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

Drugs, the US solution for all the pain

By: Daniel Becker   Just a little something that came across my desk. As you read it, think about the concept: War on Drugs. “In the United States, the therapeutic use of opioids has exploded as witnessed by the increased sales of hydrocodone by 280% from 1997 to 2007, while at the same time methadone […]

Simon Johnson on Tim Geithner and Elizabeth Warren

Simon Johnson offers pointed criticism of the role Timothy Geithner has played to date in the Great Recession and bank regulation, in particular as an advisor and architect to the Obama economic team and how that policy is presented and pursued in Congress. Another worthwhile read.

Third Time, Someone Will Believe: Manage Risk or It Manages You

As the late Allison Snow-Jones noted, economics depends on working mathematics. Mathematics, in turn, depend on the conditions being described correctly. If I build a model in which two things are independent, they have to be independent for my model to work. Or, to quote a quoting: Many months ago, I quoted the brilliant Janet […]

Mark Thoma has a Future in Stand-Up Comedy

The readers of the Fiscal Times learn what everyone looking at the alphabet-soup of back-door taxpayer theft (or, as Ben Bernanke calls them, facilities) knows: There are many ways policy could have been improved; providing more help for state and local governments is high on the list, but I’ll focus on another way: using fiscal […]

Everything Old is New Again, Part 1934-1937

I have (vainly, I suspect, in both senses of the phrase), tried to start a meme on Twitter, #ifTimGeithnerrantheEmergencyRoom. “The defibrillator would only charge to 30 to prevent scarring; anything more and you’re on your own” probably isn’t winning friends or influencing people, but it does make me feel better. It also makes me look […]

Current doldrums are just jobless, sales-less recovery

NBER just made official what we all knew they would say: the Great Recession ended in June of 2009. For those who are encouraged, note that they also do not indicate that there was a recession from March of 1933 to May of 1937, that the eighteen (18) months indicated is the longest since 1929-1933, […]

The Gift that Keeps on Giving

During the discussions about the Fannie Mae project I still regret having turned down, one of the topics was which security would be better for a portfolio (assuming their risk-adjusted prices provided the same value): a four-year-old MBS or a seven-year-old MBS? I noted that the four-year-old MBS provided more potential upside but came gradually […]

The Texas Miracle, Yet Again

We keep hearing about the Texas Miracle.  It’s been mythic since “openly gay” Governor Rick Perry declared that Texas was in great shape, in no need of stimulus monies at all—after receiving enough to turn his state’s fourteen-figure budget deficit into a surplus. (UPDATE: Links added. And that final link was rather prophetic.) So when […]

Public Works on a Vast Scale?

I spent the last hours of last night watching the PBS “Human Experience” episode on the Civilian Conservation Corps. A few million people put to work: for long hours, living in Army barracks, with all but $5 of their pay having to be sent home every week. Gosh, sounds just right as part of FDR’s […]