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Tag >> economy
Here's an interesting observation by University of California at Berkeley economics professor Brad DeLong that I haven't seen made before. He says the two standard arguments against government spending to stimulate the economy contradict each other.
On the one hand, some opponents argue that government spending crowds out private investment, leading to higher interest rates, which will offset any positive effect on economic growth.
To get the economy moving again, the job submit President Obama is holding on Thursday should produce ideas other than short-term measures to provide relief for the unemployed.
What can the government do? Here's summary of all the infrastructure projects around the country that need funding:
Legislation containing Ron Paul's audit-the-Fed provision has passed the House Financial Services Committee, and guess what, contrary to Ben Bernanke's warnings, the sky hasn't fallen.
Wonder if investors read Martin Mayer's piece over at the Institutional Risk Analyst, where the Brookings scholar and longstanding Fed maven observed, "Not everything said by [Paul] need be taken seriously, but on this subject he is right on the money. The much touted ‘independence' of the Fed is an independence from the executive, not the legislative branch."
Good thing Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says he's ready to start busting bubbles, because it looks like things are starting to percolate in the debt markets.
I get a little antsy when I hear guys with 40 years of experience in the junk bond markets say things like what Loomis Sayles Bond Fund manager Daniel Fuss told the Wall Street Journal recently: "The inflow of funds has been phenomenal. I have not seen a rally like this, ever, in the high-yield market."
The Congressional Budget Office provided a bit of sanity yesterday in the increasingly nonsensical debate about the virtue, or lack thereof, of government attempts to stimulate the economy.
Essentially, the CBO found that, surprise, surprise, the recession would have been a few GDP points deeper without the stimulus, that the most effective parts of the package involved spending on infrastructure and the like, and that the least effective consisted of tax cuts.
There's been so much tea-reading of the Fritz Henderson firing that I find it hard to add anything useful.
But something about Joann Lublin's take this morning bugged me sufficiently to provide a way for me to weigh in. Predictably, the WSJ line is that the firing at GM along with boardroom moves elsewhere by the government show that taxpayer ownership will inevitably politicize management, and she cites Barney Frank's recent interference in GM's plans to close a plant in Massachusetts as evidence.
Ask.com released its top questions of 2009 on Tuesday. And, as always, they give us a nice glimpse into what's on people's minds.
Some questions are ageless, including No. 6, "What is the meaning of life?" and the top question of the year, "How much should I weigh?" And, of course, No. 8, "How long does marijuana stay in your system?" and No. 5, "What is Miley Cyrus' phone number?"
Others are more timely, like No. 4, "What is Twitter?" and "What are the symptoms of Swine Flu?"
Then there is No. 2, which is both ageless and extremely timely: "How do I get out of debt fast?"
With that, let's take a closer look at the top personal finance questions of 2009 and what they tell us about our financial psyche heading into the New Year.
Quick, what's the business buzzword we're likely to hear most often next year, as we continue to work ourselves out of the recession?
Is it "exit strategy," "deleveraging," "new normal"?
Former Bush I economic advisor Michael Boskin has put out a traditional rant against what he sees as the return of government-directed investment, though he concedes that its justified for items such as military R&D (see the Internet).
The thrust is familiar to anyone old enough to remember how this went down in the Eighties: Essentially, the laissez-faireniks argue that the market is much better than the government at allocating capital because the latter cuts out incentives for private investors.
If only things were as good for the rest of the economy as they are for banks, we'd be through this recovery and on our way to the next bust.
Corporate profits rose 11 percent in the third quarter from the prior quarter to $1.36 trillion, according to preliminary data from the Commerce Department released Tuesday.
That growth, however, was disproportionately coming from financial institutions, whose earnings leapt 36 percent domestically. Profits among other companies rose just 2 percent.
Yes, it must be nice to borrow at zero percent and then throw you're your money into Treasuries or lend cautiously, if at all.