Related Content: Greg Ip

August 29, 2014

Weekly Show

The growing ISIL threat and the Obama administration’s strategy to diminish the terror group. U.S. response to Russian troops entering southeastern Ukraine. Also, why U.S. companies, like Burger King, are heading abroad. Plus, a preview of the races to watch and the top issues in the midterm elections. Joining Gwen: Alexis Simendinger, RealClearPolitics; Greg Ip, The Economist; Hannah Allam, McClatchy Newspapers

 

The Pace We've Come to Expect

Essential Reads

For the second month in a row, America’s labour market has disappointed, once again raising questions about whether the economic recovery is truly entrenched. Nonfarm payrolls rose just 115,000 in April from March. While the unemployment rate dipped to 8.1%, the lowest since early 2009, from 8.2%, it did so for the wrong reason: the labour force (those working or looking for work) shrank by 342,000.

Unmired at Last

On The Radar

Since Florida’s property market collapsed and its economy tanked, Hillsborough County has endured almost nonstop austerity. In the past five years the government of the county, halfway up the state’s Gulf coast, has eliminated a quarter of its 6,000 positions through attrition and lay-offs. It has scaled back after-school child care. Workers’ pay has been frozen for three years.
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Another Doomed Exercise

On The Radar

Back in 2009 Barack Obama’s first budget called for repealing his predecessor’s tax cuts on the rich, eliminating tax breaks for multinationals and boosting the tax rate on capital gains. A year later Mr Obama repeated those proposals, and added new ones: no more breaks for fossil-fuel producers and a “financial crisis responsibility fee” on banks.
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A Game of Two Halves

On The Radar

Even people who don’t normally care much for football tune in to the Super Bowl to watch the best commercials Madison Avenue can dream up. The most talked about this year was Chrysler’s gritty tribute to the economic revival of America and Detroit. More short film than commercial, it ends with the actor Clint Eastwood huskily declaring that “Our second half is about to begin.”
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Happy New Year

On The Radar

Is the jobs recovery finally for real? It certainly feels that way. Before getting into the caveats, let's look at January's solid employment report. Non-farm employment jumped 243,000, or 0.2%, from December, the best in nine months. The unemployment rate fell to 8.3%, a three-year low, from 8.5%.
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Can You Hear Me Now?

On The Radar

Japan holds the modern record for years spent with interest rates at zero; they were on the floor from 2001 to 2006. America is on track to break that record. Having cut its short-term rate to near zero in late 2008, the Federal Reserve said on January 25th it will probably stay there “at least through late 2014”, more than a year longer than its previous guidance.
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Counting the Cost of Calamities

On The Radar

The world’s industrial supply chains were only just recovering from Japan’s earthquake and tsunami in March when a natural disaster severed them again in October. An unusually heavy monsoon season swelled rivers and overwhelmed reservoirs in northern Thailand. The floodwaters eventually reached Bangkok, causing a political crisis as residents fought over whose neighbourhoods would flood. But before that the economic toll was being felt farther north in Ayutthaya province, a manufacturing hub.

One Nation Overdrawn

On The Radar

In the frantic race to save the euro, many Europeans have sought inspiration from the United States, perhaps the most successful monetary union in history. Germany’s council of economic experts has proposed a debt “redemption pact” modelled on the American federal government’s assumption of state debts in 1790. To European federalists, America demonstrates that monetary union cannot survive without fiscal union.

Looking Up

On The Radar

Three months ago Barack Obama was firmly in the dock over news that no net jobs were created in August. Some gloomy people even saw a double-dip recession on the way. America, it turns out, was not on the verge of recession, and it still isn’t. Subsequent revisions show that 104,000 jobs were in fact created in August. Later months have also been revised upwards, and in November payrolls grew by 120,000, or 0.1%.