Business & Economy


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  • David Cay Johnston is a Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative reporter who previously worked at The New York Times. He’s the founder and editor of His most recent book is It’s Even Worse Than You Think: What the Trump Administration Is Doing to America. This interview has been edited and condensed.
  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Thursday encountered a blitz of questions from House Democrats seeking to establish a legal basis for requesting President Donald Trump's tax returns.
  • The Commerce Department said Wednesday that — despite more than two years of President Trump’s “America First” policies — the United States last year posted a $891.2 billion merchandise trade deficit, the largest in the nation’s 243-year history.
  • We’ve seen this movie before. There is widespread frustration with the performance of the economy. Traditional policy approaches are not delivering hoped-for results. A relatively unpopular president is loathed to an unusual extent by a frustrated opposition party that lost the previous presidential election while running a pillar of its establishment. And altered economic conditions have led to the development of new economic ideas that reflect a significant break with previous orthodoxy.
  • May 09 2017
    Free Lunch for Everyone
    The first thing you notice about Utopia for Realists, the new book that argues that money should be free and a 15-hour work week sounds about right, is its tone. Writer Rutger Bregman is cheerful, optimistic, imaginative, welcoming, funny and economical – the opposite of most of our political books, which tend to be fulminating, accusatory, combative and narrow-minded, and all of these things across far too many pages.
  • President Donald Trump, who has vowed to stop U.S. manufacturing from disappearing overseas, is seeking job-creation advice from at least six companies that are laying off thousands of workers as they shift production abroad. Caterpillar Inc.(CAT.N), United Technologies Corp.(UTX.N), Dana Inc.(DAN.N), 3M Co.(MMM.N), Timken Co.(TKR.N) and General Electric Co.(GE.N), are offshoring work to Mexico, China, India and other countries, according to a Reuters review of U.S. Labor Department records. (Graphic:
  • On August 26th, Colin Kaepernick, a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, refused to stand for the national anthem, as a protest against police brutality. Since then, he’s been attacked by just about everyone—politicians, coaches, players, talk-radio hosts, veterans’ groups. But the harshest criticism has come from Bay Area police unions. The head of the San Francisco police association lambasted his “naïveté” and “total lack of sensitivity,” and called on the 49ers to “denounce” the gesture. The Santa Clara police union said that its members, many of whom provide security at 49ers games, might refuse to go to work if no action was taken against Kaepernick. A work stoppage to punish a player for expressing his opinion may seem extreme.
  • Kicking off her fall campaign for the White House, Hillary Clinton used her first post-convention rally Friday to stress the "stark choice" voters will face in November between her and Republican rival Donald Trump. "There's no doubt in my mind that every election is important in its own way, but I can't think of an election that was more important in my lifetime," the Democrat told thousands of supporters in the first stop of a three-day bus tour through the Rust Belt battlegrounds of Pennsylvania and Ohio.
  • As Trump readies his pitch to "make America work," he's got one problem: It's already working.
  • They'd raise $1.1 trillion, almost all from rich people.
  • President Barack Obama on Friday rejected relentless Republican criticism of his economic leadership, saying his policies are paying off in "big tangible ways" and anyone who doesn't acknowledge that is "not telling the truth." With some of the remaining GOP presidential candidates accusing one another of lying, Obama stopped short of accusing them of doing the same regarding his record. He bristled at their claims that the economy remains weak and cited 71 consecutive months of job creation and an unemployment rate that has fallen by more than half to 4.9 percent.
  • U.S. job openings surged in December and the number of Americans voluntarily quitting work hit a nine-year high, pointing to labor market strength despite a slowdown in economic growth. The signs of a robust jobs market could ease concerns about the health of the economy, which were underscored by other reports on Tuesday showing a drop in small business confidence in January to a two-year low and further declines in wholesale inventories.
  • The most important fact about Monday’s oral argument before the U.S. Supreme Court in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association is that this case—one of the most important of the term—will be decided on the basis of no facts at all. The petitioners in Friedrichs are asking the Court to hobble unions that represent more than 9 million public employees in 23 states and the District of Columbia. That decision will have large consequences for those employees, for the states that employ them, and for the political system. But the Court will decide the case without, apparently, serious consideration of those effects.
  • The Federal Reserve is raising interest rates from record lows set at the depths of the 2008 financial crisis, a shift that heralds modestly higher rates on some loans. The Fed coupled its first rate hike in nine years with a signal that further increases will likely be made slowly as the economy strengthens further and inflation rises from undesirably low levels.
  • It's fairly well-established at this point that there's a robust scientific consensus about the threat of climate change. But analysts and journalists often say (or imply) that there's less of an economic consensus, that economists are leery of the actions recommended by scientists because of their cost. Is it true? It turns out there have been very few systematic surveys of economists' opinions on the subject, and the few that have been done suffer from methodological shortcomings.
  • U.S. employment increased at a healthy pace in November, in another sign of the economy's resilience, and will most likely be followed by the first Federal Reserve interest rate rise in a decade later this month. Nonfarm payrolls rose 211,000 last month, the U.S. Labor Department said on Friday. September and October data was revised to show 35,000 more jobs than previously reported.
  • Nov 23 2015
    The Paradoxical Politics of Inequality
    In a speech at the Center for American Progress last December, President Barack Obama declared that economic inequality was “the defining challenge of our time.” Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio have made it the centerpiece of their politics. In his announcement speech for his surprisingly successful presidential campaign, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders called “the issue of wealth and income inequality... the great moral issue of our time.” During the first Democratic debate, frontrunner Hillary Clinton pledged “to do everything I can to heal the divides … economically because there is too much inequality.”
  • On this week's episode of The Weeds, fellow Vox editor Dylan Matthews joins Matt Yglesias and me for what is certainly the most in-depth discussion of basic income ever broadcast. Would it really work to just give all Americans a base salary, regardless of whether they were employed? Also on this episode: a recap of the best policy tussles in the Republican debate and a fascinating white paper on why colleges don't punish cheaters — even when they get caught.
  • The national unemployment rate in October fell to 5 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday — the lowest mark of the Obama presidency. Politicians might battle over the "real" unemployment rate, but don't be fooled: The BLS data is trusted by economists, and Friday's new number is a key milestone for economic policy. Namely, 5 percent unemployment means we're on the edge of the 4.9 percent level that the Federal Reserve considers as necessary for "full employment," Sho Chandra writes for Bloomberg.
  • In a jobs report that may influence the Federal Reserve's decision on interest rates, the Labor Department says that 271,000 jobs were added in October. The unemployment rate fell slightly to 5 percent, according to the report from the agency's Bureau of Labor Statistics. It's the biggest one-month jobs gain in all of 2015, according to Bloomberg News, which adds that the strong result is one of the positive signs the Fed's economists "are looking for as they consider a year-end boost in borrowing costs."