Links 10/11/09

‘Scary’ climate message from past BBC

Health Insurers Threaten Rate Hikes Consortium News (hat tip reader John D)

Rats in a Cage Jim Quinn

House prices ‘have further 17pc to fall’ Telegraph

The New Progressive CEOs Daniel Gross, Slate (hat tip reader John D)

Citigroup Hires Mr. Inside Gertchen Morgenson and Andrew Martin, New York Times

The madness of the monetary hawks Paul Krugman. But per Jesse, all this loose money is not going into the real economy…..we need to fix the banking system, and no one wants to touch that third rail.

The Speculative Bubble in Equities and the Case for Deflation, Stagflation and Implosion Jesse

The WSJ Would be Less Skeptical About Financial Transactions Taxes if They Knew About the UK Dean Baker

Not What They Expect Michael Panzner

Currency depreciation and global imbalances Michael Pettis

Global Imbalances and the Financial Crisis: Products of Common Causes” Mark Thoma

Really Bad Journalism About Europe Peter Dorman

Antidote du jour:


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  1. Swedish Lex

    On really bad journalism about Europe.

    I actually saw the article in the paper and reading it on the plane was a surreal experience. The text was so distant from reality and distorted facts in such a blatant way that I came to the following conclusion:

    1. Either an isolated incident with impressively sloppy journalists who hopefully be prevented from writing on matters like these in the future.
    2. Or the beginning of a propaganda campaign to make Americal look good (or less bad which is achieved if Europe looks like a stinker) through the media. A similar media campaign was launched to support the idea of the war in Iraq 6-9 months ahead of the actual politics that paved the way for starting. Op-eds and articles began to appear from nowhere written by third party endorsers saying that war against Iraq was perhaps a good idea. This time, however, it is more difficult to assess who would win on portraying Europe badly.

    So, most probably no. 1 by far, but the test will be to see if artiles no. 2 & 3 appear soon in other media outlets saying that Europeans are all commies, etc.

  2. Richard Kline

    Yes, yes, there’s Paul the Krug, stacking up ivory bricks in his tower. If only the US economy functioned as a 19th century substantailly closed ‘national economy’ his precise calculations might tack a map on the wall that mattered. But that notion is a non-starter for analysis. Much of our ‘stimulus’ slips away via demand leakage to our foreign suppliers. Than there is his maddening equation of all problems with ‘the deficit’ with opposition to ‘the stimulus’ whereas the larger problem for US public debt is the severe and unwise committments that have been made to the financial system. I know he understands the latter issue, as he has commented _directly_ on just this point; he’s making political hay, but doing so under the guise of economic ‘analysis’ that wavers on the tendentious, here. Then there is the third non-trivial issue that blowing up the currency just will radically rejigger all those formulas he swots away at. Somehow the issue of ‘finance’ and ‘currency stability’ don’t make it into the analyses which he produces purportedly on the subject of ‘economics.’ And yes, that’s what academic ecnomics typically is: economics ex-finance, ex-exchange arbitrage, and thus ex-sense. Just maddeningly obtuse, I know he’s smarter than this . . . .

    1. Skippy

      Concur just an other monkey chained to the hurdygurdy. His mind is up to the task, but their are other considerations.

  3. Richard Kline

    Jesse’s multi-faceted scenario is much what has been on my mind in the main from June 07. At some point in the near to mid-term, we can expect a sharp deflection of the dollar into a lower and unstable strata. The results are far more likely to resemble stagflation, to me, than debt deflation or hyperinflation, with the proviso that I don’t expect the situation to be a stable one. To this point, the dollar is being held up insofar as it is by collective international support, or more accurably by the collective lack of a non-catastrophic exit strategy from it. External military action is the grand old tradition, but as we’re not doing too well with what’s already on our plate it’s hard to see any gain or any stability at all from such.

    Domestic politics on this may or may not be complex, it’s very hard to judge. I don’t say that to be mealy-mouthed but there is _no_ political party for reform, and on the looks of it no political party for competent governance even. The ability of the soft financial junta to block change matched with the inability of the government to manage either policy or expectations strongly suggests a bifurcation in the status quo, but a trajectory forward from that is anything but obvious. We might, in fact, coalesce a reform movement and sort of pull ourselves together; there is a longstanding American tradition to that effect. We’re not even starting from square one were that to develop: the alternative doesn’t exist. Yes, a third of the Democratic Party has enough of a program to kinda make change, but they’re not geographically or issue concentrated, you can’t build a reformation on what’s there.

    History has innumerable examples of ‘intolerable political stasis’ which last in the 12-15 year range; this could be another such. Just means that the snap-back at the end of the stretch is the nastier for it, though. . . . Something to look forward to, right?

  4. mundanomaniac

    Being astrologer I very much appreciate the kind of sober “considerations from a hill” which Richard Kline is giving, looking over the horizon of short and long term political chances in the realm of consciousness.
    Myself I’m trying to give similar insights in the realm of drives and dreams, which move us without us being consciously aware of them.
    It’s not a given in astrology, to predict events, but what is possible, is to provide insights in what is earmarked. Looking from this watchtower it seems to be possible, to announce for June of 2010 for the USA, the similar constellation like September 2008, really a sea change, in terms of wealth, a may bee time of “due bill” (Doug Cass)
    Here is not the place, to justify this announcement.
    The basics and rationals are here:
    Have a try with the google translater, it’s a bitch

  5. eric anderson

    For those who need an “antidote of the day” to the BBC “scary climate message” story, I have several.

    First, methane (a powerful greenhouse gas) is not increasing at anywhere near the predicted rate.

    Second, ocean heat content is dropping, which coincides with a recovery in global sea ice.

    Third, the cooling effects of aerosols could be as important or even more important than the warming effect of CO2. But our understanding of aerosols’ effect on climate is very poor (hence our climate models are actually very poor, these computer algorithms — or are they Al Gore-ithms — are only as certain as their most uncertain terms). The Max Planck Society calls for study so we can learn what is actually going on in the atmosphere with feedbacks and cooling effects.

    Last but not least, one may wish to peruse this piece about how data was cherry picked from tree rings to support the “hockey stick” presentation of stable temperatures and unusual warming in the 20th century. If the tree rings did not fit the preconceived conclusion, they were thrown out. If we’re ever to learn how climate works, honesty in data gathering must come first.

  6. fresno dan

    The Speculative Bubble in Equities and the Case for Deflation, Stagflation and Implosion Jesse”
    As the money that is created flows into financial assets, it is ‘taxed’ by Wall Street which takes a disproportionately large share in the form of fees and bonuses, and what are likely to be extra-legal trading profits.

    If the monetary stimulus is subsequently dissipated as the asset bubble collapses, except that which remains in the hands of the few, it leaves the real economy in a relatively poorer condition to produce real savings and wealth than it had been before…

    At the heart of it, quantitative easing that is not part of an overall program to reform, regulate, and renew the system to change and correct the elements that caused the crisis in the first place, is nothing more than a Ponzi scheme.”

    Abetted by those that believe there is no problem that cannot be solved by more debt, that the US can never reach a point of amassing so much debt that oy will default. Of course, they believe that we just inflate our way out of it – ignoring that economies based of profligacy and mal-investment can truly prosper and the harm done to the responsible.

  7. Hugh

    Xie’s article yesterday and Jesse’s today are must reads for understanding where he are now in terms of what is going on in the financial system. I am much more pessimistic though about our political classes. I think they are far too inept and captured to manage even stagflation. We will be lucky to see stagflation with this lot. There will be an enormous bust up. The question is what form it takes. I see depression, which our elites will say that no one could have predicted and which they will blame on someone else.

  8. DoctoRx

    Re Rats in a Cage: What this omits is the much vaster sums the more affluent gamble on the stock market and in real estate. Perhaps gambling that is described in the Quinn article is more honest, because at least it is called what it is rather than “investing”. Just a thought given what depradations have been done to our financial markets.

  9. joe costello

    Krugman writes,

    “It seems to be really hard for central bankers to accept the need for prolonged easy money, even if all the data say that’s what is needed.”

    I guess he never heard of Alan Greenspan?

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