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

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 […]

TARP Cost estimate lowered again

LA Times (via John Chait). The projected cost of the $700-billion financial bailout fund — initially feared to be a huge hit to taxpayers — continues to drop, with the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimating Monday that losses would amount to just $25 billion. That’s a sharp drop from the CBO’s last estimate, in August, […]

He Gave at the Office

What Treasury under Geither does, according to the Washington Post: “I think we are known as the front line,” said [Michael] Pedroni, 38, a former International Monetary Fund economist and Federal Reserve Bank of New York employee who has spent time at a Wall Street research firm. “Our analysis is meant to be very candid, […]

When You Don’t Spend Any, the Velocity of Money becomes Zero

Edmoney is tracking the allocation and spending of education-related stimulus grants. The map is here. Some states have gotten the funds into circulation better than others. Selected states below (GA was highlighted by them): California, 78% New Jersey, 63% Georgia, 62% Indiana, 60% Oklahoma, 50% Mississippi, 42% Massachusetts, 41% Michigan, 41% Kentucky, 39% Pennsylvania, 35% […]

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 […]

When S != I

As Brad DeLong has noted, Tim Geithner believes it is time for “the economy has now recovered sufficiently for government to begin to make way for private business investment.”  In short, he expects “the private sector” to do the heavy lifting in these joyous times of economic recovery. Cynics among us—why, yes, that might well […]

Forget Jumping the Shark? The WaPo is Doing the Tango with It

UPDATE: Jason Linkins at one of the non-Breast-Enhanced sites of the Huffington Post did a burlesque of which I can only dream on the same piece. Via Chris Hayes’s Twitter feed (and he got it from David Sirota), the following is from “No more ‘me first’ mentality on entitlements“: While it does not happen often, […]

Should Potential Employers have Access to Credit Scores ?

Robert Waldmann Oh good, Kevin Drum and Matthew Yglesias disagree. This is bound to be interesting. Drum remembers the good old days when liberals had less respect for the standard results of simple neoclassical economic models. The specific issue is that firms are using credit scores to decide who to hire. This can trap some […]