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

If You Believe the Market Reacts to Information

The bad news of the day is that about $5B ($5,000,000,000) more than previously believed went to buy goods made in China, Japan, non-major South and Central American countries, and other places outside the U.S. Per the Vampire Squid (tm Matt Taibbi), this should cause a revision to Q2 US GDP from 1.3% to 0.9%. […]

I want spending, I want spending, I WANT SPENDING!

By: Daniel Becker There is some new information from Adam Hersh of Center for American Progress showing what has happened in the states that have followed the conservative economic approach (yes, talking to you Obama, DLC, Clintonites).  Keep cutting at your own risk. Here’s the thing.  Like the Wile E Coyote, we seem to have […]

Financial Services Intermediation

Traditionally, non-commercial banking (i.e., everything except savings deposits and consumer loans) was about one of two things: Tax arbitrage or Regulatory arbitrage The rest is window dressing; that is, it was basic financial intermediation, usually for the purpose of helping Corporate and/or High Net Worth clients.* That was until the late 1990s and the Noughts, […]

Who Committed Excess Borrowing?

With a hat tip to Rebecca’s post below, normalized borrowing growth in several sectors over the past 25 years. (Source: FRB Flow of Funds data) Yes, there are three very similar (shades of blue) lines—but they are all household and non-profit data. (The growth in “credit market instruments” is, presumably, primarily driven by the non-profit […]

Steve Randy Waldman Explains It All to You

Not certain this link will work, but at Interfluidity, SRW replies to Karl Smith, closing with a sentiment with which I am very much in sympathy: It is not technocratic economists who will win the day and pull us out of our cul-de-sac, but angry Irishmen and Spaniards who challenge, on moral terms, the right […]

Evaluating the "excess" in the US corporate financial balance

In a NY Times op-ed, Rob Parenteau and Yves Smith reminded us that the private sector financial balance is a function of the household financial balance and the corporate financial balance. They concluded the following regarding excess corporate saving: So instead of pursuing budget retrenchment, policymakers need to create incentives for corporations to reinvest their […]

Private-sector leverage says that it’s not Bill Clinton

What’s your answer? “Thinking about the past few decades… to the best of your knowledge, which ONE of the following U.S. Presidents do you think did the best job of managing the economy?” Bill Clinton Ronald Reagan Barack Obama Lyndon B. Johnson George W. Bush Richard Nixon That’s question #11 of the the Allstate-National Journal […]

Open Question: What is the Optimal Level of U.S. Public Debt?

by Bruce Webb Back in 2000 Alan Greenspan warned Congress about the potential disappearance of the long bond in the face of continuing surpluses. He probably knew at the time that he was just feeding the appetites of tax-cutters, and not say advocating for using those surpluses for something like Universal Single Payer, but he […]

"Run Government Like a Business" = Deficit Spending

We’re used to that line by now. Ross Perot—one of the more prominent people who got rich due to government contracts—used it, Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman are using it (while desperately hoping you don’t pay attention to how they ran Lucent/HP or eBay), and Aaron Sorkin even had Charles Grodin say it in Dave, […]

Debt, Deficits, and Defense

Debt, Deficits, and Defense…The Sustainable Defense Task Force set in motion by Rep. Barney Frank has comprehensive suggestions. It is more specific than other suggestions I have read. David Ignatius of the Washington Post sees deficits concern as a possible unifying process among right/left thinking. I don’t see it. Bruce Bartlett comments on deficits and […]