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Economics Explored Live

Livestream featuring US jobless claims, Aussie GDP + farewell to Tony Makin

I did a livestream earlier today (Friday 3 December 2021) with my regular co-host Tim Hughes on the latest economic news of the week, including the latest US initial jobless claims confirming a strong US economy, the impact of the omicron COVID-variant on equity markets, and the September quarter Australian GDP figures which revealed the adverse impacts of NSW and Victorian lockdowns. You can click on and watch the video on YouTube below. You can also download the slides I showed.  

In the livestream, from around 22:05, I reflected on the late Professor Tony Makin’s contributions to the Australian economic policy debate, particularly on whether we should worry about the current account deficit in the late 80s/early 90s and on the effectiveness of the Rudd Government’s fiscal stimulus. On the current account deficit, Tony’s articles, along with the contributions of John Pitchford, clearly led to a change in the policy consensus on the current account, so it was no longer something that would be a macroeconomic policy target. Sadly, Tony died unexpectedly earlier this week. This came as a huge shock to so many of us, and it’s obvious from all the conversations I’ve had about Tony over the last few days just how much respect and admiration his colleagues and former students had for him. Tony’s funeral is on Monday on the Gold Coast (see notice below). 

Funeral notice for the late Griffith University Economics Professor Tony Makin, who will be greatly missed by his family, friends, colleagues, and former students.

Please get in touch with any questions, comments and suggestions by emailing us at contact@economicsexplored.com or sending a voice message via https://www.speakpipe.com/economicsexplored. Economics Explored is available via Apple PodcastsGoogle Podcast, and other podcasting platforms.

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Podcast episode

EP114 – Tax rules benefiting tech titans and hedge fund managers

Controversial US tax rules mean that tech titans and hedge fund managers can pay arguably a relatively low amount of tax, as Steve Rosenthal, Senior Fellow at the Urban Institute, explains to show host Gene Tunny in Economics Explored episode 114. Steve also talks with Gene about former President Trump’s tax affairs in this episode.

About this episode’s guest – Steven M. Rosenthal

Steve Rosenthal, a senior fellow in the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center at the Urban Institute, researches, speaks, and writes on a range of federal income tax issues, with a particular focus on business taxes. In 2013, he was the staff director of the DC Tax Revision Commission.

Before joining Urban, Rosenthal practiced tax law in Washington, DC, for over 25 years, most recently as a partner at Ropes and Gray. He was a legislation counsel with the Joint Committee on Taxation, where he helped draft tax rules for financial institutions, financial products, capital gains, and related areas. He is the former chair of the Taxation Section of the District of Columbia Bar Association.

Rosenthal holds an AB and JD from the University of California, Berkeley, and an MPP from Harvard University.

Tax Fairness: President Donald Trump, a Case Study (Steve’s testimony before the U.S. House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee)

Buy, borrow, die: How rich Americans live off their paper wealth (WSJ article)

Thanks to the show’s audio engineer Josh Crotts for his assistance in producing the episode. 

Please get in touch with any questions, comments and suggestions by emailing us at contact@economicsexplored.com or sending a voice message via https://www.speakpipe.com/economicsexplored. Economics Explored is available via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcast, and other podcasting platforms.

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Economics Explored Live

US inflation and Aussie jobs data – 15 October 21 livestream

Economics Explored Live for 15 October 2021, the first edition of what I’m planning to be a weekly livestream, covered:

  • the growing concern internationally about accelerating inflation, prompted by the latest US CPI figures (see chart below;
  • the September ABS Labour Force data revealing big drops in hours worked and workforce participation in the locked-down economies of NSW and Victoria; and
  • my state of Queensland’s relatively low vaccination rate (72% for 1st dose vs 84% nationally) and what it could mean for the state’s reopening and the economy – it’s pretty obvious the Queensland Premier should set a date for re-opening ASAP to encourage people to get vaccinated promptly, as suggested by the Queensland branch of the Australian Medical Association.

Here’s the video of the livestream, which was streamed to YouTube and LinkedIn Live:

Regarding inflationary pressures in advanced economies, I quoted leading market economist Stephen Roach from his recent Financial Times op-ed The sequencing trap that risks stagflation 2.0:

As brilliant and lucky as they have been, today’s generation of central bankers is afflicted with the same sense of denial that proved problematic in the 1970s. Due to a lack of experience and institutional memory of that tough period, the risk of another monetary policy blunder cannot be taken lightly.

Certainly, central banks have been running a massive monetary policy experiment with ultra-low interest rates and Quantitative Easing, which have been associated with double-digit growth rates in money stocks. I agree with Roach regarding the potential for a “monetary policy blunder”.

Other links relevant to the livestream include:

Pete Faulkner’s post Labour Force; national data hit by lockdowns while QLD powers ahead

QEW post featuring my The Other Side interview on Australia’s economic suicide

Vaccination numbers and statistics

ABS: New data shows lockdown impacts on business turnover

Cross-posted at http://www.queenslandeconomywatch.com. Please get in touch with any questions, comments and suggestions by emailing us at contact@economicsexplored.com. Economics Explored is available via Apple PodcastsGoogle Podcast, and other podcasting platforms.

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Podcast episode

EP106 – COVID lockdowns, vaccine mandates, and vaping with Dr Gilbert Berdine

A Texas physician, university lecturer in medicine, and affiliate of a free market think tank Gilbert Berdine MD explains why he thinks COVID lockdowns have been “a disaster” and why he does not support vaccine mandates.

At a time when the COVID pandemic continues, and cities such as Sydney and Melbourne remain locked down, Gilbert Berdine MD from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center shares his views on lockdowns and vaccine mandates with show host Gene Tunny. The conversation also explores Dr Berdine’s views on regulations regarding vaping or e-cigarettes.

About this episode’s guest – Gilbert G. Berdine MD

Associate Professor of Internal Medicine, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock, TX

Faculty Affiliate, Free Market Institute, Lubbock, TX

Dr. Berdine earned his B.S. degrees in chemistry and life sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA and his M.D. degree from Harvard University School of Medicine in Boston, MA. He completed residency in Internal Medicine and fellowship in Pulmonary Diseases at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital (now called Brigham and Women’s Hospital) in Boston, MA.

Dr. Berdine was a faculty member at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in San Antonio from 1983-1989. He was in the private practice of medicine from 1989-2009 when he returned to academia as a faculty member of TTUHSC.

Dr. Berdine’s current teaching activities include lecturer for the respiratory blocks in the 1st year Major Organ Systems course and the 2nd year Systems Disorders 1 course. His clinical duties include staff attending physician for the inpatient Pulmonary Consult Service, inpatient Internal Medicine Floor Service, and the outpatient Pulmonary Fellow Clinic. He also sees patients in the Pulmonary Clinic for Texas Tech Physicians.

Dr. Berdine’s research interests include the application of Austrian Economics to health care delivery and consumption. Dr. Berdine has published articles on these topics in peer reviewed journals and is a contributor to the Mises Daily Wire and the American Institute of Economic Research.

Contact: gilbert.berdine@ttuhsc.edu

Links relevant to the conversation

COVID-19 Vaccines and the Delta Variant – AIER article by Gilbert Berdine MD

Lockdowns of Young People Lead to More Deaths from Covid-19 – AIER article by Gilbert Berdine MD

Covid Misclassification: What Do the Data Suggest? – AIER article by Gilbert Berdine MD

Sometimes hesitancy is justified by Gilbert Berdine MD

Vaping Laws and the Treachery of Good Intentions by Gilbert Berdine MD

EP100 – Incentivizing Vaccinations or Cash for Jabs

Correspondence from Dr Berdine on COVID mortality rates

…the mortality rate has a range of over 1000:1 depending on your age. The average mortality is heavily determined by the number of people over age 80 in the population. 

Based on latest census data and current CDC figures for COVID deaths

https://www.census.gov/data/tables/2019/demo/age-and-sex/2019-age-sex-composition.html

https://data.cdc.gov/NCHS/Provisional-COVID-19-Deaths-by-Sex-and-Age/9bhg-hcku

Mortality expressed as 1/mortality : 

Age: Mortality

Under 5: 124,126

5 to 14: 283,027

15 to 24: 32,461

25 to 34: 7,850

35 to 44: 2,845

45 to 54: 1,087

55 to 64: 475

65 to 74: 213

75 to 84: 87

85 +: 31

Cumulative Age

Under 5: 124,126

Under 15: 199,917

Under 25: 64,258

Under 35: 20,120

Under 45: 8,681

Under 55: 3,880

So, for 35 and younger, the cumulative mortality including the overcounting is less than 1/10,000. If one looks at annual mortality, the figure  for Under 45 including overcounting is likely less than 1/10,000. If one adjusts modestly for overcounting, the  figure for Under 55 is likely less than 1/10,000.

Please get in touch with any questions, comments and suggestions by emailing us at contact@economicsexplored.com. Economics Explored is available via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcast, and other podcasting platforms.

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Podcast episode

EP99 – Carbon border taxes

The European Union intends to impose a carbon border tax and the US is also considering one. What’s the justification for a carbon border tax and what could it mean for international trade? Episode 99 of Economics Explored features a conversation regarding the European Union’s proposed Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM), i.e. a carbon border tax, between show host Gene Tunny and his colleague Ben Scott, Research Officer at Adept Economics.

Links relevant to the conversation:

https://adepteconomics.com.au/what-does-the-eus-carbon-border-tax-mean-for-australia/

https://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.812870.de/dp1935.pdf

https://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/f52d7587-8103-49a3-aeb6-651885fa6095/files/summary-australias-2030-emissions-reduction-target.pdf

Please get in touch with any questions, comments and suggestions by emailing us at contact@economicsexplored.com. Economics Explored is available via Apple PodcastsGoogle Podcast, and other podcasting platforms.

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Podcast episode

EP98 – Political legitimacy with Prof. Phillip LeBel

In Risk and the State, Professor Phillip LeBel argues the political legitimacy of governments worldwide is “under trial from questions of borders and national identity, from rising economic inequality, from the way in which information is gathered, managed, and disseminated, and from varying perceptions of risk.”

In EP98 on political legitimacy, host Gene Tunny interviews  Prof. Phillip LeBel about his new book published earlier this year by Brown Walker Press: Risk and the State: How Economics and Neuroscience Shape Political Legitimacy to Address Geopolitical, Environmental, and Health Risks for Sustainable Governance.  

Phillip LeBel is Emeritus Professor of Economics at Montclair State University, NJ. With a career combining academic research and teaching with professional consulting, Professor LeBel has accumulated a record of economic expertise in a variety of domestic and international fields. Over the years, he has lived in and/or worked in 30 countries, including Africa, East Asia, Central America, and Latin America.

Please get in touch with any questions, comments and suggestions by emailing us at contact@economicsexplored.com. Economics Explored is available via Apple PodcastsGoogle Podcast, and other podcasting platforms.

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Podcast episode

EP89 – CPI inflation concerns with Darren Brady Nelson

There are growing concerns over CPI inflation after all the money printing associated with the pandemic response.

Episode 89 of Economics Explored features a conversation on just how worried we should be about future inflation in this time of MMT and QE between Economics Explored host Gene Tunny and returning guest Darren Brady Nelson, chief economist of the Australian libertarian think tank LibertyWorks and a policy adviser to the Heartland Institute.
Charts of data referred to in this episode:

Charts on CPI, money supply, US 10 year bond yield, and asset prices

This is the classic book by Milton Friedman and Anna J. Schwartz mentioned in this episode:

A Monetary History of the United States, 1867-1960

Please send through any questions, comments, or suggestions to contact@economicsexplored.com and we will aim to address them in an upcoming episode. Alternatively, please leave a comment on this post.

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Podcast episode

EP68 – COVID and Wartime: Comparison of economic impacts

Economics Explored episode 68 COVID and Wartime features a conversation on whether COVID can be compared to wartime, which considers the different scales and scopes of the shocks, and what it all means for prospects for economic recovery. Economics Explored host Gene Tunny, an Australian professional economist and former Treasury official, speaks with businessman Tim Hughes, also based in Brisbane, Australia.

Gene and Tim conclude that a comparison of COVID to wartime isn’t valid. One reason is that World War II required a complete reorganisation of the economy to maximise production for the war effort, while COVID has involved restrictions that have reduced economic activity. 

Links relevant to the conversation include:

Comparing COVID-19 to past world war efforts is premature — and presumptuous

US Council on Foreign Relations Backgrounder on The National Debt Dilemma

Brookings on What’s the Fed doing in response to the COVID-19 crisis? What more could it do?

Australia’s Boldest Experiment (excellent book on Australia’s wartime economy)

Robert Gordon’s The Rise and Fall of American Growth (outstanding book by a leading US economist containing a great discussion of America’s wartime economy)

Aussies over-confident after being over-compensated by Gov’t for COVID-recession

Mint security lapse amazes judge (story about theft from the Australian Mint in early-to-mid 2000s)

Finally, the word Gene got stuck on at 6:55, irredentist, means, “a person advocating the restoration to their country of any territory formerly belonging to it”, according to Oxford Languages.

If you’d like to ask a question for Gene to answer in a future episode or if you’d like to make a comment or suggestion, please get in touch via the website. Thanks for listening.

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Podcast episode

EP67 – Regulating Big Tech

It’s been a challenging year 2020, but one positive development is that regulators in the US and Australia have started challenging the Big Tech companies Google and Facebook over alleged misuses of market power. The US Department of Justice is taking on Google over its search dominance and the Federal Trade Commission is taking on Facebook over allegedly restricting competition by buying up potential competitors such as Instagram and WhatsApp. In Australia, the Media Bargaining Code designed to assist traditional media companies negotiate for a share of ad revenue with Big Tech is currently being considered by a Senate committee. In my latest Economics Explored podcast episode Regulating Big Tech, I provide an update on moves by governments and regulators, and I discuss the relevant economic concepts and policy issues.

Links relevant to the conversation include:

Joseph Stiglitz on Regulating Big Tech

Don’t Be Evil: The case against big tech by Rana Foroohar

Australian Treasury Laws Amendment (News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code) Bill 2020

Economics Explored EP58: Tech Giants challenged by the Media and Governments

Economics Explored EP22: Antitrust with Danielle Wood from the Grattan Institute

Economics Explored EP21: Surveillance Capitalism with Darren Brady Nelson

Economics Explored EP16: Big Economic issues for the 2020s