Do Economic Booms Die of Old Age?

Ben Bernanke got a big laugh from economists in Atlanta on Jan. 4. A few minutes after Janet Yellen said, “I don’t think expansions just die of old age,” he replied, “I like to say they get murdered.”

All right, not that funny. But the nerdy repartee between the past two Federal Reserve chairs at the annual meeting of the American Economic Association reveals how central bankers think about recessions—and says something about how likely it is that the U.S. will tip into one over the next year.

Bloomberg

Liz Weston: There’s always a next recession, so be prepared

Recessions are like natural disasters: They’re inevitable, but smart preparation may reduce the impact on you.

The U.S. economy has grown steadily since emerging from the “Great Recession” in June 2009, but expansions can’t continue forever, and this one is already the second-longest on record. Only the expansion from March 1991 to March 2001 lasted longer.

Recessions occur when growth stops and the economy starts to shrink. They vary in severity and length, but often jobs disappear, incomes decline and lenders make it harder to qualify for credit.

Knowing what may be coming can help you fortify your finances to withstand a possible slowdown. Here are some steps to consider.

TheRepublic.com

How to Establish More Balance in the Top-Heavy US Economy?

For all the decades-long effort to hype Anglo-American shareholder capitalism, one fact of life should have become abundantly clear to all honest observers by now: Low economic opportunity is the default setting of that brand of capitalism.

To reform this version of capitalism that excels in delivering benefits for the very top stratum of society, while letting most everybody else hang out in the cold, some notable Democratic 2020 presidential candidates – Senators Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris and Sherrod Brown – have endorsed a concept that has a proven track record of delivering better results for a far larger number of people.

TheGlobalist.com

Opinion: You are smarter than a computer

The question of artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and the future of human work is a Rorschach test: the answer you get depends on what you see. For some, the advent of “smart” everything portends a future of rising living standards and human flourishing. Others see a dark side. Without going “full Terminator,” many of the best informed people in the AI field see a revolution that threatens social cohesion by devaluing human labor.

The actual future will likely contain elements of both these forecasts along with others that we haven’t yet imagined. In the short- and medium-term, significant challenges are probable as artificial intelligence works its way through the economy. The best estimates predict that somewhere between 10 percent and 30 percent of all jobs — between 15 million and 45 million positions — are susceptible to partial or complete automation in the United States alone.

HoumaToday.com

CEOs Are Good at Predicting Economic Trends. Their Confidence in Growth Just Dropped Dramatically

CEOs, it turns out, are pretty good at predicting the future—at least when it comes to economic trends.

Ahead of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, PwC on Monday revealed that the attitudes of chief executives are “quite accurate” in anticipating the ups and downs of the economy, an assessment that’s based on 10 years of PwC’s CEO survey data. What’s the most telling indicator of how the global economy will fare? CEOs’ confidence in their own organizations’ revenue growth prospects

Fortune

60% of Small Business Owners Say They Will See An increase In 2019

A survey carried out by QuickBridge has revealed small business owners are optimistic about the coming year. A majority or 59.9% said they will see an increase in 2019.

The QuickBridge Small Business Owners Survey looked to gauge the view of owners across a range of topics in the US. This includes the economy, performance, sales, taxes, staffing, financing and more.

The questions in the survey are issues small businesses owners have to deal with year in and year out. The result gives owners insights they can use to identify upcoming trends, address challenges, and seek out new opportunities in the small business segment.

SmallBizTrends.com

To End the Shutdown, Try Thinking Big on Immigration

As the U.S. government shutdown approaches the one-month mark, one thing has become abundantly clear: Few politicians in Washington—Republican or Democrat, in Congress or the White House—consider the best interest of the country a priority. The fight is all about politics, partisanship and power.

To win the day, both sides are willing to upend the lives of 800,000 government employees and their families—and countless others who depend on the spending of those families for their own livelihoods. Some surely have to deal with unpaid mortgages and rent, medical bills, car payments and even a shortage of money for food. What do the politicians have to say for themselves for imposing such hardships?

The Wall Street Journal

The Green New Deal Hits Its First Major Snag

Not long ago, I found myself in the south of Greenland, in a tidy cottage at the edge of a fjord, in the company of four scientists. We were talking about sea-level rise when one of the younger scientists asked whether I could settle a debate: Should we keep developing nuclear power? He thought we should. I said that I didn’t have a strong opinion, but it seemed like a good way to produce electricity without emitting greenhouse gases. A lot of economists seemed to think it would be essential to fighting climate change.

The Atlantic

It’s time to rethink the importance of coal mining careers

Kentucky’s coal production has decreased to less than half its annual production in 2010. At the same time, Kentucky has seen a mining employment rate drop from 17,000 in 2010 to 6,600 in 2017.

This is a huge blow, particularly in an area that has historically been known for being impoverished. Alarming data such as this influenced many Eastern Kentuckians to vote for President Donald Trump in the 2016 election with his promises of increasing mining jobs. It seems that Kentuckians believed coal could make the comeback that car manufacturing has begun to do in Michigan (increasing exports from about $30 billion during its 2009 low point to nearly $60 billion in 2017).

KyKernel.com

The Next Phase of Globalization: Cheap Labor Is Out, the Best Talent Is In

Is globalization dead?

For more than half a century, manufacturers created global supply chains that sourced goods wherever costs (wages) were lowest and sold them wherever demand was greatest. The trend drove world growth, powered the rise of many developing countries (particularly China), and resulted in the largest alleviation of poverty in world history. (It also helped fuel a political backlash in developed countries.)

Fortune