Median income flattens

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Sept. 10, 2019 —    Median real household income is the most useful single measure of the extent to which the typical American family has shared in GDP gains.  The latest annual number, released today by the Census Bureau, confirms the answer that many had suspected: the typical family has not experienced a statistically significant rise in income.  The gains have, rather, gone to those at the top of the income distribution.  Median household income did rise during 1993-2000 (during the boom of the Clinton years) and again during 2012-2017 (as the recovery from the global financial crisis started to spread more widely).  But its level last year was statistically the same as in 2017 (despite respectable growth in total national income).  It was also virtually the same as in 2000, indicating that median income has been essentially flat since the turn of the century. read more

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RMB reaches 7.0; US names China a manipulator

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August 12, 2019 –The US-China trade war heated up in the first week of August.  On August 1, Donald Trump abruptly announced plans to impose a 10 % tariff on the remaining $300 billion of imports from China that he had not already hit with earlier tariffs.   The Chinese authorities then allowed their currency, the renminbi (RMB), to fall in value below the highly visible line of 7.0 RMB/$.  The US Administration promptly reacted on August 5 by naming China a “currency manipulator” — the first time any country had been given that designation in 25 years.   Pundits declared a currency war, while investors responded by immediately sending stock markets down. read more

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Parallel to US-China trade war, Japan & Korea fall out

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August 8, 2019 — I responded to 9 questions in an interview today with Chosun Ilbo.  They concern the US-China trade war and the new simultaneous dispute between Korea and Japan.

  1.  The trade war between the world’s two largest economies continues and it appears the war is spilling over to currency now. What do you think are the fundamental reasons for this conflict?

JF         It was legitimate for the outside world to ask China to make some changes.  But we did not sit down in a responsible manner with China’s leaders to negotiate. The reason for the trade war is that an ignorant and reckless man by chance became president of the United States. He has aggressively raised tariffs against China as well as other trading partners.  He has departed from past international commitments, from good economic policy and even from basic deal-making tactics. read more

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