General Economy


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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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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Keeping An Eye On The IE

It sometimes seems like the Inland Empire is the Rodney Dangerfield economy—it just doesn’t get any respect. It’s tough being the blue collar sibling to the gigantic Los Angeles economy and the glitzy resorts of Orange County. But given the region’s ascendency as an economic engine, that will likely change. The fact is the Inland Empire is one of the

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Miserabilism Debunked: Middle Class Stagnation

Humans by nature are inherently discontent—not that this is a bad thing. Much of human progress can be traced to people striving to improve their own personal circumstances. Discontent in fact drives much of the human innovation that ultimately benefit everyone. As Adam Smith famously noted “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker

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Brexit As A Non Issue

When the UK voted to leave the European Union, it set off an explosion of media coverage even as equity markets around the globe, including in the United States, dived in the aftermath. Bond markets rallied and the $US spiked up sharply. The market has settled down a bit—but judging by the initial reactions you’d think Brexit was the single

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California’s Minimum Wage Hike Debate…Or Debacle?

A few weeks ago Governor Jerry Brown suddenly, and seemingly without warning, reached a deal with union groups under which California’s minimum wage will be sharply raised to $15 per hour by 2022. The measure was quickly rubber-stamped by the state legislature and puts California firmly on a path to one of the highest wage floors in the nation. The

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US Financial Market Drama: Much Ado About Nothing

This year started with a thud rather than a bang as financial markets across the globe saw major selloffs. Analysts liberally assigned the cause of the panic to fears about oil, fears about China, fears about terrorism, fears about deflation, fears about who knows what—perhaps fears about fears. But whatever was driving the alarm appears to have faded. Major stock

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Exporting Water In A Drought

The good news is that El Nino came back in 2016 bringing with it much needed rains and a snowpack that is already well above normal. California’s drought may not be gone—in fact it could go on for some time—but its effects are clearly reduced. That doesn’t mean we should stop talking about water, however. There will be another drought

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What’s With Iowa?

As we kick off 2016 here at No Nonsense Economics it’s the perfect time to give a nod to the ‘official’ start of the presidential election year. This week’s Iowa caucus has once again raised eyebrows – and hackles. The amount of time and money candidates spend in this small mid western farm state is truly astonishing—not to mention the

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FFR: The Kardashians Of The Financial World

It’s that time of the year again. Not the holiday shopping season—I’m referring to the rampant speculation over what might happen at the next bi-monthly Federal Reserve (Fed) board meeting on December 15 and 16. The amount of press devoted to these meetings and their outcomes is astonishing—almost as intense as the level of guesswork over what one of the

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