Chilton Currents


The Scenario That Destroys the Fed's Credibility


When the Federal Reserve raised rates last week, there was a certain amount of fanfare, and a certain amount of trepidation.


Samuel Rines

December 25, 2015

How Asia and Europe Will Exploit the Fed's Rate Hike


On Wednesday the Federal Reserve finally moved the target range for the federal funds rate higher for the first time since the financial crisis.

Samuel Rines

December 18, 2015

The Global Middle Class Has Stalled. Has It Stopped for Good?


The emerging world—lower and middle income countries alike—found China’s insatiable appetite for commodities in recent years a godsend. For the new middle class a commodity supercycle was the simplest route to plenty.

Samuel Rines

December 9, 2015

How New Technology Secretly Slows Down the Economy


The U.S. economy has been struggling to return to its pre-crisis dynamism and growth. Wages and productivity growth are tepid at best.

Samuel Rines

November 18, 2015

"Secular Stagnation": The Shaky New Financial Landscape


The term “secular stagnation” is an attention-grabbing headline. When economists posit that slow growth is here to stay, it peaks people’s interest—and for economists, this is a rarity.

Samuel Rines

November 14, 2015

The Federal Reserve Finds a New, Global Way to Evade Transparency


Policy transparency from the Federal Reserve, otherwise known as the Yellen Accord, allows other central banks to anticipate its actions and respond accordingly in their best interest.

Samuel Rines

November 9, 2015

Easing the Night Away


It is a truism we have heard, in one way or another, from many central bankers including Ben Bernanke and Alan Greenspan: Monetary policy cannot solve every economic problem. After the glut of global quantitative easing, the assertion has probably never been more accurate.

Samuel Rines

October 27, 2015

Building a Better System for Student Loan Debt


Student debt is pervasive. The balance in the U.S. is well over $1 trillion. And everyone seems to have it: in 2014, the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that 18 percent of households led by someone aged 45–54 years still had student loan debt.

Samuel Rines

October 20, 2015

The Real Reason America Needs the Trans-Pacific Partnership


The agreement of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is an accomplishment, and there will be benefits, but there is little, if any, reason to cheer at the moment.

Samuel Rines

October 14, 2015

America's Ultimate Economic Nightmare: Default on the Debt


Congress has gotten into a bad habit of using the debt ceiling as a political weapon. The U.S. is not going to default this time, but playing with the debt ceiling increases the risk that it could happen by accident.

Samuel Rines

October 2, 2015

Life after Quantitative Easing


Research has found that Quantitative Easing exacerbates inequality, and its efficacy has been challenged within the Federal Reserve itself. QE is difficult to defend, because—unlike the more traditional shifting of the Fed funds rate—it works through transmission mechanisms that are hard to explain.

Samuel Rines

September 29, 2015

The Price the Fed Paid for Peace


The Fed is in the middle of a debate of its own creation: How do policy makers approach a slow growing U.S. economy? Given its mandate, the Fed has had little choice but to undertake QE and maintain a “zero interest rate policy” (ZIRP) since December 2008.

Samuel Rines

September 17, 2015

Secular Stagnation: The Dismal Fate of the Global Economy?


Larry Summers has suggested that the U.S. economy is mired in a permanently lower trajectory of growth called “secular stagnation.” This assertion is not without merit, and there have been loud expressions of both agreement and disagreement.

Samuel Rines

September 11, 2015

The Fed's Disturbing Monetary Policy Options


All eyes were on a September rate hike (and some still are). But the minutes from their latest meeting suggest that the Federal Open Market Committee has not made up its mind.

Samuel Rines

August 25, 2015

This is the Real Reason China's Currency Devaluation is Bad News


In the late 20th century and the first decade of the 21st, Alan Greenspan led a Fed that—in retrospect—kept monetary policy loose for an exceedingly long period of time.

Samuel Rines

August 13, 2015

Puerto Rico's Debt Dilemma: America's Little Greece?


Puerto Rico distills 70 percent of the rum consumed in the United States. We might surmise that both borrowers and lenders were imbibing too much if they failed to foresee the island territory’s recent default.

Samuel Rines

August 11, 2015

Trans-Pacific Partnership: Mexico's Last Chance?


The global economy is struggling to find growth stories. China is slowing, Europe rebounds in fits and starts, and commodity-exporting economies are increasingly feeling the pressure as prices relentlessly fall.

Samuel Rines

August 7, 2015

Congress' Dangerous New Monetary Policy Rule


Contrary to its well established reputation, monetary policy has been anything but dull of late. The Federal Reserve has simultaneously been blamed for causing the financial crisis, and for being too interventionist to correct its mistakes.

Samuel Rines

July 23, 2015

Game Over: Greece Surrenders to Europe


Greece has surrendered the last of its sovereignty. After a referendum widely interpreted to be a rejection of austerity, Greece has agreed to (though not enacted) even stricter reforms.

Samuel Rines

July 15, 2015

Greece's Default Nightmare: What You Need to Know


How will the Greek drama end? Now on the precipice of default, the Greeks will undertake a largely symbolic vote on whether or not to accept terms of an agreement that has already expired.

Samuel Rines

June 30, 2015

One Monetary Policy to Rule Them All


Differing regions of the United States benefited unequally from the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing, and these regions will not react identically to less accommodative monetary policy.

Samuel Rines

June 22, 2015

The U.S. Fed: Stuck in Neutral?


There is always an ideal. For the Fed, the ideal is the neutral (or natural or equilibrium) rate of interest. The neutral interest rate can be defined as the Fed Funds rate consistent with an economy operating at its “potential.”

Samuel Rines

May 30, 2015

Why America's Debt Bomb Won't Explode... Yet


In Schrodinger’s famous thought experiment, a cat is placed in a sealed box with a mechanism rigged to possibly release cyanide in an hour, depending on the rate of atomic decay.

Samuel Rines

May 26, 2015

Could China's Renminbi Rival the Dollar as the Next Reserve Currency?


China has made a request of the International Monetary Fund (IMF): It wants the IMF to recommend the Chinese renminbi as a reserve currency. Being a reserve-currency economy would give China easier and cheaper access to capital (something an indebted China is likely to cheer).

Samuel Rines

May 11, 2015

Your Guidebook to a Greek Financial Default


The Hellenic Republic has too much debt. So much, in fact, it is unlikely to be able to repay it all—even given more bailouts and more time. There are few viable choices, many views, and the typical convoluted European politics. The chances of something dramatic happening are rising.

Samuel Rines

April  26, 2015

The Transformation of America's Housing Market


There has been a pivot in the way Americans live.  When it estimated the U.S. housing inventory for the fourth quarter of 2014...

Samuel Rines

April 20, 2015

The Fed's Big Role in the Oil-Price Game


Most analysts are on the supply side of the oil-price equation. But there is something else at work—demand.

Samuel Rines

April 7, 2015

The Yellen Accord and the Dollar


The Plaza Accord was a truly coordinated effort by the G5 economic powers to spur economic growth. Finance ministers met, agreed on a course of action, and executed it. Although the goal was explicit, it was also vague—to devalue the dollar.

Samuel Rines

March 26, 2015

What Uber Could Teach the American Economy


The ride-sharing technology company Uber understands more about the U.S. economy than it is given credit for. Consider Uber’s use of surge pricing.

Samuel Rines

January 26, 2015

Africa's Moment, Dashed Again


Booming commodity markets and plenty of foreign investment made it appear that Africa was (finally) about to have its moment.  It was to be the new growth engine emerging to take the reins as Asian economies matured.

Samuel Rines

December 27, 2014

The Federal Reserve: Ignoring the Global Economy?


The Federal Reserve has been accused, among many other things, of ignoring the global economy. Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer would beg to differ. In a speech in early October he delivered to.

Samuel Rines

November 26, 2014

The Federal Reserve's Trade War


There is no doubt the Federal Reserve’s policy of quantitative easing, or “QE”, has influenced markets both at home and abroad. But it seems even policy makers may be misinterpreting precisely how it has affected the U.S. economy.

Samuel Rines

October 16, 2014

Texas: America's Economic Miracle


There is nowhere quite like Texas. Blessed with oil and cursed with heat, it is a state that rides the highs and lows of the energy market. And today, those are highs.

Samuel Rines

October 6, 2014

Janet Yellen's Reserved Monetary Insight


In her speech at the central bank retreat in Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said something remarkable for an economist—the labor market data lacks clarity, is confusing, and is sometimes contradictory.

Samuel Rines

August 25, 2014

Why Hoarding Isn't Always a Bad Thing for GDP


Hoarders beware; the latest GDP print will put you to shame. According the Bureau of Economic Analysis, in the second quarter the US increased inventories at an annual rate of nearly $93 billion dollars.

Samuel Rines

July 31, 2014

The Many Economies of America


The US is not economically homogeneous, and it is too often treated as if it were. It sounds reasonable to say the US economy is rebounding from the recession.

Samuel Rines

June 26, 2014

Canada's Economy: Crisis or Superstar Status?


“Canada is not the party. It’s the apartment above the party.” If he was talking about the Canadian economy, comedian Craig Ferguson was wrong.

Samuel Rines

May 29, 2014

America's Secret Economic Weapon: The "Boomers"


America is growing old. The Boomers—the very generation that drove the U.S. economic miracle—would now seem to be driving us off a demographic “cliff” as decades of booming consumption and labor-force growth reverse course.

Samuel Rines

May 9, 2014

America's Start-Up Problem


Where are all the jobs? Even in the midst of a multi-year recovery, labor-market indicators make for grim reading. The hires rate sits well below pre-recession levels, the unemployment level has declined less than the number of people leaving the labor force...

Samuel Rines

April 21, 2014

Trans-Pacific Partnership: Geopolitics, Not Growth?


The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the proposed trade deal linking the US with eleven other countries ranging from Brunei to Australia and Chile, will be an economically transformative agreement—but not for the US.

Samuel Rines

March 31, 2014

Who Will Be the Next China?


China posted astounding growth rates both before and after the Great Recession. But now its GDP growth numbers are decelerating, and the days of 10 percent growth are over.

Samuel Rines

February 3, 2014

Middle Skill Gap


The skills gap is widening, the middle class is shrinking, and wages are stagnant. America has underinvested in areas of competitiveness over the past several decades while overinvesting in short-term fixes that mask the underlying issues.

Samuel Rines

January 2, 2014



The Millennials are a massive generation. At 77 million people, they are over 24 percent of the US population and about the same size as the Boomers. Though they have unparalleled levels of education, they have yet to make an impact on the economy.

Samuel Rines

December 26, 2013

Featured in the Houston Chronicle

Brand America


Brand recognition, both home and abroad, is a critical component in the competitiveness of US business. But in a globalized economy, the US itself is competing with other countries for jobs, investment, and economic growth.

Samuel Rines

December 2013


The TTIP-ing Point


The landmark free-trade deal could see the U.S. and Europe gain new power and the BRICS fade faster. But first it has to pass.  After watching their economies stagnate and sputter forward, two economic titans are sitting down to talk about a trade agreement.

Samuel Rines

October 29, 2013


Hitting a BRIC Wall


When Jim O’Neill christened Brazil, Russia, India, and China the ‘BRICs’ in 2001, the composition of the global economy was in the process of shifting away from the West to the new guard. But now these economies are stumbling.

Samuel Rines

October 17,  2013

Involuntary Growth


A half day at the office is not always a good thing. Part-time jobs—with lower wages, less stability, and higher turnover—are less desirable than full-time for an economy. There are fewer fringe benefits associated with part-time work, and the jobs are generally considered to be of lower quality.

Samuel Rines

September, 2013


Inflated Expectations


The mid-70’s and early 80’s made “inflation” an obscene word for a generation of people.  Two subsequent decades of generally stable prices across the industrialized world have not completely erased the memory, and there has been considerable anxiety that...

Samuel Rines

July 2013

Monthly Economic Data Aren't Reliable


Today, nearly every useful U.S. economic indicator—from GDP growth to employment to housing data—is incorrect when it is initially released. Better data do become available, and revised estimates are made public as time passes.

Samuel Rines

June 27, 2013

Featured in The Wall Street Journal

Cutting to the Core


In many ways, the Bureau of Economic Analysis’ latest GDP report mirrored many of the releases since the end of the Great Recession.

Samuel Rines

May 2013

Quitting Time


The economy loves a quitter. In January, 2.175M people quit their jobs. This was more than the 1.72M that quit in December, and the 1.75M that quit in November of last year. According to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey—known as JOLTS—more than 25M people left their jobs in 2012.

Samuel Rines

April 2013

Secondary Distortions


Call it the aftershock. Beyond the headline items like unemployment, falling GDP, consumer spending, and so on, recessions cause distortions and over- corrections in a wide array of individuals markets.

Samuel Rines

March 2013

Move on Out?


How does an economy generate almost 21 million people between the ages of 18 and 30 living at home? With an economic headwind strong enough to deter these individuals from migrating to independence.

Samuel Rines

February 2013

States of Diffusion


On September 10, 2010, the National Bureau of Economic Research announced that the Great Recession officially ended in the second quarter of 2009. Good news, but

in many respects, for huge swaths of the country,

the recession never ended.

Samuel Rines

January 2013

'Tis Better to Give


Give more gifts this Christmas. After all, the health of the US economy and its prospects for growth rely heavily on where, and how much, the US consumer chooses to shop.

Samuel Rines

December 2012


Against the World


Somewhere in the depths of a slightly idealized history, the US believed itself a nation of builders. And this is a good thing to be. Manufacturing and its spillover effects play a vital role in the health of the economy.

Samuel Rines

November 2012

To Infinity, and Beyond?


Love it or hate it, Quantitative Easing is here. The typical mechanisms of Federal Reserve policy—overnight interest rates and small holdings of government debt—are relatively dull and easily understood. But QE is esoteric, exotic, and begs to be critiqued and even feared.

Samuel Rines

October 2012


A License to Print Money


The dollar is not alone. U.S. merchants, banks, and consumers accept over a dozen community currencies—sometimes called complimentary currencies—despite the

fact that they are not official or legal tender.

Samuel Rines

September 2012


Let Them Steal It


The US and other developed nations tend to have a tremendous advantage inventing and innovating. Less-developed nations struggle to keep up technologically and occasionally resort to unscrupulous methods to maintain pace with their industrial counterparts.

Samuel Rines

August 2012

Confidence in the Enemy


In 1907, a single speculator brought the financial market to its knees. F.A. Heinze was a copper speculator and budding financier with interests in financial institutions all over New York City.


Samuel Rines

July 2012


Questions of the Recession


A primary home is the single largest asset for many Americans. Most saw a dramatic rise in the values of their homes—about 60 percent—from 2000 to 2007 alone. But the bubble burst, and the collapse of housing prices had a profound effect on the wealth of Baby Boomers, and lowered the lifetime income levels of Generation Y.

Samuel Rines

June 2012


Before China's Rise


The beginning of the 20th century saw two powers, Britain and Germany, vying for dominance in Europe. The German economy was a juggernaut, manufacturing more than its European counterparts.

Samuel Rines

May 2012

Dollars and Euros


“There’s no limit to how complicated things can get, on account of one thing always leading to another.” E.B. White was definitely not an economist, but the quote seems to perfectly articulate the situation the Euro finds itself in today.

Samuel Rines

April 2012


Creating a Useful Bubble


It appears we may lose a generation. One of the

most economical bifurcated, under-employed

generations in the history of the U.S. is becoming

increasingly aware of their situation.

Samuel Rines

March 2012


How Debt Destroys Democracy


Lost in discussion of the European debt crisis is the health of democracy, more specifically, liberal democracy. Liberal in the sense that government should be organized around the rule of law and individual liberties, not  the American context.

Samuel Rines

February 2012

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