Key coral reefs ‘could disappear’ BBC
Bandit the wallaroo is proving to be a slippery catch Syracuse Post-Standard
South Park on the Economy (hat tip reader John L).
SEC Staff to Recommend Civil Charges for Mozilo Wall Street Journal. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.
Not putting your money where your mouth is Brad Setser
American TV adverts attack NHS Guardian
Not So Green Wednesday Tim Duy. A good wrap of information, plus comments on the Fed’s mixed signals on quantitative easing.
Additional Reflections on the March Trade Release Econbrowser
Japan ‘would avoid dollar bonds’ BBC (hat tip reader Scott). Not to worry, this is political posturing by the out of power….
Sickness of the savers Geoff Dyer, Financial Times (hat tip reader Michael)
Most U.S. homeowners think a bottom has been reached: Zillow Reuters. However, in the well documented “all children are above average” syndrome, 60% of the respondents thought their home price had declined in the last 12 months, when in fact 80% of homes lost value.
Antidote du jour:
The South Park episode “Margaritaville” is classic South Park parody. Some of their programs are little more than juvenile filth, but the linked episode, in addition to juvenile vulgarity, gets in a few well-placed zingers aimed at the financial elites. You will laugh yourself silly when South Park reveals how the US Treasury (or was it the Fed?) decides whether or not to confer a bailout on a particular applicant. Never have the idiots in power been skewered so devastatingly and deservingly. (Unless you count last year’s Saturday Night Live sketch where Pelosi, Barney Frank, President Bush explain the TARP.)
On the “Japan would avoid Dollars” topic, I have the uneasy feeling that I am seeing more and more trial balloons being floated. Any one of them can be ignored, but trial balloons are floated to test opinion.
I think that what we need to watch for is an indication that a gradual de-emphasis on the Dollar could be in everyone’s best interests. Post 1945 there was a gradual unwinding of Sterling Balances that satisfied everyone. The UK managed to escape some huge liabilities, but the unwinding was done sufficiently gradually that holders of Sterling never experienced a total collapse in the value of their assets.
I don’t believe that Japan and China will ever turn off the spigot so suddenly as to collapse the Dollar. In fact, I can imagine them temporarily accumulating more Dollar assets to cushion the value of those they already hold, but at some point there has to be a “soft landing” for the Dollar as a reserve currency.
The US share of world GNP is still large enough that the role of the Dollar will not shrink as much as that of Sterling has, but eventually we ought to see the emergence of a 30/30/30 triad of Dollar, Euro, and some Asian thingy. Not to do so risks leaving a lot of nasty stress in the World financial system for no very good reason.