• Third Consecutive Month of Deflation as CPI Falls 0.1 Percent in June

    The Consumer Price Index fell 0.1 percent in June.  This is the third consecutive month of deflation in the broad measure of prices as energy prices continue to fall.  The core index of inflation rose 0.2 percent in the month for the first time in nine months. Energy prices had increased nearly 20 percent over […]

  • The Impact of Social Security Cuts on Retiree Income

    Executive Summary: There has been a serious push in policy circles to cut Social Security benefits for near- and/or current retirees.  The argument for such cuts has been based on the deficits in the federal budget; the finances of the Social Security program have been at most a secondary consideration. However, the finances of the […]

  • US Economy: Second Consecutive Month of Deflation

    The consumer price index fell again in May — 0.2 percent — as energy prices fell for the fourth consecutive month.  The overall index has now fallen at a 0.7 percent annualized rate since February.  The core CPI rose 0.1 percent in the month and at a 0.1 percent annualized rate over the last three. […]

  • Does the Cato Institute Understand How Government Debt Works?

    Sunday, the Cato Institute’s Michael Tanner wrote, “[T]he Trust Fund contains no actual assets.  The government bonds it holds are simply a form of IOU, a measure of how much money the government owes the system.  It says nothing about where the government will get the money to pay back those IOUs.” This is no […]

  • Social Security and the Age of Retirement

    Excerpt: The first half of the twentieth century saw extraordinary gains in the life expectancy at birth (for men, nearly 22 years; for women, nearly 21 years).  But such improvements did not translate directly into longer retirements.  Life expectancy at age 65 for men increased less than five years over this time; for women, about […]

  • Clearing Up Some Facts about the Depression of 1946

    The Cato Institute wishes to erase away an entire recession: “You never heard of it because it never happened.  However, the ‘Depression of 1946’ may be one of the most widely predicted events that never happened in American history.”  But the facts are simply not on their side. If true, this would have been a […]

  • Little Threat of Inflation

    Falling energy prices pushed down the consumer price index 0.1 percent in the month of April.  After rising 2.7 percent from January of 2009 to January of 2010, consumer prices were unchanged over the first three months of this year.  Core prices were unchanged in April.  Inflation in the core index has risen at a […]

  • Broken Health Care System Is Behind Deficit

    The Heritage Foundation recently expressed concern that “unless entitlement spending is reined in, it will consume all federal revenue in just 42 years, with nothing left over for defense.” Interestingly, Heritage made no mention of why entitlement spending is projected to rise so quickly.  The fact is that the federal government is projected to spend […]

  • Real Hourly Wage Falls in March

    The Consumer Price Index rose 0.1 percent in March.  Inflation stands at 0.9 percent annualized since December.  With the hourly wage of production workers falling by 0.2 cents over the month, the real wage has fallen at a 2 percent annualized rate, and remained flat over the last three months. Core prices remained unchanged in […]

  • Falling Commodity Prices Hold Down Inflation

    Consumer prices were unchanged in February amidst falling prices for energy.  The CPI has now grown at a 1.4 percent annualized rate over the last three months, while the core rose 0.1 percent in the month.  Falling energy prices appeared in all stages of production. Medical care prices rose 0.5 percent again in February, and […]

  • Core Prices Fall for the First Time in 27 Years

    The consumer price index rose 0.2 percent in January as energy prices continue to drive a wedge between the overall and core rates.  Energy prices jumped 2.8 percent (a 40 percent annualized rate) in January.  The core index of inflation, however, fell 0.1 percent in the month — the first such fall in 27 years. […]

  • Are Shorter Work Hours Good for the Environment?  A Comparison of U.S. and European Energy Consumption

    Variation in Work Hours among Countries It is well known that Europe lags behind the United States in terms of GDP per capita.  However, it is less well known that European workers in a number of countries are nearly as productive, and in some cases more productive, than their American counterparts.  As seen in Table […]

  • Taming the Deficit: Saving Our Children from Themselves

    Understanding the Deficit One of the most popular causes among Washington political insiders is reducing the budget deficit.  The conventional story in these circles is that current and projected future deficits will place an unbearable burden on future generations.  Their argument is that the need to reduce the deficit is a question of intergenerational equity. […]

  • Real Wages Fall amidst Mounting Job Losses

    The headline CPI rose 0.2 percent in September, down from 0.4 percent in August in large part due to falling rent.  The core CPI ticked up to 0.1 percentage points to 0.2 percent last month.  In the last three months, the overall CPI rose at a 2.5 percent annual rate. Rent and owners’ equivalent rent, […]

  • Unemployment Climbs to 9.4 Percent, Rate of Job Loss Continues to Slow Moderately

    Though employment losses have slowed in May, many sectors have already lost large numbers of jobs over this recession and therefore have fewer jobs left to lose. The economy lost another 345,000 jobs in May.  For the first time in a year, there were upward revisions to the past months’ data, with March and April’s […]

  • Troubled Assets: The IMF’s Latest Projections for Economic Growth in the Western Hemisphere

    The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has published its latest projections for economic growth around the world.1  At first glance, the IMF projections for Latin America seem unlikely.  The IMF has a lengthy record of biased projections of growth in the region2 and has been consistently underestimating growth in countries such as Argentina and Venezuela, which […]

  • The Wealth of the Baby Boom Cohorts after the Collapse of the Housing Bubble

    Executive Summary This paper makes projections of wealth for 2009 for the baby boom cohorts (ages 45 to 54 and ages 55-64) using data from the 2004 Survey of Consumer Finance.  It updates an earlier paper on this topic from June of 2008 using projections for housing and stock values that are more plausible given […]