Top 10 economic events of 2017

Donald Trump holding up tax cut bill after signing December 2017

Economic events of 2017 Some could have far reaching consequences. Especially the installation of Trump to the presidency. Others may just be interesting.

1. Donald Trump gets elected and is inaugurated as president of the United States. This real estate investor, one time gambling casino developer, avid golf course builder, former host of a reality TV show, always the seeker of self promotion, promoter of the falsehood that President Barack Obama was not a natural born citizen of the United States, became an amateur politician and beat all the political pros to win the presidency. While not strictly an economic event, it is likely to have far reaching consequences for the United States economy.

2. On February 21, Kenneth J. Arrow, a most brilliant economic mind died. At 51, he was the youngest economist ever to win a Nobel. He was 95.

3. April 2017, the United States seasonally adjusted unemployment rate drops below 4.5 percent. The last time it was that low was in May 2007, before the Great Recession hit. By November the unemployment rate had fallen to 4.1 percent.

4. Nineteen states raised their minimum wage in 2017. Arizona's was among the largest increases, $1.95 more per hour. The raises in most states amounted to less than a dollar an hour.

5. On May 4, 2017, William Baumol, one of the great economists of the 20th century, died.

6. United States gross domestic product, a key indicator of economic strength, expanded at an annual rate of 3 percent in the third quarter of 2017. This follows a 3.1 percent growth in the previous calendar quarter. It was the best successive quarters of growth since the second and third quarters of 2014.

7. October 9, 2017 Richard Thaler wins the Nobel prize for economics for his work in behavioral economics. Thaler helped demonstrate how the rational maximizing human of many economic models diverges from real human behavior. This new behavioral economics does put some wrinkles, maybe even a big dent, in economic theory and economic science. Economics will be enriched because of the work of Thaler and his like minded theorists, but much of the core of economics remains relevant and intact. Just a bit more enriched. And maybe a little bit humbled.

8. Stocks reach unprecedented highs in 2017. The S&P 500 crosses the 2600 threshold in December.

9. On November 14, Famed health economist Uwe Reinhardt dies. One of the best thinkers on United States health care and writers on why United States health care costs are so much higher than other advanced nations of the world will be sorely missed, even though his advice was rarely followed by those in political power.

10. December 22, 2017, Trump signs Republican tax cut bill. The bill cuts the United States corporate tax rate and offers smaller temporary cuts for most individual tax payers, the largest cuts for those with higher income. The bill will add government induced economic stimulus to the U.S. economy at a time when many economist say it is not needed and could ultimately hurt economic performance. The bill is projected to add $1.5 trillion to the nation's debt over the next 10 years. Republicans dispute this and argue that it will induce substantial economic growth.

11. For a bonus how about this one? The value of bitcoin, a digital currency, soars in 2017. If you bought it in 2016 or earlier, you could now be rich. But if you continue to hold it, you could lose it all.

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