When America was founded, there were only three specified federal crimes—treason, counterfeiting and piracy. Now there are too many to count. In the most recent estimate, in the early 1990s, a law professor reckoned there were perhaps 300,000 regulatory statutes carrying criminal penalties—a number that can only have grown since then. For financial firms especially, there are now so many laws, and they are so complex (witness the thousands of pages of new rules resulting from the Dodd-Frank reforms), that enforcing them is becoming discretionary.
This undermines the predictability and clarity that serve as the foundations for the rule of law, and risks the prospect of a selective—and potentially corrupt—system of justice in which everybody is guilty of something and punishment is determined by political deals .
Real gross domestic product increased at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.2% in the second quarter, the BEA published this morning. This was the second estimate for Q2, the initial estimate had been a growth rate of 4.0%.
First, we’ve had very low inflation for a long time, and there’s inertia to inflation. The best indicator of where inflation will be next year is to start from where it is this year. We won the war against inflation. It’s that simple.
Second, we still have slack in our economy, in both labor markets as well as in product markets. Companies have very little pricing power—as an aside, the Internet is a reinforcing factor because consumers can find the price of everything. And we have too many people unemployed or underemployed for workers to be running around demanding raises.
Finally, the Fed has credibility, so expectations of inflation are low. Unmoored expectations could foster higher inflation, as companies try to anticipate higher costs. Fed credibility is a bulwark against that. Unlike 30 years ago, the Fed has had demonstrable success in keeping prices stable by showing it is willing to raise short-term rates to slow growth and inflation.
“I had my little fun with the SEC, and what happened was, every message I sent, everything that I wrote, they decided to create their own context,” he said Wednesday. “If I said, ‘The sky was blue,’ they said, ‘You didn’t really mean that. You were just trying to fool us.’ When I said, ‘I hate to lose,’ in reference to Mavericks games, they said, ‘So, you hate to lose. You’re not willing to take a loss on a share trade.’ I mean, it was just ridiculous. And so it made me realize, along with just other experiences, when you hit ‘send’ on a text, you lose ownership of that. Not only do you lose ownership, you retain responsibility for that text.”
Initial jobless claims for the week ending August 23 were a seasonally adjusted 298k, down from the prior week’s revised reading of 299k. Not seasonally adjusted, jobless claims for the week were 249k.
The 4-week moving average of initial jobless claims is 300k.
The insured unemployment rate was 1.9%, unchanged from the week prior.
The number of unemployment insurance recipients, or continuing claims, for regular state programs was 2.527 million, up from the previous week’s revised reading of 2.502 million.
Individual states that had changes in claims of more than 1k (not seasonally adjusted):