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Reagan’s Trade Lessons for Trump

January 18th, 2017


When Donald Trump threatens to slap massive tariffs on China, economic textbooks want to self-destruct like the smoky opening scene in a Mission Impossible movie. After all, free trade drives down prices while offering consumers more choices. In the 1960s a mom and dad would save for weeks to buy their child a back-to-school coat. Today Walmart solves that challenge without skipping a meal. Nonetheless, Trump has tapped into something real. He has persuaded millions of anxious Americans that foreign goods, capital, and people can undermine a sense of national identity and can.. || Continue Reading →

Trump Change and Psychology

December 16th, 2016


The U.S. has changed. The stock market has jumped almost 6 percent since the November election. Consumer confidence has climbed, and J.K. Rowling is enjoying her first movie hit since the last Harry Potter romp in 2011. Donald Trump’s talk of tax cuts and deregulation has perked up “animal spirits,” to use Keynes’ term. There’s a psychological story here. A recent study by Freakonomics whiz Steven Levitt shows that when people affirmatively make a change, they tend to feel happier. He surveyed individuals who flipped 20,000 coins in order to make both important decisions.. || Continue Reading →

How Trump Can Save Trillions

November 29th, 2016


I was happy to see Treasury Secretary-designate Steve Mnuchin and advisor David Malpass discuss the U.S. Treasury’s mishandling of debt.  For years I’ve been urging the Treasury to issue long-term 50 or 100-year bonds to lock in today’s ridiculously low interest rates.  In the Wall Street Journal, Investor’s Business Daily, and The Price of Prosperity, I’ve argued that the U.S. government recklessly carries enormous risk with a portfolio of bonds that average just over 5 years.  If market rates return to normal levels, U.S. debt payments.. || Continue Reading →

Can Trump Pull the Plug on Obamacare?

November 10th, 2016


The battle to repeal Obamacare has begun. Financial markets are punishing shares of HCA and UHS. Those large healthcare companies expected to benefit from Hillary Clinton expanding Obamacare. Meanwhile, biotech shares have jumped because Hillary won’t be around to flog them or slap an arbitrary cap on their prices. Donald Trump and his advisers call Obamacare “a disaster.” Many Americans agree. In a TV appearance a few days before the election, I argued that Obamacare would help Trump win over voters in states like Michigan and Pennsylvania. The so-called exchanges have.. || Continue Reading →


October 29th, 2016


Watch the masterful TV feature PBS’s Paul Solman put together on The Price of Prosperity.  The story catapulted the book to #1 on Amazon for political economy and nationalism.  Producer Sarah Clune arranged for us to interview Mexican day laborers in Virginia and then discuss immigration, birth rates, and patriotism while touring Washington, DC from Pennsylvania Avenue to Theodore Roosevelt Island.  Here’s an excerpt from the book that PBS has posted on its website: Editor’s Note: Economist Todd Buchholz is out with a new book, with a counterintuitive.. || Continue Reading →

The New Supply-Siders — Giggers

October 13th, 2016


What is the modern version of “supply-side” economics? The Gig Economy. Firms like Airbnb and Uber stomp on prices by injecting new supply. Airbnb has effectively added almost 20 percent to the supply of hotel rooms in major U.S. cities. Airbnb gives headaches to hotel firms, but wins applause from vacationers and from homeowners who turn their property into income-producing assets. The Gig Economy also gives headaches to government statisticians. Consider: When someone buys a new car, the Department of Commerce calls it “consumption.” But what if the buyer drives off.. || Continue Reading →

Summer Vacation Must-Reads!

August 5th, 2016


I’ve been a fan of the Wall Street Journal for a long time and was delighted they named The Price of Prosperity to the list of “Eight Summer Vacation Must-Reads.” I’m pleased to share advertising space with Daniel Silva and Russell Banks.  

My Favorite Newspaper

July 27th, 2016


The Times of London is now my favorite newspaper.  Christopher Hart’s penetrating review of The Price of Prosperity catapulted the book to #1 on Amazon’s best-seller list for history, business, and political economy.  In addition, the Times found this nifty photo that makes me look like an omnipotent Zen-master.  Or a James Bond villain.  I’m neither.  Here’s what he had to say: Books: The Price of Prosperity: Why Rich Nations Fail and How to Renew Them by Todd G Buchholz Falling birthrates, rising debt, globalisation, decaying work ethic: a tough-minded.. || Continue Reading →

Grappling with the Paradox of Theft

July 18th, 2016


Why are rich countries broke? In Investors Business Daily (and below) I explain “The Paradox of Theft” — As tourists hurry past the National Debt clock near Times Square — which flashes quickly changing numbers topping $19 trillion — many wonder, How can a rich nation like the U.S. owe so much money? I call it the Paradox of Theft. Typically, as a family grows wealthier, it is less likely to fall into deep debt, default and bankruptcy. A family in the top 5 percent of income typically owes half as much as a typical family in the bottom 95 percent.. || Continue Reading →

Brexit — and What’s Next?

July 11th, 2016


What should the Brits do?  Here’s my Bloomberg radio interview.  The EU does not want to make Brexit easy for the UK, because the EU fears that the Danes and Dutch will scamper away next, following the British example.  To dissuade the Danes and Dutch, the EU would like to extract from Britain, if not a pound of flesh, at least a few more pounds sterling of pain.  How should the Brits respond to sluggish EU bureaucrats?  My advice comes in two steps:  First, buy some furniture polish and shine up a big round, royal oak table in Mayfair.   Second, invite the.. || Continue Reading →