Links 9/11/10


  1. Anonymous Jones

    Wow. And I thought the comments at *this site* were bad. The comments over at that Ozimek site are truly spectacular. They are either gleefully non-substantive (with an insane claim that the post was “proof you wasted a fortune on an education”) or arguing against something the post never says (where in the world does Ozimek claim in the post that “the money should be redistributed?”) or even completely misunderstanding the facts presented (Ozimek never says you have to move out of the metropolis, just find a cheaper place within the metropolis) or the absolute topper in ad hominem derangement (“Do you grit your teeth as you lie in bed at night, thinking about all those people with more than you?” Thanks for the contribution, Jim! I’d love to spend more of my precious time on earth with people as gratuitously nasty and antagonistic as you are in response to a post about word definitions!).

    The post simply explains the concepts of consumption preferences and the status of *being in the top 5%*! It’s amazing how threatened people are of their delusional ideas about (what they fear is) their own rapacity and greed being uncovered! Listen, I make a lot of money, a lot more than $250k a year, but I am completely at peace with what that means about my status. I have a high income, regardless of how I choose to consume that income, and I have no need to hide the truth. Calm down, people. If you don’t want redistribution, fine; it’s a democracy, vote against it. But don’t expect sympathy, and don’t tell me you’re not at the top of the income spectrum when you and I both know you are. It’s preposterous.

    1. Debra

      I read through the post and the 8 comments..They looked pretty… average to me. No better, no worse than what I read here. Average.
      Actually, I think it’s a GOOD THING if we don’t all have to sound like the dictionary when we talk, or write. (By the way… the dictionary is NOT OBJECTIVE, it was written BY SOMEONE.) Stalinian requirements about being “on topic” ALL the time are rather sophomoric too, in my book. After all… “this” is supposed to be a.. FREE country isn’t it ?? Can’t we have fun TOO ? I agree, having your cake and eating it too ;-) is the BEST WAY TO GO, but sometimes it isn’t always possible in the ah.. “real” world.

    2. psychohistorian

      I went to the same site and had the same thoughts….not going to spend much time there.

      And, at this point, I am way at the other end of the income spectrum from Anonymous Jones and concur that voting back a very progressive tax structure is the solution brainwashed Americans can’t seem to grasp. To me the un-prosecuted crime is the brainwashing of Americans to think the shitting gold is desirable like most other consumerism.

      Who said I wanted to consume throw away crap? I have a 1928 toaster that is working just fine. How long do toasters last built today? I replaced a still running refrigerator last year that was still working after 40+ years….and how long today? The real sick question is to ask why did some one decide that products should be made to wear out to force repeat purchases? Maybe it is the same folks that think that war is good something.

      1. craazyman

        good points. my folks have a toaster from the 1940s with a cloth covered cord. It works great and looks pretty cool too.

        My TV — which I only turn on to watch the NFL — was made in 1985. The color is actually superior to most TVs made today. The picture isn’t as crisp. But after a few beers, who cares about that? Not me. The sound is on the fritz due to some loose connection inside the box and I’ve had to stuff a tie pin into the earphone hole and twist it to make the sound work. Even then it goes off sometimes when I’m in mid-beer, sitting on the sofa across the room.

        So I stuffed a paper towel into the plastic casing to keep the tie pin angled to the right. That works most of the time, but even then, it still goes dead from time to time. So I just push the stuffed paper towel around until it comes back on. Then I go back to drinking beer.

        Somehow it all works out. I’m too lazy to buy a new TV. And I don’t like the color on most of the big screen jobs in Best Buy. It’s really not as rich in the dark reds and greens as the old TV tube. I’m a sensitive color artist with considerable knowledge of digital color in photography and my standards are quite high. And I woldn’t even know how to hook it all up anyway.

        Even the one I have now, I can’t even turn it on with out hitting most of the buttons on the remote control, randomly, until it somehow makes the tube come alive. It’s not like in the old days when you just had an on/off switch and an antenna. And if it didn’t work you’d just give it a good whack. You know. Life was simpler then.

        1. craazyman

          OK, I just read that goldust shit post.

          I actually quite agree with it. If you earn 250G/year and don’t think you’re rich, then try making a living on what most people earn, and then you’ll know.

          See, most folks who make 250K or more a year have never, ever seen hard times.

          They go from college to law school or B-school or med school and then on to some fast track where the money flows like wine in France.

          And they never know. They never ever know. Just what it’s like when it’s just you. Just you and the job market. Just you and the fucking assholes that will steal your hours, steal your soul, steal the seeds of your life like pennies. And piss on you with their big swinging jobs, they’re little teeny jobs that make you into a human machine. That make you a “resource” or “labor”. Anything but a human.

          No, forgive the big degreed money bags, because they just don’t know, they don’t know, and they’re so brainwashed, so habituated to their status that they belive it is a natural condition of the universe. Not a roulette wheel where they landed like a little ball, like a little ball that could have fallen instead onto a floor and rolled around there in the beer and cigarette butts and shit from the bottom of people’s shoes. It’s no wonder they invented Buddhism or the Veil of Maya of the Hindus. It must have been just as bad there, picking rice in the fields for some jackass, or washing someone’s feet for food. And then when it’s your feet, you’ve got to figure out how to keep the washing going, and so you make up a tale about Mayas and Veils and transcendence and how it doesn’t matter whether you wash or get washed. ha ha ha ha. I doubt anyone really believes that shit. C’mon. :)

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Psychohistorian, let me ask you a question.

        If you bought a toaster for $20 last year that could last 20 years and have to an additional toaster today for $18 that would last only 2 years, is that deflation or inflation?

        Do economists even take that into account?

        It’s inflation too me.

        It would seem today inflation is rampant, having to constantly replace things you just purchased not too long ago.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          And if meat is too expensive, you can replace it with cheaper chicken, thus limiting the official inflation figure. They call this the substitution effect.

          And one day, when everything is too expensive, you can go on a water only diet and since water is really cheap, we will have low inflation.

          Eventually, you will be on an ‘air only’ diet and then we will have really licked inflation.

          Similarly, if homes are too expensive, you can sleep on the street, for free, I assume. Again, limiting inflation with people substituting real homes with open air lodging.

        2. psychohistorian

          I am at a bit of a loss at how to answer, inflation or deflation. I don’t think that engineered obsolescence is inflationary nor deflationary, but I do think it is immoral and anti humanistic in the sense that it squanders resources that could be used “more effectively” or saved for future generations.

          Is filling the landfills with consumptive dross inflationary or deflationary? To me it is a stupid question.

        3. Sundog

          Excellent point. Americans will increasingly be purchasing stuff that’s straight out of the Chinese consumer market, as opposed to “made for export” higher quality pharma drugs and whatnot. Not to mention outright counterfeits.

          A carbon tax on filthy bunker fuel, combined with lower consumer tolerance for stuff that looks fine but fails too damn soon, could pump up the Made In USA label.

    3. Dothax

      Actual tax data, from actual returns. [Not theory and musings about tax rates]

      Here are the minimum AGI from IRS data to fall into different buckets for 2007

      Top 0.1% $2,155,365 minimum
      Top 1% $410,096 minimum
      Top 5% $160,041 minimum
      Top 10% $113,018 minimum

      And here are the tax rates ..

      Bucket avg rate AGI floor
      Top 0.1% 21.46 (2.155 mil +)
      Top 1% 22.45 (0.419 mil +
      Top 5% 20.53 (0.160 mil +)
      Top 10% 18.79 (0.133 mil+)

      There is an actual propaganda behind this “250K is rich” and “top 1% should be taxed”. It is that tax rates max out at incomes of ~400K and then fall, if you earn into the millions.

      This raising taxes on 250K+ is propaganda pure and simple. It passes on the tax burden mostly to older double income families in high cost of living areas. Sure the isolated taxpayer in Podunk might make 250K and could very well be rich. But in reality, it is the multimillionaire incomes hiding under the skirt of the older workers and professionals

      Now add the payroll tax to this 22% , and it is much more regressive. Upto about 212K income (dual income, fica cap). The Top 0.1% pays even less, because of fica cap

      So this 250K earner is paying 22.5 + 8(FICA) + 9 (CA State income) = 39%. Add sales tax and property tax and it comes close to 50%.

      Show me a millionaire that pays 39% in taxes. Show me one that pays 35%. They won’t because it is all taxed at preferred rates of investment income. They have all ways to skip taxes.

      This is more of taxing wages, and letting plutocrats alone. The wage earners – like crabs in a bucket – are fighting tooth and nail while the plutocrats laugh.

      Understand that – raising tax rates on 250K does not raise taxes on millionaires. You think it would, but it does not. It disproportionately taxes older workers and professionals.

      For some real proposals read this

      And then wonder why that does not happen.

      The link for the tax data

    4. Scott W

      One of the posters on that site used the worn out claim that the column was yet again another example of “class warfare” against those who earn more money. Whenever the term “class warfare” is used in this country it is always directed at the middle class attacking the top 1% who apparently have a god given right to make their money with no corresponding societal obligation. In reality, the only successful “class warfare” has been perpetrated the the top 1% on the middle class who have seen absolutely no real income growth in the past 30 years, and who have shouldered most of the economic pain of the past 2 years.

      1. Dothax

        The top 1% varies from 400K to billions. So which of them are you talking about?

        This talk about 1% is pure nonsense. It dumps all of the top 1% into one bucket. Most of them don’t belong there. It has incomes from 400K to billions. It is the most divergent in incomes.

        Take a look at this picture

        What makes sense? The top 1% vs the other 99% or the top 0.1% vs the 99.9%?

        People don’t seem to grasp this. The income distribution is not a curve anymore. It simply an L shape. With the bent about the top 0.1%

        Bring data, instead of caricatures.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Dothax, there is no prophet in his own country.

          Those making $250K are too similar and live too close to those making $100K and we can’t stand that.

          We don’t see those making $5 million and they become just an abstract concept.

          So, yes, earning over $250K makes you part of the rich (and we have to tax them more) when you are really just upper middle class.

          I hopet this doesn’t shatter someone’s delusion.

          By the way, I am all for taxing the heck out of those making over $2, $5 million or $100 million. Extra 10% tax on a guy making $100 million is just as good (or almost) as extra 10% tax on 400 $250K-earners.

          1. Dothax

            “Extra 10% tax on a guy making $100 million is just as good (or almost) as extra 10% tax on 400 $250K-earners”

            No it’s not doing that. That is why I posted actual IRS data. You think you are taxing everyone above 250K by raising rates. NO.

            It only applies to **wages and ordinary income**. Most of the millionaires get investment income. Ever heard of carried interest tax at 15% on hedge fund billionaires? You think you are raising that by this “tax everybody above 250K” logic?

            You can raise tax rates all you want, but the rate for these plutocrats don’t budge. All you end up is taxing wage earners more – those in that range of 250-400K

      2. Francois T

        That is why we need to have more different income brackets for people who earn 250K onward. It is utterly ridiculous to tax a 250K earner at the same rate than a 2.5 mil earner.

        That is something that very few people seem to grasp, most especially the inhabitants of Capitol whoredom in DC

    5. craazyman

      Well then send me about $100,000/year and I’ll be there at the top of the pile with a big fat grin. I figure about 5 years would do it, because I’d go long all sorts of 10-bagger prospects. One of them would hit, for sure. And I’ll send half the proceeds back from the absinthe bar. Who knows, it might be mutually profitable if I get reallk lukcy.


      Delerious Tremulanus, Wide Receiver and Couch Potato, Esquire
      PO Box 747
      North Fargo, Pennsylvania 78s89

  2. Jojo

    This is interesting. Will Dems ante up or fold?
    The Plum Line
    By Gene Sargent
    Dear Dems: You can win the argument over Bush tax cuts

    With more and more Beltway types predicting that Dems may put off the vote over the Bush tax cuts until after the election, I thought it would be useful to pull together all the polling that shows this is an argument Dems have a rather good shot at, you know, winning if they decide to go for it.

    * A new National Journal poll finds that 56 percent support ending either all the Bush tax cuts or just the ones for the wealthy, while barely more than a third want to keep them all.

    * The new Gallup poll shows that 59 percent of Americans — and a majority of independents — supports either ending all the Bush tax cuts or just the ones for the wealthy.

    Indeed, Gallup finds that Obama’s proposal — ending the tax cuts for the wealthy but not for everyone else — has the support of 44 percent, more than any other solution.

    * A CNN poll in late August found that a majority, 51 percent, favors ending the tax cuts for the rich, and another 18 percent favor ending them all.

  3. Jojo

    But the Dems always find new ways to shoot themselves in their knees!
    41 Obama White House aides owe the IRS $831,000 in back taxes — and they’re not alone
    September 10, 2010

    Over the years a lot of suspicion has built up across the country about Washington and its population of opportunistic transients coming to see themselves as a special kind of person, somehow above average working Americans who don’t labor down in that monument-strewn former swamp.

    Well, finally, an end to all those undocumented doubts. Thanks to some diligent digging by the Washington Post, those suspicions can at last be put to rest.

    They’re correct. Accurate. Dead-on. Laser-guided. On target. Bingo-bango. As clear as it’s always seemed to those Americans who don’t feel special entitlements and do meet their government obligations.

    We now know that federal employees across the nation owe fully $1 billion in back taxes to the Internal Revenue Service.

    As in, 1,000 times one million dollars. All this political jabber about giving middle-class …
    … Americans a tax cut. Thousands of feds have been giving themselves one all along — unofficially. And these tax scofflaws include more than three dozen folks who work for the president with that newly decorated Oval Office.

  4. attempter

    I started out thinking the wide-eyed babe-in-the-woods tone of the Levitan piece was ironic, but evidently not. Despite his nagging of the WSJ this sounds far closer to the bank rackets’ agenda than to that of the public interest.

    The reform legislation is aimed at reining in bad practices in financial services. To be sure, the only reason to engage in those practices is because they are profitable.

    Gee, and here I was thinking the only reason the finance sector should exist is because it serves a productive purpose. Which is what I thought at first the piece was arguing. None of it needs to take place on a for-profit basis at all, and the only legitimate reason to put it on a profit basis is if it were a fact that this resulted in a better outcome for the public. But we know that the opposite is true. It’s now empirically proven that banks should be public utilites.

    But the goal isn’t to wage “war on bank profits.” We need solvent banks, and to be solvent, and bank needs to be profitable. Profitability, however, must be found without the bounds of fairness. Theft is profitable if it isn’t illegal; clearly profitability über alles can’t be right. It proves too much.

    That’s true only granting the profit premise, which we know we should not grant.

    We also know none of these banks has made a legitimate profit in many years (even prior to the Bailout they were doing nothing but conning, manipulating, stealing), and that they’ve been insolvent by any non-corrupt, non-Bailout measure since the bubble burst.

    It’s hard to say how representative the thinking in the WSJ piece is. But anyone who subscribes to the view that financial services reform is about sticking it to the banks doesn’t get it. The reform agenda isn’t class warfare..

    Yeah, we know. And this doesn’t sound like it’s decrying this lack of a proper response to the infinite crimes of Wall Street. Only the banks get to wage class warfare, and the people shouldn’t respond in kind. It looks like the WSJ’s thinking is more representative of this “criticism” than Levitan wants to let on.

    (Perhaps technically he’s only being descriptive, not prescriptive. But we’re past the point where “just describing the world” has any legitimacy. The point is to change it.

    And to affect such a tone of appeasement and status quo validation, “all I want is a little reform and a little bit of fairness” within the context of a monstrously unfair system, is really to broadly support the banksters.)


    The Galbraith piece is a good evisceration of the Obama Star Chamber: in concept, goal, and practice it’s impractical, immoral, anti-democratic, and unconstitutional.

    As a corporate goon, Obama really is a totalitarian. There’s literally no end to his will to steal every last cent to hand it over to his masters. This insane drive to gut Social Security can’t even be spun as phony “reform” the way they spinned (span?) the health racket bailout. Nor can anyone seriously argue there’s any necessity for it. Nor can anyone pretend it makes any political sense. That’s why even the criminals in Congress wanted no part of it earlier this year. No, this is purely Obama on a personal crusade of absolute class war hatred for anyone who’s not rich, for anyone who’s not yet starving and freezing to death while there’s still a fugitive cent left to be stolen and conveyed to the rich.

    Obama’s hatred for the people and for America itself must know no bounds.

    1. digame

      Galbraith is just another academic economist with his head up his ***, whose textbook world bears no relation to reality.

      Case in point: his assertion in the linked article that transfer payments have no bearing on deficit economics, because a dollar of final demand equals a dollar of final demand, whether spent by the taxpayer, the recipient of the transfer payment, or the government.

      It actually does matter a great deal who spends the dollar, given that who spends it in turns bears on how it’s spent. It could be spent here in the U.S. or it could be spent in China. It could be spent on a bridge to nowhere or it could be spent on a productive investment which leads to an expansion of the nation’s economic wealth (to be divided up as our society deems fit among the producer, government (including deficit reduction), the recipients of transfer payments). So whether you believe private enterprise, the government or transferees are best suited to spend productively (I’ll leave that judgement out of the discussion), you better make sure that you’re leaving that entity with some dollars.

      Beware of economists bearing “accounting identities” and other such held forth as unassailable proofs. Much junk science in the room.

    2. Doug Terpstra

      From Obama, who promised “the most transparent administration in history”, the secret “let them eat cat food” star chamber is yet another brazen betrayal in a web of deceit now so thickly tangled, there’s little point in trying to hide it. And yet, Obama continues the pretense with the practiced sincerity of a snake-oil salesman.

      Curiously, the breathtaking speed of his duplicity, under calm demeanor, also carries with it a whiff of desperation. Although Social Security clearly has nothing at all to do with the deficit, it is surely the largest pool of bailout loot remaining for an increasingly desperate Wall Street, which must now know that the jig is up. Thus a control “change” in Congress becomes ‘cover’ for the greatest robbery of all—explained by the bizarre distracting theater we have been witnessing from the crackpot tea party (met with conspicuous silence), legislative gridlock and compromise, escalating war, etc. It is a wicked game they play.

  5. rjs

    Freshwater turtles ‘in decline‘
    “These are animals that take 15-20 years to reach maturity and then live for another 30-40 years, putting a clutch of eggs in the ground every year. They play the odds, hoping that in that 50-year lifetime, some of their hatchlings will somehow evade predators and go on to breed themselves. “But if you take these animals out before they’ve reached 15 and can reproduce, it all ends there,”

    still feeling guilty about that, arent you, yves?

  6. Glen

    And here’s the new chair the White House Council of Economic Advisers, Austen Goolsbee, doing standup:

    According to today’s Washington Post article:

    “And in a position better known for academic reserve, he is probably its first amateur stand-up comic.

    Last fall – in the midst of the grueling legislative debate over health care – Goolsbee won D.C.’s Funniest Celebrity Contest after quipping that former Alaska governor Sarah Palin (R) is a “wingnut” and that the nation’s biggest banks have been “bankrupting your grandma.” Goolsbee also suggested on CNN that American International Group, the bailed-out insurance giant, should get a “Nobel Prize – for evil.”

    Does this suggest an economic policy shift?

    Or is the joke still on us?

  7. Neil D

    Ms. Smith and her commenters love to bash big pharma. Be careful what you wish for.

    “The tricks of the trade include sticking fraudulent labels on expired products, filling vials with water, stuffing small amounts of real ingredients in packages of popular licensed brands and putting chalk power in medicine packets.”

    Of course, this is the Washington Post so it could be just another dose of big pharma propaganda. I guess it depends on which conspiracy theory appeals to you most.

    1. KFritz

      Canada, the entire EU, Japan, and the ANZAC nations all have lower cost, quality pharmaceuticals than the US. The fact that you picked India, a Third World nation, as a point of comparison, leads to a question: “Are you employed by the pharmaceutical industry to plant stuff like this in various forums?”

      1. Neil D

        Well golly – the article was about India. If it had been about any other country, I would have posted it too. I happen to think we should have drug price controls like those other countries you cite for a variety of reasons, but counterfeiting is one of them.

        I’m entitled to an opinion no matter where I work.

        1. KFritz

          1)I didn’t dispute your right to express YOURSELF. Your rejoinder is straw man/ ad hominem combo. Creating an offense and then playing victim.
          2)YOU compared Big Pharma, assumed to be Big Pharma USA, to India. NOT ME. Comparing India to USA pharmaceuticals is the equivalent of comparing apples and oranges.
          3)Do you work for Big Pharma?

          1. Neil D

            I don’t work for a company you’ve ever heard of although I used to work in big pharma for a company whose demise I will gleefully cheer should it occur. I am an engineer who works in manufacturing and certainly not a PR hack. We’re pretty beat up by the corporate hacks running the business so my motivation is to try and retain that business here in America.

            Counterfeiting is a problem in every country.

            Many pharma companies are quite busy outsourcing manufacturing and R&D to india. Google “pharma outsource india” and see what you get. Why do they outsource in india (and china)? Cost. What is one risk that comes with that? Counterfeiting.

            That’s really all I was trying to say. As we debate controlling health care costs and the obscene profits of big pharma, there are lots of issues to consider. One of them is how to keep fake drugs out of the market.

  8. Bates

    RE: Off Topic… How was this WAPO post of Willem Buiter’s comments overlooked for the ‘Links’? This is my go to site for luney tunes…er, out of the box ideas.

    Buiter has lost his feakin mind… He seems to have lost it about the time he became Chief Economist at Citi…here are a couple of comments from Buiter…Hat tip to Mish and WAPO.

    “To restore monetary policy effectiveness in a low interest rate environment when confronted with deflationary or contractionary shocks, it is necessary to get rid of the zlb completely. This can be done in three ways: abolishing currency, taxing currency and ending the fixed exchange rate between currency and bank reserves with the Fed. All three are unorthodox. The third is unorthodox and innovative. All three are conceptually simple. The first and third are administratively easy to implement.”


    “When the Fed wants to set the Federal Funds target rate at minus five per cent, say, it would set the forward exchange rate between the dollar and the rallod, the number of dollars that have to be paid today to receive one rallod tomorrow, at five per cent below the spot exchange rate—the number of dollars paid today for one rallod delivered today. That way, the rate of return, expressed in a common unit, on dollar reserves is the same as on rallod currency.

    For the dollar interest rate to remain the relevant one, the dollar has to remain the unit of account for setting prices and wages. This can be encouraged by the government continuing to denominate all of its contracts in dollars, including the invoicing and payment of taxes and benefits. Imposing the legal restriction that checkable deposits and other private means of payment cannot be denominated in rallod would help.

    In the other major industrial countries too (the euro area, Japan and the U.K.), monetary policy is constrained by the zlb. Conventional fiscal expansion with government debt-financed deficit increases would be ineffective or infeasible because of fiscal unsustainability. Like the Fed, the ECB, the Bank of Japan and the Bank of England therefore should lobby for the legislation necessary to eliminate the zlb. The euro area and Japan, which don’t suffer from deficient saving rates or undesirable current account deficits, could in addition stimulate consumption through helicopter drops of money—base money-financed fiscal stimuli.”

    …to read the remainder of the baloney see link…It’s worth a read for laughs… “Is this the Right Time for the Fed to go Negative?”

    For a read of Mish’s comments on the Buiter article see…

    1. agog

      Thank you, Bates, for flagging that Willem Buiter op-ed here. I noticed it yesterday at FT Alphaville where I left this scintillating comment:

      “In a post above Alphaville suggests Roubini and Bremmer are (paraphrasing) exaggerating the morbid stuff just a tad.”

      Having just read this piece by the chief economist for Citi in the WSJ I’m not so sure. These are very slippery slope measures and smack of desperation.”

      Buiter has long struck me as someone so brilliant that he is a little bit silly. Are these latest musings some sort of trial balloon? Are they possibly more sinister than silly? If so, things are going pear shaped faster than I ever imagined possible.

      The Roubini/Bremer article referenced above would also be a worthy addition to the daily links. Alphaville, is as is the FT’s wont, breezily dismissive of all this doom and gloom stuff but what else can it say for it is a much a player in the system as any rapacious investment bank. Same vested interests in the survival of the system.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Buiter was writing about taxing currency and negative interest rates as policy rates pre his Citi stint.

    2. craazyman

      yeah I remember reading some rant of his last year about the need for negative interest rates.

      As if the 0% yield on my little piggy bank isn’t low enough.

      Now I have to make an annual donation to shore up the banksters, and I bet I wouldn’t be able to expense it or write it off as a charitable contribution.

      Just more money being sucked from savers to looters.

      1. Dave L

        I’m pretty sure that all discussion of negative interest rates refers to bank reserves deposited with central banks. Bank of Sweden has actually been doing this for some time — the point is to try to force deposit money bank reserves into the economy.

        1. craazyman

          Thank you for that clarification.

          That makes much more sense.

          Sometimes I fly off the handle before I have all the facts straight. I’m still learning macro. I am up to page 573 in Frederick Mishkin’s “Money, Banking and Financial Markets” 1994 edition. But it’s still all sinking in.

          1. psychohistorian

            It may be a bit dated now but Greider’s “Secrets of the Temple” is instructional about the Fed.

  9. gf

    I view Galbraith’s “There Is No Economic Justification for Deficit Reduction” as the single most important article that I have read all year.

    The explanation of the issue he is addressing and for the way he explains, in simple terms, what needs to happen before a recovery can take place. James also dispels the hysterical and LOUD calls for austerity in the process.

    Hopefully thoughtful debate can win over the loud at some point, sooooooooon.

  10. bob goodwin

    “There Already Was A Ground-Zero Mosque — On The 17th Floor Of The World Trade Center”

    I am going to admit that I did not even bother to click the link. I am truly at a loss to understand the media attention on these (at best) symbolic discussions. Of course I have an easy ideology to fall back on, Libertarians think if you own a piece of land you can build a mosque.

    But I write my comment because Yves felt a desire to keep this discussion alive, and she is not a reactonary media type. Where is the sensitivity to this issue coming from? So I will lead to a second admission. I kind of enjoy watching liberals squirm and get hoisted on the petard of tolerance. There are a disproportionate number of mysogynous cultures in the muslim world, and much of the anger (and violence) coming from muslim males is directed squarely at American tolerance.

    Of course I know (much as I think Liberals know) that Muslims in America are not generally mysogynous or angry. And we all know that Muslim culture will evolve with a smaller, richer planet. So isn’t the muslim debate really about American values, and not Muslim values?

    Food for thought.

  11. Sundog

    A couple of links on the Af/Pak mess, both inspired by the report recently released by the Afghanistan Study Group.

    Afghanistan Study Group, “A New Way Forward”

    The Economist’s Lexington sees it as indicating a shift to the limited counter-terrorism approach commonly associated with VP Biden.

    [W]ith every new report of setbacks in the fighting or the venality of President Karzai’s administration, the likelihood of Mr Obama persisting in the full counter-insurgency, nation-building strategy he set out last year grows dimmer.

    Lexington, “How to leave Afghanistan”

    Joshua Foust, on the other hand, uses the ASG report as a lesson in “How (not) to think about the problem.” This post is a bit long but well worth reading.

    Joshua Foust, “The Afghanistan Study Group Report: An Exercise in Determined Ignorance”

    Foust links to a Foreign Affairs piece by Barnett Rubin and Ahmed Rashid, which is behind a paywall. The gist of their thoughts can be accessed via as a podcast via the following link. If you’re interested in knowledgeable people making an attempt at confronting the Af/Pak mess in its entirety, without shirking the difficult bits, this is essential.

    Podcast: From Great Game to Grand Bargain

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