production of the infamous Climate Hockey Stick graph in 1998. The image at the top comes from the 2001 IPCC TAR (Third Assessment Report) signifying the immediate embrace of this alarmist tool by consensus climatists.  The message of the graph was to assert a spike in modern warming unprecedented in the last 1000 years.  This claim of a “Modern Warming Spike” required a flat temperature profile throughout the Middle Ages (since 1000…

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Electric car makers put the brakes on UK production because they are too expensive to sell

NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT

By Paul Homewood

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Makers of electric cars are slowing down UK production as the vehicles are too expensive for many motorists.

It is now expected that the UK will produce 280,000 fully electric cars and vans in 2025, down from previous estimates of 360,000.

The forecast means only a quarter of car output will be electric within the next two years, lower than prior forecasts of more than a third.

In its latest report, the Advanced Propulsion Centre, which provides taxpayer funding to makers of zero-emissions vehicles, said the ‘uncertain economy’ was expected to push drivers towards cheaper car models for a longer period.

Declining production threatens to scupper a key government plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions, with the UK set to ban sales of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030.

The APC added a recovery in sales for 2030 was now ‘uncertain’ due to ongoing supply chain…

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The Man who would be King

History of Sorts

On January 8th 1935, two baby boys were born in Tupelo, Mississippi, to Vernon Elvis and Gladys Love, Jesse Garon Presley and 35 minutes later Elvis Aaron Presley. Jesse Garon was a stillborn, Elvis would live to become the Man who would be King.

Elvis’ first name comes from his father, Vernon Elvis Presley. However, the origins of Vernon’s middle name remain unclear to this day. One theory is that the name was an homage to a 6th-century Irish saint.

Elvis’ first big hit, “Heartbreak Hotel,” was inspired by a newspaper article about a man who killed himself by jumping from a hotel window in Florida. His suicide note read, “I walk a lonely street.”

On his 11th birthday, Elvis was really hoping for a new bike (some say a rifle), but much to his disappointment, was given a guitar instead.

Elvis Presley met Richard Nixon on December 21, 1970…

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good point

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Tough Year for Investing (with one little-known, totally safe exception)

Economist Writing Every Day

There’s still a few more days left in the year, but at this point it is safe to say, unfortunately, that it was a very bad year for investing. This Google chart shows most of the bad news. Note: nothing in this post is investment advice about the future, just a summary of the past.

The S&P 500, the typical benchmark for US equities, was down 20%. Bonds, usually a safe haven, were down over 14% as measured by the Vanguard Total Bond fund (more on bonds later).

Gold, the traditional hedge against bad times, was flat. I guess that’s not so bad. But gold is also traditionally considered a hedge against inflation, and inflation will probably end up being somewhere in the range of 5-7% this year (depending on your preferred index). So in real terms, even gold was down. And the supposed new hedge against fiat currency? Bitcoin…

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Xmas message

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College Major, Marriage, and Children Update

Economist Writing Every Day

In a May post I described a paper my student my student had written on how college majors predict the likelihood of being married and having children later in life.

Since then I joined the paper as a coauthor and rewrote it to send to academic journals. I’m now revising it to resubmit to a journal after referee comments. The best referee suggestion was to move our huge tables to an appendix and replace them with figures. I just figured out how to do this in Stata using coefplot, and wanted to share some of the results:

Points represent marginal effects of coefficient estimates from Logit regressions estimating the effect of college major on marriage rates relative to non-college-graduates. All regressions control for sex, race, ethnicity, age, and state of residence. MarriedControls additionally controls for personal income, family income, employment status, and number of children. Married (blue points) includes…

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Gender wage gaps

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Masks and Covid lockdowns driven by politics not science

No Minister

You should read this article by the co author of a book on the pandemic with Matt Hancock, former UK Minister of Health during the pandemic. It is utterly revealing that the reaction was driven by politics from non medical professionals rather than “the science”. It is clear that the US reaction was driven by a similar kind of anti trump political reaction rather than genuine medical sceince.

As early as 3 February 2020 – long before anyone outside the Department of Health was taking the prospect of a pandemic seriously – ministers were told the masks make no significant difference. In April 2020, the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag) reiterated this advice. At the end of that month, the Sage committee said much the same thing, telling ministers that it would be unreasonable to claim a large benefit. An ‘obsessed’ Cummings was the driving force…

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#endcoal #globalwarming #climateemergency

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Fight for $15? $25? $40?

An amazing case of expressive politics and political rhetoric. I’m not so sure the campaign would have worked if it said fight to double the minimum wage rather than fight for 15

Economist Writing Every Day

Remember the “Fight for $15”? It’s a 10-year-old movement to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour. While there hasn’t been any increase in the federal minimum wage since the movement began in 2012, plenty of states and localities have done so.

I won’t rehash the entire debate on the minimum wage here, but I will point you to this post from Joy on large minimum wage changes, and here are several other posts on this blog on the same topic. But lately I have seen an increasing call for even larger minimum wage increases, well beyond $15.

A prominent recent call for a higher wage comes from the SEIU, the second largest labor union in the nation. They are calling for a $25 minimum wage in Chicago, where the legal minimum wage just recently crossed $15 last year. Again, without getting into the detailed debates about…

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The Counsellors of State Bill: an elegant solution, but a temporary one

The Constitution Unit Blog

The House of Lords yesterday debated the merits of the Counsellors of State Bill, which seeks to add Princess Anne and Prince Edward to the list of people that can act when the monarch is unable to do so. As Craig Prescott explains, this is a neat solution, but a temporary one.

The start of a new reign inevitably brings change to the monarchy. One specific change is that the monarch will once again travel overseas, including visits to some of the 14 other countries that also have a new head of state.

But what about the monarch’s constitutional and legal role while they are away? This role includes the granting of royal assent to legislation, appointment of ministers, ratification of treaties, and appointment of judges and diplomats. Many of these functions require the personal signature of the monarch (the royal sign manual), or in the case of holding Privy…

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Seven Ways Climate Reparations Are Absurd

Science Matters

Dan Hannan explains at Washington ExaminerDemands for ‘climate reparations’ are laughable Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

The demands for climate reparations from wealthy countries are so absurd, so unscientific, and so offensive to natural justice that it is difficult to know where the criticism should begin.

The argument is that, since countries that industrialized earlier produced a lot of carbon a hundred years ago, they now owe a debt to poorer states. Naturally, this argument appeals to assorted Marxists, anti-colonialists, and shakedown artists, and COP27 has been dominated by insolent demands for well-run states to pony up.

Some, including Austria, Belgium, and Denmark, have capitulated. No doubt others will follow. These days, once something is framed as poor-versus-rich or darker-skinned-versus-lighter-skinned or ex-colony-versus-ex-colonizer, the pressure becomes irresistible. Nevertheless, it is worth running through the absurdities in play.

First, the claims are rooted in indignation rather than science.

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