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On Estonia, it looks like the Krugmanloons were wrong and President Ilves was rightApril 25, 2013
The operatic scale of the financial crisis that has engulfed the world since 2007 has finally been recognised. April 7 sees the premiere, in Talinn, of Nostra Culpa, a 16 minute opera inspired by a “Twitter feud” in which Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves denounced New York Times pontificator Paul Krugman for asserting that Estonia’s response to the crisis had not been a success.
There won't be a recovery until credit card and household debt levels come downAugust 10, 2012
America’s economic pundits are not very creative. For the past several years, their gripes about economic growth have fallen into several staid categories: Monetary policy (“the Fed should do less” vs. “the Fed should do more”); the struggling housing market (“let housing bottom out” vs. “we must save housing”); income inequality (“it doesn’t matter” vs. “it does matter”); and the federal deficit (“lower taxes, pretend to lower spending a lot” vs. “raise taxes, pretend to lower spending a little”). While most of these are legitimate causes of economic stagnation, there is another category that is having an outsized negative impact on growth: privately held debt.
When will lawmakers start rethinking how municipalities should operate?July 26, 2012
If several more bankruptcies pile up, it will look like California's decades-long boom was a modern gilded age.
The Wall Street Journal recently carried an essay by David Wessel, author of the forthcoming book, "Red Ink: Inside the High-Stakes Politics of the Federal Budget". It provides an excellent breakdown of the budget crisis looming over the federal government. Perhaps the most striking fact contained in the essay is that 63 percent of the budget is on auto-pilot...
Americans are starting to borrow once again, they're doing so at an unexpectedly high level, but it's for all the wrong reasonsJuly 20, 2012
Americans are starting to borrow once again, they're doing so at an unexpectedly high level, but it's for all the wrong reasons. A recent Federal Reserve report revealed that outstanding consumer credit rose by 8 percent in May, nearly double the previous month's growth rate. The increase amounted to a $17.1 billion jump in consumer credit usage. On its face, this may sound encouraging, since more borrowing may translate into more investment, more consumption, and ultimately more economic growth. However, this surprising increase in credit usage was fueled by an 11 percent rise in credit card and other revolving credit forms, while the growth of non-revolving lines of credit actually fell from 9.6 to 6.5 percent. To understand why this matters, here's a little background.
How crony capitalism undermines economic growth and innovationJuly 12, 2012
The problem of crony capitalism comes in a wide variety of policies that benefit specific individuals, firms and industries at the expense of everyone else. From occupational licensing laws to corporate tax breaks, and from federal flood insurance to ethanol mandates, capital is being misallocated due to state and federal policies. As a result, innovation, economic growth and employment are being undermined.
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