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

Define Rich V: Looking at the historical labor economy

We are taking a little side trip inthis series of defining rich based on the prior tax rate schedulesbut, this post is keeping with the process of looking at history formarkers as to the definition of rich. For any new readers, I believeas a society we knew and had definite boundaries as to what definedrich. […]

Weekend Reflection Points

The lead article in the current AER is available here (gated, apparently, though the link isn’t working; h/t Tom Bozzo [on FB] and Brad DeLong; I was using the paper copy). The most interesting part so far: the authors only considered the documented costs of air pollution—not land, not water—in deriving the (embarrassingly negative) ROI […]

Pro Publica and bailout lists

Barry Ritholtz at The Big Picture points to Pro Publica regarding Tarp and other bailout monies: Pro Publica has been maintaining a list of bailout recipients, updating the amount lent versus what was repaid. So far,  938 Recipients have had $607,822,512,238 dollars committed to them, with $553,918,968,267 disbursed. Of that $554b disbursed, less than half […]

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, […]

I Told You So

Robert Waldmann is pleased to note that he was right and that Paul Krugman and Joeseph Stiglitz were wrongggg. They claimed that PPIP was a huge giveaway, because purchases of toxic assets would be 85% financed by no-recourse loans from the FDIC. I noted that this financing would only be available if the FDIC (not […]

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, […]

Much to My Amazement

UPDATE: It gets even stranger. The bankrupt-since-October-2008 Lehman Brothers is going to pay $50,000,000 in bonuses for this year. (h/t alea’s Twitter feed) It appears all of the “gosh, we really made a lot of money from bailing out rich bankers who socked it to their customers” rhetoric is having a small problem in the […]

We Report, You Lie

NYT headline: Audit Finds TARP Program Effective. Paragraph six of the same article: The Treasury’s lack of clarity about the program’s goals, the oversight panel said, made it hard to assess its overall effectiveness. Mr. Geithner is scheduled to testify on Thursday in his quarterly appearance before the five-member panel. [emphasis mine] Clearly. one of […]

Inflation Detour II: Crisis and Recovery across Great "Fluctuations"

We are now almost 24 months into the Great Recession. While many expect NBER will eventually say that The Great Recession ended several months ago, they have not yet. By contrast, the recession that began The Great Depression, per NBER, lasted 43 months. It seems only fair to compare the two, so I trust I […]