US exports are declining. How should we address it?

The global pandemic has disrupted supply chains in the US and worldwide: in the first half of 2020, US imports fell by 17%, while US exports fell by nearly 25%. This leaves the US with considerable deficit. While the US has run deficits in international trade since the 1970’s, the current trade situation is especially dire: the events of 2020 have widened our deficit by nearly 20% (Leibovici and Santacreu 2020). The decline in net exports, a crucial component of real GDP, is another factor in the drop in aggregate demand brought on by the pandemic (Figure 1). There are Continue reading US exports are declining. How should we address it?

How has the coronavirus affected the US economy? A brief overview

The novel coronavirus pandemic has ravaged supply chains, livelihoods, and above all, human life and health. While the best strategy for managing America’s abrupt economic downturn is a subject of controversy, I think we can all agree that the virus has caused unprecedented economic crisis. The most rapid effect of the onset of COVID-19 outbreaks and the accompanying lockdowns was a negative shock to aggregate supply. Most US firms could not continue to produce output at the same level as before, causing a nationwide shortage of goods and services while simultaneously increasing the price level. US consumers were faced with Continue reading How has the coronavirus affected the US economy? A brief overview

The case for supporting small business with fiscal policy

Fiscal expansionary policy is characterized by the government adjusting its spending levels and tax rates to increase aggregate demand. Fiscal expansionary policy has the most direct and immediate impact on the nation’s economic health, whereas monetary policies take time we do not have to take noticeable effect. We are in an emergency situation in which American citizens and small businesses urgently need relief; therefore, fiscal policy is the best solution. Combatting COVID-19 through fiscal policy would involve government spending of some kind. This could take the form of individual stimulus checks that everyone receives, a rent relief bill for households Continue reading The case for supporting small business with fiscal policy

Stagflation in the Late 1970’s

Led Zeppelin, high-waisted denim shorts, and kitchens accented with harvest gold and avocado green always came to mind when I imagined life in 1970’s America. However, this simplistic, superficial image didn’t appear to be quite congruent with the lived experience of US citizens in the seventies. Recently, when I expressed my fascination with seventies kitchen design to my father, he grimaced at me and sighed heavily. I figured he didn’t like green refrigerators, but what followed was a lecture explaining an ugly side to the seventies I hadn’t thought of before. Runaway inflation and crippling interest rates coupled with stagnating Continue reading Stagflation in the Late 1970’s

Macroeconomic Indicators: Four Ways to Assess a Nation’s Economy

Economists employ several metrics to gain a sense of total macroeconomic performance. While there are dozens of measures that show various aspects of economic health, four will be mentioned. 1. The most valuable and informative indicator of a nation’s macroeconomic status is the gross domestic product (abbreviated as GDP). The GDP is defined as the current monetary value of all final goods and services produced in markets over a specific period of time, such as quarterly or annually. Therefore, the GDP can also be considered income for a nation, since economic output can be measured by how much we spend Continue reading Macroeconomic Indicators: Four Ways to Assess a Nation’s Economy

Leafy Luxury: The Market for Rare Houseplants

Almost everyone likes, or at least tolerates, houseplants. Most homes are shared with a plant or two, but in recent years, the practice of cultivating massive populations of indoor plants as a hobby has taken hold in the USA and Europe. There is no one catalyst for this surge, but the consequence is apparent. No more are plants just a means for production of a fruit, or a flower. Rather, in the eyes of their owners, they are unique individuals as well as receptacles for emotional projections. Not only do more and more people want to own a large collection, Continue reading Leafy Luxury: The Market for Rare Houseplants