CFE Analysis


The housing crisis from a decade ago is fading from consciousness for many Americans. But the ill effects of it are still apparent, particularly for those who bought homes in the years from 2005 to 2007. They paid high prices, and many mortgages had ominous terms that made repayment highly unlikely. The problem is most […]

CFE Analysis | Macro

A Surprising – And Ominous? — Boom

There has been much talk about the death of bricks-and-mortar retail, which traditionally hires hundreds of thousands of temporary workers in November and December for the Christmas rush. With more and more business being conducted online, it stood to reason that general merchandise stores — the Macy’s and Targets of the world — would be […]

CFE Analysis

China’s Slowdown: More There than Meets the Eye

By Bob Barbera and Yingyao Hu. If there isn’t light in the 21st century world – or at least not as much light as economic statistics would suggest there should be – then something may be amiss. In China, that appears to be the case. And that suggests that there has been a sharp deterioration […]

CFE Analysis | Macro

Zero Bound

The outlook for growth in employment and corporate earnings over the next few years is headed down. The problem is not what the Federal Reserve will do, or what a Democratic (or Republican) Congress is likely to do, or the possibility of a mushrooming trade war. It is the unsustainable nature of what has caused […]


What did We Learn from Recent Monetary Policy Performance?

A growing chorus of commentators are now issuing warnings about additional Fed tightening in light of the flattening Treasury yield curve. Despite clear evidence that job growth in the U.S. is running well ahead of a sustainable pace, low wage and price inflation, for many suggest no need to firm overnight interest rates. Exhibits A […]

CFE Analysis | Macro

Faster Growth, More Wage Income and Better Data Provision

Once a year we get a slew of news about U.S. economic performance, when the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) provides both its initial estimate for recent economic performance and detailed revisions on previous economic trajectories. The initial estimate for Q2 real GDP growth confirms what a great many other high frequency times […]

CFE Analysis | Macro

Lord make me pure, but not until 2020

In a recent post, we complained that Congress had muzzled the CBO, forbidding them from reporting budget projections until the forecasts could “reflect the tax legislation and any major decisions about spending that the Congress makes in the next few weeks.”[1] We conjectured that the spending cuts offered up would be slated for the out […]

CFE Analysis | Macro

CBO: The dog that didn’t bark, for now

Each January the Congressional Budget Office provides a 10-year budget forecast, driven by the interplay of tax laws, spending commitments, and a 10-year economic projection. Not so in 2018. CBO received a directive from the Senate and House Budget Committee Chairs, instructing them to hold off on supplying a report until they can produce a […]

CFE Analysis | Finance

A Happy New Year for Bitcoin?

The future of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies does not depend on whether digital currency is a good idea—digital currency or some equivalent is clearly a good idea. What will matter is whether cryptocurrencies are as good as other approaches to digital currency. From this perspective, cryptocurrencies look a bit ridiculous. A digital currency is nothing […]

CFE Analysis | Finance

While visions of Bitcoins danced in their heads

Nothing is but branding makes it so. Hamlet, Act 2, Scene 2, sort of Bitcoin has been branded a currency, and some analysts—even some Fed economists—seem to have fallen for it, arguing that Bitcoin’s value as a transactions vehicle explains why this intrinsically useless item has market value. The trouble is that there is no […]