And now for the meaty post of the week! Seriously, this is a fantastic piece by The Grump Economist, John H. Cochrane, senior fellow at The Hoover Institute.
Here’s a sneak preview:
What’s causing the big drop in the stock market, and the bout of enormous volatility we’re seeing at the end of the year?
The biggest worry is that this is The Beginning of The End — a recession is on its way, with a consequent big stock market rout. Is this early 2008 all over again, a signal of the big drop to come?
Maybe. But maybe not. Maybe it’s 2010, 2011, 2016, or the greatest of all, 1987. “The stock market forecast 9 of the last 5 recessions,” Paul Samuelson once said, and rightly. The stock market does fall in recessions, but it also corrects occasionally during expansions. Each of these drops was accompanied by similar bouts of volatility. Each is likely a period in which people worried about a recession or crash to come, but in the end it did not come.
Still, is this at last the time? A few guideposts are handy.
We really don’t consider our rights open to discussion. We don’t consider anybody’s rights open to discussion—not even when they’re exercising some rights to call for limiting others.
Lessons from the data: Those peoples that trust their government, tend to have more economic liberty, which generally keeps gov’t size and power in check.
Despite controversies that rage over immigration, it is hard to see how anyone could be either for or against immigrants in general.
Both in the present and in the past, some immigrant groups have made great contributions to American society, and others have contributed mainly to the welfare rolls and the prisons. Nor is this situation unique to the United States. The same has been true of Sweden and of other countries in Europe and elsewhere.
Sweden was, for a long time, one of the most ethnically homogeneous countries in the world. As of 1940, only about one percent of the Swedish population were immigrants. Even as the proportion of immigrants increased over the years, as late as 1970 90 percent of foreign-born persons in Sweden had been born in other Scandinavian countries or in Western Europe.
These immigrants were usually well-educated, and often had higher labor force participation rates and lower unemployment rates than the native Swedes. That all began to change as the growing number of immigrants came increasingly from the Middle East, with Iraqis becoming the largest immigrant group in Sweden.
This changing trend was accompanied by a sharply increased use of the government’s “social assistance” program, from 6 percent in the pre-1976 era to 41 percent in the 1996-1999 period. But, even in this later period, fewer than 7 percent of the immigrants from Scandinavia and Western Europe used “social assistance,” while 44 percent of the immigrants from the Middle East used that welfare state benefit.
Immigrants, who were by this time 16 percent of Sweden’s population, had become 51 percent of the long-term unemployed and 57 percent of the people receiving welfare payments. The proportion of foreigners in prison was 5 times their proportion in the population of the country.