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

Policy and housing: someone’s gotta give!

by Rebecca Housing demand is being propped up by government subsidies and low mortgage rates, and the level of supply is held back by low prices. Right now, the housing market is a complicated hodgepodge of policy, foreclosures, and very weary potential home-buyers. Home sales are stabilizing; home building is stabilizing; and home prices (might […]

Stimulating! Stimulating! The Conservative’s Case

Andrew Samwick states the obvious, clearly and well: I think we are now 18 months behind where we should be in moving forward with sensible government spending plans. We should have pulled the fiscal policy ripcord in January 2008 with a public investment plan designed to repair our aging infrastructure. I’d rather have the 18 […]

Ready, Steady — Go?

The U.S. Conference of Mayors presents a (by no means all-inclusive) list of shovel-ready projects, including $11 billion in Public Transit(over $600 million in demand from Charlotte alone, which recently passed NYC in drive-time to work and has seen its drivers vote with their train passes) and over $30B in Energy projects. Search through it. […]

Stimulus Update

Brad DeLong has the breakdown of things taken out of the no-longer-possible-to-defend-as-stimulating stimulus bill. Nice to see that no Republican, and precious few Democratic Senators, believe in following even Andrew Samwick’s tepid endorsement: Congress and the Obama Administration should be very discriminating in what they will spend money on. Bailout money for banks and large […]

How many "Free Trade" Economists will thank the Union?

I’ve said before that the “Buy American” provisions in the stimulus bill were not exactly a major issue. (I believe the phrase was roughly, “could drive a broken Mexican truck through the holes, even if dead drunk.”) Many economists (hi, Barkley) disagreed, even while some acknowledged that the income effect from “buying American” would be […]

Attention Republicans/Blue Dog Democrates: Tax cuts as stimulus work against your goal

by Divorced one like Bush I think it’s time to reread the World Bank report on what creates wealth because it seems that the arguments against the stimulus are from a mind-set of very narrow thinking about what creates wealth. They all seem focused on what the World Bank report calls “Produced Capital”. Unfortunately, focusing […]

If Ever There Were a Tipping Point in the Nationalisation Discussions…

Willem Buiter, whose early posts at Maverecon were the epitome of restraint, calls for nationalisation: By throwing cheap money with little conditionality at the banks, the Fed and the US Treasury may get bank lending going again. By subsidizing new capital injections, they reward bad porfolio choices by the existing shareholders. By letting the executive […]

Three Charts in a Tangle: What Lending?

UPDATE: Credit where due category: H/T to Felix Salmon for pointing to this chart at, which gives you borrowings relative to GDP. I often hate line graphs, especially when they include outliers that skew the axis, making it virtually unreadable. (This may be a result of seeing several papers this semester with Chilean/US$ exchange […]