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

Nobody Could Have Predicted, Volume CCCXL

McGill University Macroeconomics Comprehension Exam, May 2003, Question 10 (Essay): The stock market bubble burst in the spring of 2000. The popular pres now talks about a housing bubble, referring to ever rising prices of houses in North America (and elsewhere). They say that if the housing bubble bursts it will have a much more […]

Helicopter Some Money Over Here?

Atrios writes: I know we’re in crazy economic times here, but it’s still a bit weird seeing economists suggesting that our government get into the mortgage business at below market rates. I say the economic times are so crazy that I’ll worry about getting a refi at “below market” rates when the market shows some […]

I’d like to refinance, please.

In one of the stupidest wastes of Treasury monies this month—a major accomplishment, though AIG hasn’t hit the trough again yet, so there might be hope—the Treasury wants to subsidize new mortgages (link to CR): Under the plan, Treasury would buy securities underpinning loans guaranteed by the two mortgage giants, which are temporarily under the […]

The Guy Who Will Say Anything to Get Elected

by Tom Bozzo Brad DeLong blogs the train wreck at a clown show that is the McCain campaign so I don’t have to (big report due in a week, sorry ). He has a twofer. First, there’s the the McCain health plan. Or, rather, the evolution from We’re phoning it in, to OMG, people are […]

Top O’ The Bubble To You, England!

Felix Salmon found it quite odd, after weighing the roles of sellers holding out for peak prices and weird index (average) behavior, that the house price index for England and Wales managed to register a small increase — though considerably less than measured inflation — despite a dramatic collapse in sales volume. England probably does […]

Two Things Someone Else Needs to Discuss

Since I’m trying to cut a 24-page paper down closer to 15 today, I’ll leave the Heavy Lifting to other. But two things probably should be discussed (or at least noted) here: Brad DeLong appears (to me) to confuse perceiving a move from Democratic Republic to Empire—and therefore away from any Competitive Advantage for the […]

Palley on Tax Preferences for Homeownership and the Bubble

Mark Thoma points to Thomas Palley playing lightning rod with “Tax Policy and the House Price Bubble.” With a title like that, you might expect a prima facie case for a causal link between tax preferences for homeownership and the bubble, but Palley’s lede is deeply buried and there turns out not to be a […]

Inside the CPI

Thanks to Rdan for the welcome. I’m with Barry Ritholtz in admiring the NYT’s interactive consumer price inflation mosaic, which the print edition didn’t do justice to. As someone who occasionally gets a bee in the bonnet over the successes and failures of economic measurement methods, the graphic also helps illustrate a couple ways in […]

Ken Melvin on Housing Prices

Reader Ken Melvin sends along some thoughts on housing prices: — Speculation in housing: Much of the speculation in houses is due leveraging. The buyer puts down 10% on a $500,000 home, first year; price of the home goes up 10% to $550,000. The buyer sells and voila, makes 100% on his 10% down. Hell […]