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

"…the great banking crisis of 2008 is over" says Time CNN

rdan Well, there you go. And all that fuss for naught. (bolding is mine) Time CNN declares: Investors find it disconcerting to see the stocks in the huge financial institutions that are at the foundation of the global capital system trading up and down 25% a day, and, in some cases trading in the pennies. […]

"Battles" Does Not Mean What You Think It Does

Headline from the Christian Science Monitor: “As G-20 battles protectionism, a cautionary tale in Ecuador” [emphasis mine] Subhead for that same article: “The country has put steep tariffs on an array of goods. Seventeen of the world’s 20 largest economies have broken recent promises not to take protectionist measures.” [emphasis mine] Presumably, the other three […]

Bonaventura Anselm and Kaus

Robert Waldmann What can we learn from really bad arguments ? I think it is useful to examine plainly invalid arguments, because the error in thought which they grossly manifest might contaminate less obviously idiotic contributions to the discussion. A few arguments are so dumb that they have remained fixed in my mind. Most of […]

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 […]

Grass is Green, Sky is Blue, The WSJ Lies to You

Among their editorial suggestions for replacing Tim Geither as head of the New York FRB: Better choices would include …David Malpass, an economist who worked at the Reagan Treasury and long predicted the credit bubble…. Yes, you saw that correctly. David Malpass. Strangely, they don’t describe him as “David Malpass, former Chief Economist for Bear […]

Is David Leonhardt pretending Henry Paulson did his job?

Or does he know better? This year’s election coincided with an important moment in the financial crisis. The credit markets have stabilized in the last few weeks and even improved a bit. But the rest of the economy is deteriorating fairly rapidly. It’s now in danger of falling into a vicious spiral, in which spending […]

Four years is too long, Brad

Ms. mochi-tsuki discovers that the Washington Post has no copyeditors and cannot do math. If this were another blog, I would be typing “Why, oh why, can’t we have a better press corps” here. Instead, let’s just leave it at: if you can’t extract data from the census correctly, what are you doing publishing a […]


L’Shana Tovah, and let’s talk about something near and dear to Fox News’s heart: the evil Canadian press. CBC has apologized for an opinion piece: In the article, Mallick said Palin appeals to “the white trash vote” with her “toned-down version of the porn actress look.” To make matters worse, the apology includes a glorious […]

David Leonhardt needs to retire, having abdicated responsibility

by Ken Houghton I don’t believe David Leonhardt is an idiot, but that’s not based on the evidence at hand: There are really only two [questions]: What steps are most likely to solve the immediate crisis? And how can the long-term cost to taxpayers be minimized? Everything else — reducing executive pay on Wall Street, […]

An Economist Who Doesn’t Believe People Respond to Incentives

Ladies and gentlemen, Tyler (“So Right It Hurts“) Cowen presents the following, er, argument: Excessive bank regulation is another danger. To be sure, the regulatory structure for financial institutions failed in the current crisis, and change is in order. But we shouldn’t reform in a way that will discourage bank lending and weaken the tie […]