Christopher Thornberg, PhD

27
Jul

A GDP Reality Check

The 4.1% growth rate in U.S. Gross Domestic Product in the 2nd quarter (announced today) was not a surprise to anyone looking at the monthly numbers. In fact, it came in a bit below the consensus prediction of 4.5%. But that won’t stop the accolades the current administration will be handing itself over the coming months. This number will surely

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17
Jul

We Have Nothing To Fear But the Fear of Inflation Itself

‘Inflation expectation disorder’ seems to have become a full pandemic lately. News story after news story is discussing accelerating price growth not as a possible new trend, but as a current reality. “Consumer Inflation Hits 6 Year High” read one headline after the June CPI release. Inflation expectations are also on the rise according to the New York branch of the Federal Reserve,

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12
Jun

Is California’s Economy Really All About the Bay Area?

This era of regular and ongoing political “whoppers” coming out of Washington DC, seems to have ushered in an increased willingness outside the beltway to declare pretty much anything, regardless of having evidence to support said claim, or even worse, saying it in the face of contrary evidence. Deeply misleading comments about the economy can be particularly dangerous in my

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1
Dec

California Growth and the Construction Paradox

It is often said that generals always fight the last war—and this applies to that still highly overused and abused political catch phrase “jobs, jobs, jobs.” Such rhetoric about creating new jobs continues to be attached to the rollout of almost any new government policy, regardless of the veracity or relevance of the claim. Times change, as do economic realities

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11
Jul

Stop Dissin’ the Housing Market—Set it Free!

Editors Note: This posting was originally published on the Opinion Page of the Los Angeles Daily News. High housing costs continue to be at the center of policy debates in Los Angeles—and across much of the state. This intensifying focus is warranted now more than ever given how the crisis has moved from simply eating up the disposable income of residents

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21
Mar

Economic Development: Is The Doctor In?

Here it is, 2018, and the Inland Empire is yet again an economy on the move. In fact, it is currently the fastest growing major economy in the state in terms of employment. The 3.2% annual job growth rate as of December is higher than San Francisco (2%), San Jose (1.7%), and Orange County (.8%). Yet despite all this growth,

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9
Feb

Reforming the ACA: Losing the Forest for the Trees

Californians are correct to be worried about the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) now that the Republicans control both branches of Congress and the White House. But they should be more worried about a looming crisis that neither presidential candidate addressed during the contentious election season — the coming fiscal calamity being driven by spiking Medicare costs. During

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30
Nov

Trump and the Triumph of ‘Miserabilism’

Donald Trump’s victory a few weeks ago threw the political science world into turmoil. As far as we know, most of the truly serious pollsters went into the election with numbers that suggested Hillary Clinton was highly likely to win—perhaps one reason why the Clinton camp failed to make needed investments in the swing states that threw the election Trump’s

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3
Nov

California’s Ballot Propositions: A Few Thoughts

In California, this year’s bumper crop of confusing and often contradictory ballot propositions are the best example of a bad idea that has rapidly grown out of control (our most recent post, The Tyranny of Direct Democracy, lays out the serious and intensifying problems associated with the state’s Initiative system). But despite a distorted and misused process, this year’s state and

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27
Oct

The Tyranny of Direct Democracy

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was co-authored by Adam J. Fowler.  Remember when the biggest thing arriving in your mailbox over the course of the year was the massive old Sears catalog? Times have changed. For many, this year’s heftiest arrival was probably the 2016 California Voter Guide, which came in at over 200 pages. The number of statewide ballot measures in

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