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Jon Talton

Analysis and commentary on economic news, trends and issues, with an emphasis on Seattle and the Northwest.

January 6, 2010 at 10:00 AM

Forecasters see Washington as among best in the West for 2010

Top of the News: Washington gets generally good marks in the new Western Blue Chip economic forecast.

Economists polled by the forecast, based at Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business, expect personal income here to grow 4 percent and single-family housing permits to increase 32 percent in 2010. Population is seen growing 1 percent. Employment: down 0.2 percent.

It’s among the best in the West. You can check out the comparisons here. The dangers to the scenario (and this is me writing): uncertain national recovery and the ongoing danger of a double-dip recession.

The Midweek Briefing: Coming out of the American Economic Association meeting in Atlanta, Baseline Scenario’s Simon Johnson says the biggest threat to the economy remains the banks that are “too big to fail.” He writes, “Reckless and mismanaged risk-taking is the sure outcome.”

–Will inflation be the next dragon to slay, considering the Federal Reserve’s huge monetary expansion to stave off depression? The St. Louis Fed’s Kevin Kliesen weighs the arguments here.

–Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn has his official Twitter account up: mayormcginn

–I’m skeptical of most personal finance reporting (would you take investing advice from a journalist?). Driven by the sales focus of most “experts, it has helped pump up bubbles and leave people inappropriately invested. Anyway, there are only two personal finance stories: 1) Don’t be greedy and 2) Don’t be stupid. But Marketwatch’s David Weidner has an excellent investing primer. “The markets,” he writes, “are little more than legitimized casinos.” This is especially true after years of deregulation.

–Trenchant and provocative, Salon’s Michael Lind takes on the Clintonites in a piece of revisionism of the 1990s. Most of the assumptions of the Democrat neo-liberals were wrong, but have they learned their lessons?

–Don’t miss Joe Stiglitz’s “Harsh lessons we may need to learn again,” from China Daily. Among the Nobel laureate’s comments, “not all innovation leads to a more efficient and productive economy — let alone a better society. Private incentives matter, and if they are not well aligned with social returns, the result can be excessive risk taking, excessively shortsighted behavior, and distorted innovation.”

Today’s Econ Haiku:

Microsoft’s tablet

Will it make Jobs swallow hard?

Or just crush and trash?

Comments | More in Banking, Inflation, Midweek Economic Briefing

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