Santa’s 2014 Economic Naughty and Nice Lists

He’s making a list…because Santa’s a statistics wonk.

He’s checking it twice…because Santa has more than enough time on his hands.

He’s going to find out who’s naughty and nice…because Santa is evidently an adjunct of the NSA.

Santa Claus is comin’ to town…and again this year he’s got his Economic Naughty and Nice Lists that come from his detailed statistical analysis.

In a post from this time last year, I introduced you to Santa’s Economic Naughty and Nice Lists – the Nice (those who are achieving positive results for their economies) and the Naughty (those who, through action or inaction, do their economies harm). And, once again this year, I’ve managed to get my hands on a copy of Santa’s Economic Naughty and Nice Lists. So, pour the eggnog and find out who Santa’s had his eye on this year.


  • Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, and President of the Bank of Japan, Haruhiko Kuroda – Abe appointed a bold leader for the Bank of Japan, and in April, Kuroda started up a program of qualitative and quantitative to kick-start inflation and devalue the yen. Even if Abe isn’t successful in delivering structural reforms, if inflation continues to come back, the Bank of Japan may have identified the road map to end deflation.  Are you watching, Mario Draghi?
  • China’s President, Xi Jinping – China’s Third Plenary Session resulted in a blueprint for the Chinese economy…and it lived up to the hype.  This reform plan was most significant since in the early 1990s. Keep in mind, though, China plans for decades not months; Xi Jinping wants to be on the Nice List for years to come.
  • Mexico’s President, Enrique Peña Nieto – Only a year in office, Mexican President Nieto has pushed through a remarkable list of economic reforms – from telecommunications reforms, to boosting his government’s tax take, to opening  up and reforming the oil industry. If he keeps up this pace, he’ll be a shoe-in for 2014’s Nice List too.
  • The Women of the U.S. Senate, and Representative Paul Ryan – The women of the U.S. senate were the key players in coming up with deal that prevented economic disaster.  Paul Ryan sneaks onto the list for the Ryan-Murray budget deal.


  • Brazil’s President, Dilma Rousseff – The Brazilian economy continued to stumble this year.  President Rousseff hasn’t dealt with tax reform. She’s hurt infrastructure reforms more than helped them. And she may be doing some “creative accounting” to deal with fiscal targets. Santa may very likely pass over the Palácio do Planalto this year.
  • U.S. Congress (exempting those above) – Government shutdown? Possible sovereign default? These aren’t things the economy needs, and they’re not things that Santa likes very much either.
  • France’s President, Francois Hollande – Like Rouseff, Hollande inherited a lot of his country’s economic problems. However, he has raised taxes too much in a time of slowing growth. Labor markets and markets in general lack competitiveness.  France hangs on the cusp of recession and unemployment remains at nearly 11%.  France may be the weakest link in the Eurozone, and it’s also the region’s second-largest economy.  Whatever happens in France will be felt elsewhere.

The good news for everyone on the Naughty List is that Santa wipes the slate clean on January 1. So, cross your fingers that 2014 will be the year that Santa scratches his head, strokes his beard, and wonders where all the people went for his Economic Naughty List.


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