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

PSA: Worth Reading

While Henry and Brad DeLong noted some more silly prattling from a brain-dead economist, AB readers and those wanting to maintain their sanity* will prefer The New Decembrists, and new blog from The Epicurean Dealmaker and, presumably, others. Worth it for TED’s Reformist Manifesto alone. *I do not necessarily assume that either of these sets […]


Robert Waldmann A proposed reform (already shelved) is to require banks to offer “plain vanilla” products. I am very confused about this proposal, so this is a semi bleg. I can’t see any possible benefit from the regulation (probably because I haven’t read the fine print of the draft bill). My thoughts after the jump. […]

Mark Cuban Makes the Key Point

Ken Houghton remembers that Warren Buffett famously groused that he pays a lower percentage of his income in taxes than his secretary. Or the person who will come up with an actual cure for a cancer. Mark Cuban takes this one step further, pointing out the obvious: if we want to promote investment, “we should […]

Just Because You’re Paranoid Doesn’t Mean Law Enforcement Isn’t Out to Help You

From the coolest possibly-corporate-espionage story of the week: If only the FBI were to tackle cases of national security and loss of life with the same speed and precision as they confront presumed high-frequency program trading industrial espionage cases… especially those that allegedly involve Goldman Sachs. The original is from Reuters.

The Economics of Michael Jackson

When I first heard that Michael Jackson died, I thought immediately of Chuck Sullivan. I met him once, probably in the early 1990s, after his sponsorship of The Jacksons’s Victory tour savaged his fortune. Unlike the other Moguls I Have Seen, it seemed his reversal of fortune impacted his mood. (More likely, I just caught […]

Legacy Merrill Lynch employees better hope BofA doesn’t declare bankrutcy before late June

A correspondent notes CJR found a good scoop by the FT: Merrill Lynch paid out about $4 billion in bonuses just days before Bank of America took it over, the Financial Times says this morning. What raises the eyebrows is the timing: Merrill paid its bonuses before the year was even up, “an unusual step” […]

Ratings, Stocks, and Credibility

There is a reason I never believe people who judge the health of a company by its credit rating: the evidence isn’t there, and everyone in the market knows it isn’t there. Here is a prime example: General Electric (GE; the company that Jack eviscerated) has a AAA credit rating. It is also paying a […]

Why Can Asset Prices Fall

Robert Waldmann Brad DeLong boldly attempts to exhaustively list the factors which can affect the value of a fixed income asset. This is some Mac generated i document and I can’t cut and paste. Go here and search for “there are four”. The four are called “default”, “the safe real interest rate”, “risk”, and adverse […]