Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

The Wrong Crisis

Robert Waldmann What isn’t going on in financial markets ? There are various theories of the financial crisis which suggest simple solutions and have the only defect that they are fantasies. 1) The only problem is mark to market accounting. Market prices for mortgage backed securities (MBS) are very low because of a panic. Banks […]

more on Mallaby

Robert Waldmann Looks like I should have put the post to which the post below links here. Thanks for clicking the link. I will try to add up by adding a point here. Sebastian Mallaby argues that deregulation did not cause the crisis, because hedge funds are regulated even less than investment banks. Based on […]

General Equilibrium theory and Finance

Robert Waldmann I wrote a post below on how economic theory as presented to the public and economic theory are very different. In particular, even given the standard super strong assumptions, economic theory does *not* imply that Laissez faire is the best policy, does not imply that market outcomes are even Pareto efficient (a very […]

What’s Wrong with Economic Theory as Presented to the Public ?

Robert Waldmann I have a very low opinion of economic theory. I think that its survival is the result of a bait and switch where the core principles (roughtly Nash equilibrium) can’t be proven false, because they have no implications, and, given the fact that they have not been proven false, economists attempt to convince […]

WaMu tries to lend $9,000 to Cliff105 at subprime

Robert Waldmann notes a bit of financial news that must be read to be believed. Cliff105 who is between jobs and reading about the financial crisis receives an interesting bit of junk mail. a credit card offer from my recently failed bank, Washington Mutual. Normally, I throw these credit card offers into the recycle bin […]

Mark to Market Accounting

Robert Waldmann is about to share his ignorance on banking, banking regulation, accounting, And accounting standards all in one post. You know the end is near when ordinary people get interested in accounting standards. A wide variety of politicians have decided that the problem with the US financial system is Mark to Market Accounting. It […]

What Is to be done ?

Robert Waldmann OK what now ? Unless someone has just submitted a post, AngryBear doesn’t have a post on what to do now that the House Republicans (and some Democrats) have voted down the Paulson-Dodd-Frank bailout bill. The contingent consensus of the Left Blogosphere seems to have been to go for the Swedish solution if […]

How did Lehman manage that ?

Robert Waldmann A commenter over at naked capitalism notes that $110b of senior LEH debt went from trading .95 to .12 in a matter of days …. If you include the less senior debt that is trading at essentially zero, LEH had $110b hole in its balance sheet. And just days before this, the market […]

Financial Arsonists ?

Robert Waldmann Many people are using the term “arsonists” as a loose metaphor for people who share the blame for the current financial crisis. They aren’t suggesting that anyone actually wanted a financial crisis. Cocking my tinfoil hat I will note that it is entirely possible that someone has been making out like a bandit […]