America vs. Eurasia

Price-keeping operations in the global stock markets continue, if not directly (hard to prove) but indirectly via orchestrated news flows – press conferences, summits, announcements, exaggerated coverage of decisions already foregone (Bundestag vote on EFSF). Check out Ambrose Evans-Pritchard’s piece on the exact import of the Bundestag vote. Nothing else is needed to convince ourselves that […]

Delusions About Easy Fixes for Europe, Dreaming During the Calm Before the Storm

Summary: Rumors circulate of complex ways to bail out Europe’s banks and conceal the cost to France and Germany.  These new programs expend scarce political capital AND even more valuable time, while fixing nothing but the banks.  This shows recognition about the seriousness of Europe’s problems but a political tone-deafness that suggests bad times lie ahead.  Here we […]

Imagining a World Without Banks

PIMCO’s Bill Gross has remarked that our nation became a superpower because “we were getting richer by making things, not paper.” Unfortunately, for the last few decades, our nation has primarily grown weaker by making worthless paper in a variety of ways — junk bonds, subprime mortgages and countless types of derivatives — through banks. If […]

The Moral Question

We dodged another shut-down bullet, but only until November 18. That’s when the next temporary bill to keep the government going runs out. House Republicans want more budget cuts as their price for another stopgap spending bill. Among other items, Republicans are demanding major cuts in a nutrition program for low-income women and children. The […]

Jobless Claims Drop Sharply. Can We Believe It This Time?

New jobless claims dropped last week by a hefty 37,000 to a seasonally adjusted 391,000. That’s the biggest weekly tumble since May, pushing new filings for jobless benefits under the 400,000 mark for only the second time in 25 weeks. It looks good, and it surprised a lot of economists. But let’s refrain just yet […]

Progress Under Bush and Obama: The Federal Government Shapes Up

I just returned from a meeting of the Board of Advisers to the Comptroller General of the United States, Gene Dodaro. The CG runs the General Accountability Office, charged by Congress to audit the effectiveness of programs for which the Congress has allocated funds. The GAO has done a vast number of studies (see www.gao.gov) […]

Transaction Taxes and Transparency

The City of London is in a stir over the EU proposal of a financial transactions tax. The great and the good are uniformly arrayed against such a tax. I am not so sure that it wouldn’t be a good thing. Here in Britain we now pay 20 per cent Value Added Tax on virtually […]

Testimony of Marriner Eccles to the Committee on the Investigation of Economic Problems in 1933

Below are excerpts from the testimony of Marriner Eccles to the Senate Committee on the Investigation of Economic Problems in 1933. It is an historic document – laying out the future terms of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the management of money supply nationally through open market operations, the Bretton Woods Accord on currency stability, […]

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