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

Reads of the Day for the start of 2009

All (somewhat***) via Mark Thoma: Thomas Frank in the WSJ tells me why I always disagree with Robert (and the Other Economists) on the role of rating agencies: And who makes sure that Moody’s and its competitors downgrade what deserves to be downgraded? In 1999 the obvious answer would have been: the market, with its […]

Why we don’t give Stock Tips

sc, commenting at Alea on September 24th, was much better: How to play this to make money? GLD and SKF (if it starts behaving properly) and OTM [out of the money] puts on C, BAC, WB. That last is WalkAllOverYa, which is either WFC or Big C bound, depending on time of day, phase of […]

Wells Fargo: the FDIC didn’t blink, so Paulson intervened?

Stormy noted that Wells Fargo’s bill is based in part on “exploiting a presumed tax loophole.” I forgot to ask the question one should always ask when confronted with a Chess Ending problem, “What was the move before?” In this case, we know (from A C Shareholder’s comment) that Wells had been discussions to purchase […]

Elevated from Comments: The Other Half of the Answer

A detail of tax law makes all the difference in Stormy’s post below. Buy the whole thing, get the tax break. Buy part of it, you don’t.* The other half of the answer is that “timing is everything.” And playing Chicken with the FDIC often has Unintended Consequences.** So let’s turn the continuous-not-discrete timeline details […]

Ultimate Question: Why do we need to BUY them? (Part 1 of a Series)

Almost a week ago—a few decades of Internet time, when people could still believe House Republicans might be sane—Brad DeLong quoted the summary: To provide authority for the Federal Government to purchase certain types of troubled assets for the purposes of providing stability to and preventing disruption in the economy and financial system and protecting […]

If asked, I will serve

I have a cold, or perhaps a touch of the flu, so posting will be light for the next few days. Especially if this is true, which somewhat means the election is over and I can go back to looking at data and hoping the House fails to pass the Christmas Card list bill. But […]

Republicano Delenda est *

by Ken Houghton Brad DeLong lays out the breakdown. When 2/3 of your party believes that taking the Dow down 600 750+ points is a Good Idea, claims such as “the party of fiscal responsibility”—or even the “party of Wall Street”—fail the free market test Big Time. If I weren’t worried about the coming harvest, […]

Floyd Norris points out another reason the bailout will not work

Take a page from Douglas North et al., I will simply note that if the institutions charged with managing the process are corrupt, the chance of success approaches zero. Case in point, Christopher Cox (R-BoughtAndPaid) and the SEC: The interesting thing here is that we have already heard that the S.E.C. staff almost immediately demanded […]

Never let an Economist use "Unintended Consequences" Again

by Ken Houghton It’s not been a Good Weekend for me to read Berkeley-based Economists. (Though DeLong is on fire, in a good way, and has been since that initial post.) Via Mark Thoma, this from Barry Eichengreen: In the United States, there were two key decisions. The first, in the 1970’s, deregulated commissions paid […]