Five Simple Principles for Scaling up in Aid

There is a lot of discussion in aid on scaling up small-scale successes in aid to reach many more potential beneficiaries. But what things can be scaled up? Here are some principles so simple that they would be embarrassing except that they are routinely violated in aid. (1) Scale up success not failure The only […]

Home Appraisal Reform: WSJ vs NYT

Two new articles — in the NYT and the WSJ — look at the home appraisal business: Both article somewhat acknowledge the role appraisers played in facilitating the outsized run up in prices. Yet clearly, there are significant differences. The Times wrote “A profession that should have been a brake on the spiral in home […]

Odd WSJ Story on Vermont

The Wall Street Journal has an odd piece on the Vermont mortgage market today.  Odd in that the thesis appears to be completely unsupported by the rest of the piece.  The story begins: In plenty of other states, Andrea Todd would have been a homeowner years ago. Here, she bought just this month — a difference […]

Japan Emerges From Recession, but the Slump Continues

Amidst a huge fanfare of euphoria from the press, Japan’s GDP expanded by 0.9% quarter on quarter between April and June, or at a 3.7% annualized rate. In doing so it clocked up the first positive growth in five quarters. Many now claim the worst is over is over for Japan, and in terms of […]

Social Security: Time to Uncap FICA…

Brad DeLong:  Social Security: Time to Uncap FICA…, by Brad DeLong: For nearly thirty years–ever since the Republican congressional barons of 1982 begged Reagan to allow them to increase taxes and then figured out that a tax increase that would “save Social Security” was one that he would accept–the rest of the federal budget has […]

A CFPA Research Brief

By Mike Konczal, aka Mike Rorty, of Rortybomb and The Atlantic   I want to point out this research brief on the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (pdf file) from Law Professor Adam Levitin. At 16 pages, it’s the best one-stop paper I’ve seen for understanding why CFPA needs to pass.   As opposed to specific […]

Clawbacks Coming?

Well, this is exciting and encouraging news: “Kenneth Feinberg, the Obama administration’s pay czar, said Sunday that he had broad and “binding” authority over executive compensation, including the ability to “claw back” money already paid, and he is weighing how and whether to use that power. He also said he has the authority to use […]

Is this the Start of the Big One?

I don’t believe in market calls, and trying to time turns is a perilous game. But most savvy people I know have been skeptical of this rally, beyond the initial strong bounce off the bottom. It has not had the characteristics of a bull market. Volumes have been underwhelming, no new leadership group has emerged, […]

The Public Option’s Last Stand, and the Public’s

I would have preferred a single payer system like Medicare, but became convinced earlier this year that a public, Medicare-like optional plan was just about as much as was politically possible. Now the White House is stepping back even from the public option, with the President saying it’s “not the entirety of health care reform,” […]