Policy Uncertainty Six Months, A.T.*

*  “After Trump” .

Figure 1: US Economic Policy Uncertainty index (news) (blue, left scale), US Trade Policy Uncertainty categorical index (red, right scale), both monthly averages of daily data. NBER defined recession dates shaded gray, NBER peak at dashed line; orange denotes Trump administration. Source: policyuncertainty.com, and NBER.

Part of this decline in uncertainty could be attributable to the economic management team.

59 thoughts on “Policy Uncertainty Six Months, A.T.*

  1. Moses Herzog


    Do you have that trademarked?? Because if you don’t I want to steal that from you.

  2. EConned

    “Part of this decline in uncertainty could be attributable to the economic management team.” It “could” but I doubt that it does. My guess is that Trump alone was the reason for the increase in these measures of uncertainty. Appointees are merely lackeys and a byproduct of the elected official who directs the overall tenor of policy and ESPECIALLY so during Trump’s tenure. Surprisingly, it seems the US Economic Policy Uncertainty index during the first term of the Obama administration was higher and more variable than during the Trump administration (obviously comparing pre-Pandemic). Unsurprisingly, Trump’s views on trade resulted in US Trade Policy Uncertainty categorical index to go crazy.

    1. pgl

      Well Trump’s appointees were mere lackeys but most Presidents have very competent economists on their teams. Now if you knew a lick about economics and who these people are – you would not have written such a stupid comment.

      1. EConned

        pgl –
        Even though “most Presidents have very competent economists on their teams” that doesn’t render my statement “a stupid comment” and it certainly doesn’t justify what spews from your childish and bellicose little mouth. As I was clear in stating, it’s “the elected official who directs the overall tenor of policy.”
        I see you’re still unable/unwilling to provide any fruitful input and are again desperately seeking my attention. Deflection and/or obfuscation is the name of your game. Some things never seem to change.

        1. pgl

          childish and bellicose little mouth? Now that has to hurt coming from the little child who is the King of bellicose. No – you are nothing but a little troll. Now relax and go make up to the other kiddies in your sand box.

          1. EConned

            pgl – So you’re still seeking my attention while providing nothing of substance – you’re shooting par.

          2. pgl

            “So you’re still seeking my attention” I have zero need for the attention of dumba$$ trolls but I will call out anyone who refers to Christina Romer as a
            lackey”. Or do you have a clue what your own term even means. Maybe you do not. Or maybe you are so incredibly stupid you do not know who she is.

            OK if some rightwing President hired you to prostitute yourself you would be glad to. But not actual economists. So I would suggest you take responsibility for your dishonest slur. But I know you well enough by now that you take no responsibility for your disgusting trolling.

          1. Moses Herzog

            The obvious observation to make here (which I think strongly supports Professor Chinn’s contention) is, why didn’t the orange abomination fire Anthony Fauci or fire Jerome Powell??~~when it was obvious to everyone on planet Earth that he wanted to fire them both so very much. (We could extend that list I’m sure, those are two that popped into my substandard brain immediately).

            There were certainly TONS of policy folks the orange abomination wanted to fire and either didn’t or delayed firing from the time he actually wanted to fire them. Why would a “man” who pines very millisecond of the day to exhibit his power over his staff, delay firing them when he himself had “divined” the time to fire them was NOW?!?!?!?! There’s only at the most two answers to that question, which in reality is the same single answer to the question.

          2. EConned

            Who decides personnel? The same who decides policy. Ergo, “ it’s “the elected official who directs the overall tenor of policy.””

            But if you’re suggesting “personnel is policy” are you asserting that, as it relates to the US Economic Policy Uncertainty index, the personnel and policy of (pre-pandemic) Trump was better than that of 1st term B.O.?

          3. EConned

            Moses Herzog – Trump couldn’t fire Fauci (civil servant) and (likely) couldn’t have fired Powell (no “cause” to remove as a governor although demoting from chair less certain).

          4. pgl

            July 11, 2021 at 12:57 pm
            Who decides personnel? The same who decides policy.”

            Followed by ergo blah, blah, blah. Here is where we know Econned is an ambulance chasing attorney and not an economist. Yea – I have had to endure a lot of slime ball attorneys in my career (alas) and 95% of them are arrogant scum. 5% of them are intelligent professionals but there is zero chance that Econned is one of them.

    2. pgl

      “it seems the US Economic Policy Uncertainty index during the first term of the Obama administration was higher”

      Was it? Odd you did not provide a source for this. But maybe it was because they inherited the Great Recession from the previous Administration. What – you are so stupid that you did not know this?

      Christina Romer did and if you think she did not have an effect on Obama’s thinking, then you are dumber than even I gave you credit for. Your comment looks more and more stupid in light of your feeble defenses of it.

      1. EConned

        A source? The very graph Menzie linked to in this post. Please get your head out of my rear end and open your eyes…
        Honk! Honk! the pgl clown car has arrived, folks!!!

        1. pgl

          OK – now you have proved you cannot read a graph. The spike in that graph occurred under Trump not under Obama. But yea the ambulance chasing attorney that you are will word smith you way of defending that original bozo comment of yours. It is your forte!

          1. EConned

            No – you proved that you cannot read. Honk! Honk! Again and I quote:
            “ Surprisingly, it seems the US Economic Policy Uncertainty index during the first term of the Obama administration was higher and more variable than during the Trump administration (obviously comparing pre-Pandemic).”

            So what is it exactly that you don’t understand by “(obviously comparing pre-Pandemic)”? lmk

            So you first proved you didn’t read/comprehend Menzie’s graph and now you’re proving you didn’t read/comprehend my comment. Geez you are so embarrassing it’s comical – but that’s what clowns are – comical. Yes, folks, pglBozo will be here all day!!!!

    3. pgl

      “obviously comparing pre-Pandemic” and obviously attributing the Great Recession that began in Dec. 2007 to Obama. Econned is a clever boy. I bet he used to work for Cellino and Barnes!

      1. EConned

        You aren’t explaining why economic policy uncertainty was elevated and variable during Obama’s first 4-5 years. This was well after NBER deemed the recession over. Yes, the recession was jobless and its impact felt long after the beginning of an upturn but why was POLICY so UNCERTAIN for so long? Stop obfuscating and trying to play childish interwebz games and at least try to discuss the issue – I promise it isn’t difficult to fake an attempt at fruitful conversation – I do it with you all the time. Honk honk!!!

          1. EConned

            I didn’t remember – thanks for the reminder.

            I’m still surprised at how persistent the elevated nature of the index is during those 4-5 years and it doesn’t seem the debt ceiling is a “debate” throughout the year – just once a year when Rs deem it time to play that card. I’m sure that you have more links to speak to other non-seasonal factors.

          2. EConned

            Also, i remember Sen Shelby’s garbage in preventing the Peter Diamond nomination from gaining traction. Although Obama allowed the uncertainty of not having 7 full seats to continue throughout the majority of his 8 years by not providing nominees.

          3. pgl

            Econned says he did not remember debt ceiling fight/sequester/fiscal cliff and McConnell’s vow to make Obama a one-term president?

            A very selective memory I guess. I wonder if he remembers that Reagan got around to having Martin Feldstein and William Poole lead the CEA. I guess Econned thought they were lackeys too but most people would reject such a disgusting characterization of these two gentleman. Which of course was my point which Econned seems to dance around.

          4. baffling

            “and it doesn’t seem the debt ceiling is a “debate” throughout the year – just once a year when Rs deem it time to play that card. ”
            well, that is simply incorrect. either you are very ignorant of politics over the past decade, or simply fibbing.

          5. baffling

            actually, what is rude and unbecoming is for a commenter to completely be ignorant of a multiple year republican led obstruction of budget issues and then try to blame the resulting uncertainty on obama. makes you wonder what qualifications that commenter has to make economic statements to begin with.

    4. Menzie Chinn Post author

      EConned: Why compare pre-pandemic for Trump; you didn’t say “post-recession” for Obama.

      I can’t say that you are wrong that it was all Trump. However, as I read “Nightmare Scenario” in addition to the other volumes on the Trump administration, I can’t help but wonder if (1) there was no Hassett coming in to provide a quadratic estimate of cumulative deaths, or (2) no Peter Navarro pushing 232’s, or (3) no Kudlow promising “containment” whether uncertainty would be lower.

      1. EConned

        Simply because one was a ridiculously extreme outlier – sure Trump played a hand but any counterfactual to the pandemic is ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. I don’t say “post-recession” for Obama because the elevated and variable nature of the index is so persistent. Sure, the Great Recession was terrible and it’s impacts felt for quite a long time but I do find it interesting the uncertainty index remained elevated for such a long period after the Great Recession – no discernible downward trend during the recovery for nearly four full years. Although this very likely could be due to central banking and not fiscal policy that you seemingly want to attribute so much weight to. But you’re the one who loves the political finger pointing so I play along.

          1. EConned

            Oh ffs now you’re entering clown territory with your protege pgl. Hahahaha – your comment here is one to add to the blog’s topics on “great quotes”. Sheesh

          2. Moses Herzog

            It’s hard to beat cogent retorts like “ffs”, isn’t it?? At least EConned doesn’t “get emotional” so, he’s got that going for him. Even if EConned thinks schizophrenic EPU from a pure sociopath is the way to go. Sociopathic leadership beats having “one of those darkies” as your President. Ask any QAnon person or red MAGA dunce cap wearer and they’ll tell you.

          3. Barkley Rosser


            Basically I am not going to comment on your posts here, but on this one, well, just a simple rejoinder.

            You have now been arguing with Menzie Chinn at length here. But he has been right on every single point. There a lot of people who post ignorant and uninformed nonsense here, a long list.

            But this comment is over the top. No, I am not going to list the details of all the stuff where you have been simply dead wrong, whether out of stupidity, ignorance, or perhaps insanity (no, I doubt that one). But it is over the top.

            Menzie simply is way smarter than you and far more well informed than you are, especially regarding the matters.

          4. Econned

            Moses Herzog – how is it not obvious to you that I find Menzie’s comment funny? What about “ Hahahaha” do you find difficult to understand?

            Also, I’m appalled by your comment
            “Sociopathic leadership beats having “one of those darkies” as your President. Ask any QAnon person or red MAGA dunce cap wearer and they’ll tell you.”
            You should be ashamed of yourself and Menzie should have edited such a vile comment. You are yet another example of Menzie’s very disgusting guests.

          5. EConned

            Barkley Rosser – you’re adding nothing to the conversation. Zero. A complete waste of bytes. The energy that you wasted typing this hollow comment can’t be worth the marginal benefit to your shallow ego. How is my comment “over the top”? Get a life you faux-academic.

          6. Barkley Rosser


            You are the one going on and on and on here with nothing substantive at all, nothing.

            You went over the top when you called Menzie a “clown” for his point on the AR process, which was a substantive comment, far more so than anything you have done here, which has mostly been just swarm of baseless insults.

            Oh, and Econned. I am not a “faux academic.” I am here under my real name and my record is public and not “faux.” This is typical of you, an insult that is simply outright factually wrong, and blazingly so. Heck, I was named an outstanding faculty member by the State Council on Higher Education in Virginia. That is “faux”?

            So, what are you? A nobody hiding behind a fake name.

          7. EConned

            Barkley Rosser – hahahaha. “ Heck, I was named an outstanding faculty member by the State Council on Higher Education in Virginia. That is “faux”?” Might be the most hilarious comment I’ve read today. Yes, you’re a faux-academic. Not because of your name on a blog nor under my your public record nor because of some rusty award you’ve obtained. Your a faux-academic because you’re in academia and post garbage like your prior comment. Your panties are in a wad because I laughed at Menzie time-series statement and you claim that I have “been arguing with Menzie Chinn at length here” which is not true. I didn’t argue with him about this at all. I brought questions and acknowledged points made by Menzie that I had forgotten. Please point to where I was “ arguing with Menzie Chinn at length here” and do not confuse it with my arguing with PaGLiacci or Moses. I’ll wait for your faux-analysis.

  3. ltr


    July 11, 2021

    Over 1.37 bln doses of COVID-19 vaccines administered in China

    BEIJING — More than 1.37 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines had been administered in China as of Saturday, the National Health Commission announced on Sunday.

    [ Also, more than 500 million doses of Chinese vaccines have been distributed internationally. ]

    1. JohnH

      Since Sinovac requires 2 shots, roughly half of Chinese would now be fully vaccinated…about the same as in the US. However, given China’s large population, the challenge was much more daunting there.

    2. ltr

      More than 1.37 billion doses of Chinese vaccines have been administered in China, and since administration began in July 2020 the coronavirus has been controlled in China. Vaccine administration has proven remarkably safe. Coronavirus cases detected, whether symptomatic or asymptomatic, have been overwhelmingly imported, and even imported cases have been relatively few with immediate isolation and contact tracing following detection. There have been 2 coronavirus deaths in all in China since July 2020.


      July 11, 2021



      Cases ( 92,039)
      Deaths ( 4,636)

      Cases per million ( 64)
      Deaths per million ( 3)

      Internationally, Chinese vaccines have been approved by the World Health Organization and more than 500 million doses have been distributed to more than 100 countries. Chinese vaccines are now being produced in several countries.

  4. ltr


    July 10, 2021

    The Ascension of Bernie Sanders
    By Maureen Dowd

    BURLINGTON, Vt. — I want to talk to Bernie about Balenciaga. And Britney. And Dua Lipa, Sha’Carri Richardson and Joe Manchin’s houseboat. And whether he prefers red or white horseradish on his gefilte fish. And the state of capitalism, and the absurd price of a Birkin bag.

    We settle into a retro yellow booth at Henry’s Diner and I pull out a thick sheaf of questions. Eyeing it suspiciously, he asks with that booming Brooklyn accent, “You givin’ a speech?”

    He reaches into his shirt pocket and pulls out his own piece of paper, a list of items written in his loopy scrawl. These are the only things he’s here to talk about.

    At 79, Bernie Sanders is a man on a mission, laser-focused on a list that represents trillions of dollars in government spending that he deems essential. When I stray into other subjects, the senator jabs his finger at his piece of paper or waves it in my face, like Van Helsing warding off Dracula with a cross.

    “Maureen, let me just tell you what we’re trying to do here,” he says. “We’re working on what I think is the most consequential piece of legislation for working families since the 1930s.”

    Sanders, long a wilderness prophet in Washington, a man who wrote a memoir bragging about being an outsider, admits that it is strange to be a key member of The Establishment. As the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, the democratic socialist is now pulling the levers in the control room.

    He has changed the whole debate in the nation’s capital. He is the guy trying to yank his party back to its working-class roots and steer President Biden in a bolder, more progressive direction.

    Mirabile dictu: A president and senator who are both pushing 80, men who were underestimated and dismissed for years in Democratic circles, are now teaming up to transform the country. It’s the Bernie and Joe show.

    Sanders passionately believes that the only way to undo the damage done by Donald Trump and Trumpism is by showing that government can deliver, that good policy can overcome dangerous conspiracy theories and lies.

    “I would have loved to run against him, to tell you the truth,” he says of Trump. “He’s a fraud and he’s a phony. That’s what he is, and he has to be exposed for that.”

    Even with Trump out of office, Sanders feels we are still on the precipice. Democrats need to speak to the struggles of the white working class, he says, something that “sometimes part of the Democratic elite does not fully appreciate.” He adds: “We’ve got to take it to them. I intend, as soon as I have three minutes, to start going into Trumpworld and start talking to people.”

    “It’s absolutely imperative if democracy is to survive that we do everything that we can to say, ‘Yes, we hear your pain and we are going to respond to your needs.’ That’s really what this is about….

    1. pgl

      Moses could have told everyone to skip to page 45 of this document as the first half of it was the bloviating of Alito et al. Kagan’s dissent is indeed excellent and it starts on page 45 of this document.

      Then again if you enjoy the long winded rants of Uncle Moses and his alter ego Econned, read the entire damn thing!

      1. Moses Herzog

        One is left wondering if your reading is on the level [edited – MDC] child. Not everyone has this problem, so all they have to do is look for the page which is labeled page 1 in the upper right, and on all 41 pages following says at the top of the page “Kagan, J., dissenting.” Difficult for commenter pgl, but not anyone vacant of the need for antipsychotic meds to achieve anything above 45% read comprehension.

        pgl, I’m very curious, what page did you get down to before realizing it wasn’t the dissenting opinion??

        1. pgl

          You have zero self awareness. This long winded babbling of yours is why most people just skip your generally worthless babble.

          Yea the Kagan dissent was worth reading so sue me for helping everyone else save a little time. And of course any criticism is little boy Moses gets him all emotional Econned style!

  5. ltr


    July 10, 2021

    ‘Mother, When Will You Come?’: The Covid Orphans of India
    Thousands of children lost their parents during a calamitous wave of infections. While the government is vowing to help them, many face the risk of neglect and exploitation when the attention fades.
    By Suhasini Raj

    PATTAPUR, India — In a small, colorfully painted house on India’s eastern coast, G. Sonali Reddy cooks meals and feeds her younger siblings by day and rocks them to sleep at night, hoping to assuage their fears, just as her mother would.

    Sonali, still a child at 14, is her family’s caretaker….

  6. ltr


    July 11, 2021

    One Village Quelled the Virus. The Next Was Overrun. It’s a Bad Sign for India.
    The uneven response to India’s catastrophic second wave, coupled with widespread vaccine hesitancy, indicates that the coronavirus is here to stay.
    By Mujib Mashal and Hari Kumar

    GARH MUKTESHWAR, India — When a devastating second wave of Covid-19 infections reached India’s countryside this spring, the village of Khilwai took immediate action. Two testing centers were set up, and 30 positive cases were isolated. The outbreak was contained with just three deaths.

    It was a different story in the two villages on either side of Khilwai. Testing remained limited. The local health center in one village had been closed, its staff sent away to a larger hospital. The coronavirus spread, and at least 30 people in each village died with Covid-19 symptoms.

    But even as the three villages in India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, diverged in their handling of the coronavirus, they have been united in another way: a vaccine hesitancy that is prevalent throughout India and threatens to prolong the country’s crisis.

    The combination of an uneven virus response — a reflection of huge inequality in resources and the vagaries of local attitudes — and a struggling vaccination campaign has left officials warning of a third wave of infections when the second has at best only leveled off….

  7. ltr


    July 12, 2021

    Over 1.38 bln doses of COVID-19 vaccines administered in China

    BEIJING — More than 1.38 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines had been administered in China by Sunday, the National Health Commission said Monday.

    [ With more than 1.38 billion doses of Chinese vaccines administered domestically, more than 500 million additional doses have been distributed internationally. ]

  8. ltr


    July 12, 2021

    Monthly Payments to Families With Children to Begin
    The Biden administration will send up to $300 per child a month to most American families thanks to a temporary increase in the child tax credit that advocates hope to extend.
    By Jason DeParle

    WASHINGTON — If all goes as planned, the Treasury Department will begin making a series of monthly payments in coming days to families with children, setting a milestone in social policy and intensifying a debate over whether to make the subsidies a permanent part of the American safety net.

    With all but the most affluent families eligible to receive up to $300 a month per child, the United States will join many other rich countries that provide a guaranteed income for children, a goal that has long animated progressives. Experts estimate the payments will cut child poverty by nearly half, an achievement with no precedent.

    But the program, created as part of the stimulus bill that Democrats passed over unified Republican opposition in March, expires in a year, and the rollout could help or hinder President Biden’s pledge to extend it.

    Immediate challenges loom. The government is uncertain how to get the payments to millions of hard-to-reach families, a problem that could undermine its poverty-fighting goals. Opponents of the effort will be watching for delivery glitches, examples of waste or signs that the money erodes the desire of some parents to work.

    While the government has increased many aid programs during the coronavirus pandemic, supporters say the payments from an expanded Child Tax Credit, at a one-year cost of about $105 billion, are unique in their potential to stabilize both poor and middle-class families.

    “It’s the most transformative policy coming out of Washington since the days of F.D.R.,” said Senator Cory Booker, Democrat of New Jersey. “America is dramatically behind its industrial peers in investing in our children. We have some of the highest child poverty rates, but even families that are not poor are struggling, as the cost of raising children goes higher and higher.”

    Among America’s 74 million children, nearly nine in 10 will qualify for the new monthly payments — up to $250 a child, or $300 for those under six — which are scheduled to start on Thursday. Those payments, most of which will be sent to bank accounts through direct deposit, will total half of the year’s subsidy, with the rest to come as a tax refund next year.

    Mr. Biden has proposed a four-year extension in a broader package he hopes to pass this fall, and congressional Democrats have vowed to make the program permanent….

    1. ltr


      September, 2020

      Poverty Rate Children Under 18, 1980-2019

      1980 ( 18.3)
      1981 ( 20.0) Reagan
      1982 ( 21.9)
      1983 ( 22.3)
      1984 ( 21.5)

      1985 ( 20.7)
      1986 ( 20.5)
      1987 ( 20.3)
      1988 ( 19.5)
      1989 ( 19.6) Bush

      1990 ( 20.6)
      1991 ( 21.8)
      1992 ( 22.3)
      1993 ( 22.7) Clinton (High)
      1994 ( 21.8)

      1995 ( 20.8)
      1996 ( 20.5)
      1997 ( 19.9)
      1998 ( 18.9)
      1999 ( 17.1)

      2000 ( 16.2)
      2001 ( 16.3) Bush
      2002 ( 16.7)
      2003 ( 17.6)
      2004 ( 17.8)

      2005 ( 17.6)
      2006 ( 17.4)
      2007 ( 18.0)
      2008 ( 19.0)
      2009 ( 20.7) Obama

      2010 ( 22.0)
      2011 ( 21.9)
      2012 ( 21.8)
      2013 ( 21.5)
      2014 ( 21.1)

      2015 ( 19.7)
      2016 ( 18.0)
      2017 ( 17.4) Trump
      2018 ( 16.2)
      2019 ( 14.4) (Low)

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