John Irons's Blog


Economic News, Data and Analysis

DeLong On the Media

Brad DeLong has devoted a good share of his Blog to beating up on the media… take a look at his latest…

Brad DeLong’s Semi-Daily Journal
The world is a complex and intricate place. How is anyone to understand it–even a particular piece of it, for example the United States government in Washington DC and its economic policies? It is a big problem, for the standard sources that I was taught (perhaps wrongly) as a child to rely on–the Washington Post, the New York Times, Walter Cronkhite on the evening news–are breaking down.
So it is time to build new institutions. And one way is to take advantage of the fact that those of us whom Jay Rosen calls The People Formerly Known as the Audience are no longer on the receiving end of a media system that runs one way only. We can talk back–fight ignorance with information, fight truthiness with truth, fight media narratives with the real story.

Filed under: Background

Cut the deficit in half? Not quite

Think progress has the right response to the claim that the Bush administration has already “cut the deficit in half.”

Think Progress
Will Bush Cut the Deficit In Half This Year? Only In Fantasy Land…
The right-wing blogosphere is crowing about an article in Investors Business Daily that claims that “President Bush may make good on his pledge to cut the deficit in half in 2006 — three years early.”
This is only true in fantasy land. Here are the facts:
1. Even accepting the most optimistic predictions, the deficit will not be cut in half. The article asserts that the deficit for this year may end up being $270 billion, or 2.1% of GDP. Even accepting that optimistic assessment, the 2004 deficit was $412 billion or 3.5% of GDP. For those of us living in reality, that’s not cutting the deficit in half.
The White House projected a deficit of $512 billion for 2004, but that never happened. At the time, budget experts warned the number was inflated for political purposes.
2. The budgetary outlook for 2006 has degraded by about $800 billion since Bush took office. In January 2001, the Congressional Budget Office predicted a $505 billion surplus for 2006. The optimistic deficit number pushed by International Business Daily is still $775 billion worse.
It shows a lot about the state of fiscal discipline in the conservative movement that these kind of numbers are cause for celebration.

Filed under: Economics

Does the World Cup Get the Economic Ball Rolling?

Here’s an update to an analysis I first did several years ago…
Does the World Cup Get the Economic Ball Rolling? – Center for American Progress
Does the World Cup Get the Economic Ball Rolling?
Assessing the Impact of the World Cup of Soccer on Host Countries’ Economies
By John S. Irons
June 7, 2006
The Germans are hoping for a successful run this summer in the World Cup — and not just inside the stadium. It is the everlasting hope of countries that host major sporting events that the games will bring about not only sporting glory but also an economic boom. Organizers inevitably claim that hosting a major event will lead to filled hotels, packed restaurants, new construction projects, and a general boost to the economy.
Past experience, however, shows that hosting the World Cup may not be the economic Holy Grail organizers often predict — at least not immediately. The historic experiences of past hosts show that countries are about as likely to see lower economic growth in the World Cup year as they are to see higher growth. In the years immediately following the World Cup, however, the economies of host countries have performed better on average.

Filed under: Economics