Red and Blue Voters Live in Different Economies

In the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election, scholars, journalists and ordinary citizens battled over whether economic anxiety or racial and cultural animus were crucial to the outcome. Soon a consensus formed, however, among most — though not all — political analysts, in support of the view that attitudes about race, immigration, sexism and authoritarianism […]

The US Welfare State Cut Poverty by Two-Thirds in 2018

The Census released its 2018 poverty report last week, which showed no change in the poverty rate from the prior year. What follows is a novel rundown of the state of poverty and welfare in the US based on my own calculations of the report’s underlying data. When you want to determine how much poverty […]

Companies Use Borrowed Billions to Buy Back Stock, Not to Invest

When the Federal Reserve cuts interest rates, making it cheaper to borrow, it’s supposed to deliver a direct boost to the economy. But one key part of that machinery has broken down. Business investment used to rise when U.S. companies took on more debt—because most companies borrowed to add capacity. Nowadays, they’re likelier to funnel […]

The Stock-Buyback Swindle

In the early 1980s, a group of menacing outsiders arrived at the gates of American corporations. The “raiders,” as these outsiders were called, were crude in method and purpose. After buying up controlling shares in a corporation, they aimed to extract a quick profit by dethroning its “underperforming” CEO and selling off its assets. Managers—many of […]

The One Percent Have Gotten $21 Trillion Richer Since 1989. The Bottom 50% Have Gotten Poorer.

Some Democratic presidential candidates say that America’s economic system is badly broken and in need of sweeping, structural change. Others say that the existing order is fundamentally sound, even if it could use a few modest renovations. The former are widely portrayed as ideologues or extremists, the latter as moderates. And it’s certainly true that […]