For those of us who remember the 1970s, New York in 2015 is so safe it’s surreal. Photograph: Getty Images

Executive elite is driving rents upward in cities – and just about everyone else out

French police stand guard as people gather to look at the Eiffel Tower that is lit with the blue, white and red in tribute to the Paris victims. Photograph: Reuters

Random killings amounts to a strategy that reveals its perpetrators’ core weakness

While popular culture may focus more on meth than on prescription painkillers or good old alcohol, it’s not really news that there’s a drug problem in the US heartland

Life expectancy for less-educated whites is falling across much of the US

US Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton  is completely right about the record: historically, the economy has indeed done better under Democrats. Photograph: Katherine Taylor/Reuters

Why are Republicans much more inclined to boast about their ability to deliver growth?

Justin Trudeau’s Liberals are finally willing to say what sensible economists have been saying all along. And they weren’t punished politically – on the contrary they won a stunning victory. Photograph: Kevin Van Paassen/Bloomberg.

Liberals have a great opportunity to show the world truly responsible fiscal policy

Denmark’s monetary and fiscal errors do not say anything about the sustainability of a strong welfare state. Photograph: Stockphoto/Getty Images

Relief to hear US presidential candidates talk about learning from other countries

US presidential candidate Jeb Bush. He proposes doing away with rules regarding the disposal of coal ash, a byproduct of coal-burning power plants that contains mercury, arsenic and other contaminants . Photograph: Reuters/Chris Keane

There are corporate people who will do whatever it takes to make a buck

Janet Yellen, chair of the US Federal Reserve whose officials left interest rates unchanged last week. Photograph: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Bankers’ howls at Fed decision show desire for rate rise has nothing to do with public interest

Jeremy Corbyn: his triumph isn’t that surprising given the determination of moderate Labour politicians to accept false claims about past malfeasance. Photograph: Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images

The other candidates essentially supported Conservative government’s austerity policies

Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Jeb Bush participate in the first Republican presidential debate in Cleveland on Sunday. Bush has chosen to attack Trump as a false conservative. Photograph: Andrew Harnik/AP Photo

Bush may pose as thoughtful type but his economic platform is pure supply-side voodoo

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump: both the Republican establishment and the punditocracy have been shocked by his continuing appeal to the party’s base. Photograph: Jason Davis/Getty Images

It took a domestic disaster such as Hurricane Katrina to burst bubble of George W Bush

A stock quotation board outside a brokerage in Tokyo tracks plunging global indices yesterday. Photograph: Thomas Peter/Reuters

Investors remain jittery, with good reason

Republican presidential candidate and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush says the retirement age should be pushed back to “68 or 70”. Photograph: Gretchen Ertl/Reuters

Presidential hopefuls attack social security because that is what ‘big money’ wants

 US president Barack Obama: his signature healthcare policy was mentioned nine times during  last week’s prime-time Republican debate. Photograph: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Right-wing presidential candidates have little to say on supposed disaster areas

US president Barack Obama: why have the human consequences of economic troubles been muted? The main answer is that Puerto Rico is part of the US fiscal union. Photograph: Uri Gripas/AFP/Getty Images

When the commonwealth’s economy faltered, it automatically received aid from US

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush has spoken recently about attempting to ‘phase out’ Medicare. Photograph: Brian Snyder/Reuters

Conservatives despise health insurance scheme for seniors despite drop in costs

A euro exit will be essential to write down much of Greece’s debt. Photograph: Reuters

Euro a laudable idea but mounting problems have exposed serious flaws at heart of project

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush speaks during a town hall campaign stop  in Hudson, New Hampshire. Photograph: Brian Snyder/Reuters

The Republican candidate is perpetuating the mistaken ‘nation of takers’ dogma

Alexis Tsipras speaks to media in Brussels. Photograph: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg.

The bailout offer is a grotesque betrayal of everything the EU was supposed to stand for

Greece’s debt problem reflected irresponsible lending as well as irresponsible borrowing, and in any case the Greeks have paid for their government’s sins many times over

Campaign of bullying was shameful in a Europe that claims to believe in democratic principles

Pensioners waiting outside a closed National Bank branch and hoping to get their pensions, argue with a bank employee in Iraklio on the island of Crete. Photograph:  Reuters/Stefanos Rapanis

Lack of ability to devalue currency has undermined efforts to turn economy around through austerity

‘Racial hatred is still a potent force in US society, as we’ve just been reminded to our horror.’ People attend an interfaith candlelit vigil in solidarity with the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston,  South Carolina, in Brooklyn, New York. Photograph: Kena Betancur/Getty Images

States’ history of slavery is a strong predictor on a wide range of policy issues

Hillary Clinton, former US secretary of state,  formally began her campaign for president on Saturday, and surprised most observers with an unapologetically liberal and populist speech Photograph: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Party’s change of tack isn’t just about politics, crucially it’s also about policy

It’s an article of faith on the right that any attempt by the government to fight unemployment must lead to disaster, so the faithful must keep predicting disaster no matter how often it fails to materialise

Inflation derp has become more or less a required position among Republicans

A man looks at displayed goods for sale inside a €1 shop in Athens, Greece: A forced Greek exit from the euro would create huge economic and political risks, yet Europe seems to be sleepwalking toward that outcome. Photograph: Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters

Negotiations are going badly, and there’s a real possibility the worst will happen

But a funny thing happened on the way to the techno-revolution. We did not get a sustained return to rapid economic progress. Instead it was more of a one-time spurt which sputtered out about a decade ago

A growing number of economists are wondering if the technological revolution has been greatly overhyped

Jeb Bush’s  foreign policy team is led by people who were directly involved in concocting a false case for war. Photograph: Alvin Baez/Reuters

The Iraq War wasn’t an innocent mistake – the Bush administration wanted a war

Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat from Massachusetts, speaking at the National Press Club in Washington yesterday. Ms Warren says Wall Street recklessness caused the 2008 financial crisis Photograph: Bloomberg

Republicans trying to stop financial reform

Obamacare is working better than even its supporters expected – but its enemies say that the good news proves nothing, because nobody predicted anything different

The number of Americans without health insurance has fallen by about 15 million

Protesters in an anti-austerity rally in Athens. Immense sacrifices were supposed to produce recovery but instead the destruction of purchasing power deepened the slump, creating depression-level suffering and a huge humanitarian crisis. Photograph: Milos Bicanski/ Getty Images

Exiting the euro would be extremely costly in Greece and pose huge political and financial risks for Europe

Hillary Clinton. Where will she come out on trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership?

American voters should look beyond the individual candidates and consider the implications for spending, taxes and financial regul(...)

“Personality-based political analysis is always a dubious venture - in my experience, pundits are terrible judges of character.” Photograph: Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

Gulf between Democrats and Republicans means US voters will get real a choice

Voters judge economic policy not by long-term results but by recent growth. Over five years, the British coalition’s record looks terrible, but over the past couple of quarters it looks pretty good – and that’s what matters politically. Photograph: Leonhard Foeger/Reuters

Claims that budget deficits are the most important issue facing Britain are made as if they were simple assertions of fact, when t(...)

The only people hurt by health reform are Americans with very high incomes, who have seen their taxes go up, and a  small number of people who have seen their premiums rise because they’re young, healthy and affluent

Whatever your view of Obamacare, one indisputable fact is that it is costing taxpayers much less than expected

British prime minister David Cameron’s government put plans for further austerity on hold.  Photograph: Chris Ison/PA

Media organisations routinely present as fact propositions that are contentious if not just plain wrong

Over the past year the dollar has risen 20 per cent on average against other major currencies; it’s up 27 per cent against the euro

The US isn’t exactly booming but it looks great compared with Europe

The United States is now adding jobs at a rate not seen since the Clinton years. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

Interest rate increase could cost economy millions of jobs and trigger deflationary trap

Wal-Mart is so big that its action will probably lead to raises for millions of workers employed by other companies. Photograph: Patrick T Fallon/Bloomberg

Low wages are a political choice and we can and should choose differently

JPMorgan Chase chief executive Jamie Dimon is one of the powerful business leaders who has lectured about the so-called ‘skills gap’. Photoraph: Yuri Gripas/Reuters

The argument that an ‘education gap’ is at the root of inequality is at odds with the evidence

Real Greek gross domestic product per capita fell 26 per cent from 2007 to 2013, compared with a German decline of 29 per cent from 1913 to 1919

Greece cannot pay its debts in full and austerity has devastated its economy as thoroughly as military defeat devastated Germany (...)

German chancellor Angela Merkel: the way forward, she insisted,  was a return to frugality. Photograph: Fritz Reiss/AP

If everyone slashes spending at the same time, incomes go down around the world

 Barack Obama: it goes without saying the president’s fiscal proposals will be attacked by Republicans. Photograph: John Gress/Reuters

Washington needs to take on the hard issue of short-run gratification

Incoming Greek prime minister  Alexis Tsipras is being far more realistic about austerity and growth than European officials who want the beatings to continue until morale improves. Photograph: Michael Kappeler/EPA

The troika was peddling an economic fantasy: Greeks have paid the price

Kansas governor Sam Brownback:  in 2012,  he drastically cut taxes, assuring everyone that the resulting boom would make up for the initial loss in revenues. Unfortunately for his constituents, his experiment has been a resounding failure. Photograph: Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times

From climate change to Omabacare, actual evidence is irrelevant to an angry cohort

No surprise: the first move of the new Republican Senate is an attempt to push Barack Obama into approving pipeline. Photograph: Jessica Rinaldi/Reuters

Debts must be paid and the oil and gas industry expects to be rewarded for its support

President Barack Obama. ‘Now that he’s presiding over unexpected economic strength [his critics] can’t just turn around and assert his irrelevance.’ Photograph: J Scott Applewhite/AP Photo

Stimulus programme and protection of Fed independence key presidential achievements

Pussian president Vladimir Putin: he’s an ex-KGB man – which is to say, he spent his formative years as a professional thug. Photograph: EPA/Sergei Chirikov

Putin may be starting to see that war makes you poorer, even if you win

Wall Street overwhelmingly backed Mitt Romney in 2012, and invested heavily in Republicans once again this year. Photograph: Brendan McDermid/Reuters

A key provision of Dodd-Frank has been reversed thanks to Wall Street’s Congress

“We can now say with confidence the recovery’s weakness had nothing to do with Obama’s alleged anti-business slant”

Things finally looking better for American workers but this improvement comes after years of suffering

German chancellor Angela Merkel and German minister of finance Wolfgang Schaeuble. EPA/RAINER JENSEN

Euro zone’s largest economy is effectively exporting deflation to its neighbours

The US Federal Reserve in Washington, DC. ‘We were also told repeatedly that printing money would lead to ‘currency debasement and inflation’. The Fed, to its credit, stood up to this pressure, but other central banks didn’t.’ Photograph: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Opinion: those whose doctrines failed reality test refuse to admit error, let alone learn

Surely the exploding costs of Obamacare would lead to vast amounts of red ink, right? Well, no. Photograph:  Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

When the Ebola freak-out was at its peak, it wasn’t just a disease but a political metaphor

The Affordable Care Act tries to establish more-or-less universal coverage through a “three-legged stool” of policies, all of which are needed to make the system work

Consequences if Supreme Court suit were to prevail would be grotesque

 Ben Bernanke had the courage to defy all those tycoons demanding that they stop printing money. Photograph: Reuters/Jim Young

Success in business does not seem to convey any special insight into economic policy

You can get a sense of the ideology at work in some of the documents produced by House Republicans under the leadership of Paul Ryan. Photograph: Aaron Bernstein/Reuters

Nowadays we simply won’t invest even when the need is obvious

Amazon overwhelmingly dominates online book sales, with a market share comparable to Standard Oil’s share of the refined oil market  in 1911. Photograph:  Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Book sales depend on word of mouth and online retailer has power to kill buzz

German chancellor  Angela Merkel. “In Europe austerity policies have been driven less by economic analysis than by Germany’s moral indignation over the notion that irresponsible borrowers might not face the full consequences of their actions.” Photograph: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg

Opinion: history shows us mass deleveraging does not work

Sen Rand Paul: “When is the last time in our country we created millions of jobs? It was under Ronald Reagan.” Photograph: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Opinion: Republican diktat to budget office would mean end to policy referee

According to Forbes, best-paid actor Robert Downey jnr earned $75 million last year while the top 25 hedge fund managers took home, on average, almost $1 billion each. Photograph: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

The truly rich are so removed from ordinary people’s lives that we never see what they have

What’s holding back employment in the US, asks speaker of the house John Boehner. Photograph: Joshua Roberts/Reuters

What the Republican Party really believes is, it’s your own fault

The fomer Lehman Brothers headquarters in New York. “It’s true that while the most shocking intellectual malfeasance has come from conservative economists, some economists on the left have also seemed more interested in defending their turf and sniping at professional rivals than in getting it right.” Photograph: Nicholas Roberts/AFP/Getty Images

Opinion: too many influential economists performed poorly after financial crisis

Cakes at Browning Bakers in Kilmarnock in Scotland. EPA/Robert Perry

Opinion: it’s likely Scotland would become Spain without the sunshine

“When it comes to ensuring that Americans have access to healthcare, the message of the data is simple: yes, we can.”

Health spending has slowed sharply - it’s already well below projections

Texas governor Rick Perry will likely run for the US presidency on the basis that he knows how to create prosperity. Photograph: Doug Mills/The New York Times

Despite what Rick Perry might argue, it’s housing policy that explains growth in southern states

Vladimir Putin: No doubt it’s an oversimplification to say that the confrontation in Ukraine is all about shoring up an authoritarian regime that is stumbling on other fronts. But there’s surely some truth to that story.

Ukraine confrontation raises some scary prospects

Libertarian author and philosopher Ayn Rand in Manhattan in 1957. Photograph: New York Times/Getty Images

Is libertarian economics at all realistic?The answer is no

Republican leaders such as Mitch McConnell tried to help their friends with the Orwellian claim that resolution authority was actually a gift to Wall Street. But Wall Street knew better. Photograph: Getty Images

Creation of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau should not have been controversial

Does this mean President Barack Obama is wrong to describe companies engaging in inversion as “corporate deserters”?  Photograph: Reuters

The US federal government still gets one-tenth of its revenue from corporate profits taxation

US President Barack Obama appointed a special, bipartisan commission to propose solutions to the alleged crisis, and spent much of his first term trying to negotiate a Grand Bargain on the budget with Republicans. Photograph: Bloomberg

It’s hard to escape the feeling that debt panic served a political purpose

“The Affordable Care Act has faced nonstop attacks from partisans and right-wing media, with mainstream news also tending to harp on the act’s troubles.” Photograph: EPA/Jim Lo Scalzo

Opinion: predictions continue to be doom-laden despite the evidence

On the eve of the Great Recession, many conservative pundits and commentators had a world view that combined faith in free markets with disdain for government. Photograph: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Conservative delusions about inflation hint at a much larger rejection of fact-based thinking

Ronald Reagan was told by a group of economic advisers that a cut in income tax rates would raise tax revenue

The experience of Kansas is just the latest evidence that Reagan’s trickle-down economics is a fantasy

Former US treasury secretary Henry Paulson called for a national tax on carbon emissions to encourage conservation. Photograph: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP Photo

In policy terms, climate action would probably look like health reform

US president Barack Obama. “In terms of policy substance Obama is having a seriously good year. In fact, there’s a very good chance that 2014 will go down in the record books as one of those years when America took a major turn in the right direction.” Photograph: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

Opinion: the US president should be judged by his achievements, not his press

The real war on coal, or at least on coal workers, took place a generation ago, waged not by liberal environmentalists but by the coal industry itself. And coal workers lost. Photograph: Michaela Rehle/Reuters

Toxic mix of ideology and anti-intellectualism makes rational action on climate so hard

French economist and academic Thomas Piketty’s best-selling Capital in the Twenty-First Century has attracted praise and invective alike. Photograph: Reuters

Critics of consensus need to ask whether they’re seeking intellectual honesty, or are acting as concern trolls

Paul Ryan likes to warn that Europe’s social safety net became  a “hammock” that undermined initiative and encouraged dependency. Photograph: Rick Wilking/Reuters

US conservatives don’t like to admit that European-style welfare states have proven more successful at job creation

US President Barack Obama with then treasury secretary Tim Geithner in the East Room of the White House in January 2013 . Photograph: AFP

How can people feel good about track records that are objectively so bad?

Karl Marx: Obamacare and climate change policy are among the initiatives branded ‘Marxist’ by US conservatives. Photograph: Henry Guttmann/Getty Images

Justice Scalia’s criticism of an attempt to curb pollution gives a taste of what’s to come

“Nobody can make Obamacare work,” declared Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, a couple of weeks ago (when it was already obvious that it was working pretty well). Photograph: Amos Ben Gershom GPO via Getty Images

The constant harping on alleged failure of Obamacare works as innuendo

Rancher Cliven Bundy, who became a right-wing hero after refusing to pay fees for grazing his animals on federal land. Photograph: David Becker/Getty Images

Opinion: rancher Cliven Bundy’s racist ranting has given American conservatives an easy out

Stockholm, Sweden. Swedish unemployment stopped falling soon after the rate hikes began. Deflation took a little longer, but it eventually arrived. The rock star of the recovery has turned itself into Japan.

Country went from being a role model for recovery to the Nordic Japan

 Society is devoting an ever-growing share of its resources to financial wheeling and dealing, while getting little or nothing in return.

There is a clear correlation between the rise of modern finance and the US’s return to Gilded Age levels of inequality

Some employers complain that they’re finding it hard to find workers with the skills they need. But show us the money: if employers are really crying out for certain skills, they should be willing to offer higher wages to attract workers with those skills.

Skills myth shifts attention away from soaring profits and bonuses

  Republican congressman Eric Cantor  with Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In 2012, Mr Cantor famously commemorated Labor Day with a Twitter post honouring business owners. Photograph: Amos Ben Gershom GPO via Getty Images)

Today’s GOP values the interests of the rich over those of ordinary families

Paul Ryan, chairman of the House budget committee and the GOP’s de facto intellectual leader, is an expert at sounding like he knows what he’s talking about. Photograph: Reuters

Paul Ryan wasn’t being inarticulate - he was making the only argument that he’s got

People line up for a food giveaway programme at MacArthur Park in Los Angeles, California, recently. Disposable income in the US and Britain is much more unequally distributed than in France, Germany or Scandinavia. Photograph: Reuters

Recent studies on redistribution can change the debate

Inflation obsessives  failed to understand that printing money in a depressed economy isn’t inflationary. Photograph: PA

Opinion: ‘Sado-monetarism,’ is very much alive today

Rep Cathy McMorris Rodgers, in the official GOP response to the State of the Union address, alluded to the case of “Bette in Spokane”, who supposedly lost her good health insurance coverage. Photograph: Doug Mills/The New York Times

Do conservatives realise their Plan A on health reform isn’t working?

Last week’s big business news was the announcement that Comcast, a gigantic provider of cable TV and high-speed internet service, has reached a deal to acquire Time Warner, which is merely huge.

There’s good reason to believe monopoly is itself a barrier to innovation

Junior United States Senator for Kentucky Rand Paul:  Peddling a fantasy at odds with the evidence. Photograph: Doug Mills/New York Times

Notions of typical long-term jobless in US fails to match facts

Pedestrians walk along the bank of the Bosphorus strait as the minarets of mosques stand beyond in the Eminonu district of Istanbul, Turkey.   There are fears Turkey’s troubles will  spread across the world’s emerging markets. Photograph: Kerem Uzel/Bloomberg

Intervals between crises seem to be getting shorter, and the fallout from each one seems to be worse than the last

In a letter to the editor of the ‘Wall Street Journal’ Tom Perkins lamented public criticism of the “1 per cent” – and compared such criticism to Nazi attacks on the Jews. Photograph: Getty

Extreme inequality, it turns out, creates a class of people who are alarmingly detached from reality

Margot Robbie and Leonardo DiCaprio in ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’: The film is wildly popular with finance types, who cheer on the title character

Economic inequality is the US is stark, and no amount of muddying the facts or wishful thinking can disguise it

Republican senator Marco Rubio: “Republicans are in a deep sense enemies of America’s poor. And that will remain true no matter how hard the likes of Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio try to convince us otherwise.” Photograph: Reuters

The reason that reputation is so hard to shake is that it’s justified

We have yet to see whether US president Barack Obama’s declaration that inequality is “the defining challenge of our age” will translate into policy changes. Photograph: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Inequality probably played an important role in creating our economic mess, and has played a crucial role in our failure to clean (...)

Republican Senator Rand Paul  cited research suggesting that the long-term unemployed have a hard time re-entering the workforce as a reason to cut off long-term  benefits. Photograph: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

The odds are the long-term jobless will be cut off thanks to a perfect marriage of callousness and bad economics

The inflation-adjusted wages of non-supervisory workers in retail – who weren’t particularly well paid to begin with – have fallen almost 30 per cent since 1973.

The Economic Policy Institute estimates an increase in the minimum wage to $10.10 would benefit 30 million workers

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