From October 2013: “The Obamacare implosion is worse than you think”

That’s a title from an oped by former GW Bush speechwriter and current AEI scholar Marc Thiessen nearly a year ago. We can now evaluate whether in fact the implementation of individual insurance mandate component of the ACA did implode. From “New Data Show Early Progress in Expanding Coverage, with More Gains to Come,” White House blog today:

Continue reading

“Facts are Stupid Things”

As Ronald Reagan once said (although he did mean to say “stubborn”)

Regarding the implications of optimal currency area theory and Scottish independence, Reader Patrick Sullivan continues his reign of error, trying to argue that Canada did just fine, just like a bank crisis-free Scotland in a currency union would:

Canada didn’t have a central bank until sometime in the 1930s, and had a less severe depression than the USA.

Well, with a little help from Louis Johnston, (who knows economic history much better than I), I generate the following plot:

can_us_percapita

Figure 1: Log per capita income in 1990 International dollars for Canada (blue) and United States (red), normalized to 1929=0. Source: Maddison and author’s calculations.

I dunno, but these seem to be comparable declines in output. So, yes, no central bank operating until 1935 [1] (p.22), but no, Canada suffers a pretty big shock (Canada on a de facto gold standard until 1931 (p.21)).

It constantly amazes me how people make easily falsifiable statements with such astounding confidence…

So, I think Scotland should consider very carefully independence conjoined with monetary union with England.

Reading Macro Data: Growth Rates, Annual Rates, Data Breaks

Newcomers to macro often encounter problems in interpreting and using data. The first is how to report growth rates, particularly when trying to assess the current state of the economy. The second is how to read data reported at annual vs. quarterly vs. monthly rates. The third is accounting for the presence of breaks in data collection. (This post primarily for students in Econ 435 and Public Affairs 854.)

Continue reading