Links 7/11/11


    1. Cedric Regula

      Ok. I’ll call that the F. Beard 1.01 Plan. We’ll pay government employees and contractors in plati-lead coins. The defense industry will make them into bullets and tanks.

      I’ll still request a simple SS check in dollars, however.

      1. Cedric Regula

        Taking this one step further, since paying those $160K congress critter salaries in heavy coins is a bit inconvenient, how about a platinum debit card account for payroll disbursement?

        We could make the debit card round like a coin, and that would help merchants different between it and other kinds of debit cards, and you couldn’t just accidently swipe it in a conventional magnetic strip reader.

        Capital One could make them with your picture on them too! Personalized money! No more boring dead presidents to look at!

        This would increase the face value to platinum ratio markedly.

    2. Philip Pilkington

      Yeah, the Al Jazeera article ignored this and put forward Ron Paul’s weirdly uncharacteristic proposal for bond burning.

      The giant platinum coin is a much better idea. Economically — but also just from the point-of-view of being exceptionally cool. Obama could put on a big show with that one. Of course, he won’t, because he’s a prissy loser, but hey.

      1. Philip Pilkington

        Scott Fulwiller ran a good piece on this yesterday — you’ll find most of the relevant links there:

        The basic idea is to give control over the debt to the Treasury Secretary. The Federal Reserve Act is pretty clear on this point. The Treasury Secretary has control over the minting of coins for use as legal tender. So, if the Treasury Secretary orders the minting of a giganto-coin no one can say otherwise and he can circumvent Congress and everyone else.

      2. F. Beard

        I like the idea. The National Debt is bogus. The US Treasury should just spend and tax. It should never borrow since it has no need to and it should never lend since that would be favouritism to those who “qualified” for the loans.

    1. attempter

      Thye could be kit foxes (of the NAm SW), but they’re probably fennecs from Africa. The size of the ears is more extreme on the fennec.

  1. Philip Pilkington

    As Income Gap Balloons, Is It Holding Back Growth?

    Good article. Just a quick plug for Jeff Madrick who is quoted in the article. His book ‘The Age of Greed’ is a magnificent piece of writing and should be read by everyone. It tracks the development of the new America through a series of characters — ranging from Milton Friedmen to Michael Milken — and shows how they all impacted in different ways to fundamentally shift how the American economy (and, by extension, the world economy?) operates. The book is extraordinarily original and everyone should get a copy.

    Madrick also did a great series of interviews with Paul Jay which can be viewed here:

    Smart guy.

    1. Glenn Condell

      Agree. He’s been writing occasional pieces for the NY Review of Bks for years – he is a good dot-joiner, with a talent for communicating often quite complex material understandably, which I for one appreciate.

  2. Jim Haygood

    Dave Cohen (Decline of the Empire) takes John Mauldin, and later Barry Ritholtz, to task for not being bearish enough.

    His thesis, to the extent he has one, is a list of eight ex ante conditions which preceded the US crisis. It does not occur to Cohen that such factors, or broadly similar ones, preceded ALL of the crises analyzed by Reinhart and Rogoff, and in no way changes their conclusions.

    Casting himself in the attention-getting role of economic attack chihuahua, Cohen nips furiously at the heels of his intellectual superiors, barking his little head off.

    Here’s a bacon biscuit, Dave — go off in a corner and have at it, while the big dog bloggers actually write something intelligent.

    1. sidelarge

      I don’t know who that David Cohen is, but huh? The Japanese financial crisis had such factors? You must be joking.

      I’m not too familiar with Reinhart and Rogoff’s works, but I doubt that they didn’t (try to) “analyze” that one, as that would be like studying the French history without paying any attention to Louis XIV.

      So I question the credibility of your claim, “such factors, or broadly similar ones, preceded ALL of the crises analyzed by Reinhart and Rogoff”.

    1. justanobserver

      speaking of posts.

      how are people getting those images into their posts ?

      an http png link in their “name” ?

  3. ed dunn

    gd site
    Profs: “West’s go’v’s borrow to pay int. cant pay
    prin.” U < S. total pub pvt debts $200t
    two hund tril (12 zero) or 13x gdp of $14t/yr."

  4. pity the poor multi-millionaire

    A feel-good story in which the downtrodden millionaire is the beneficiary of a good deed.

    Lopez, a mobile-phone salesman from Highland Mills, New York, who graduated from college last year, returned the home- run ball rather than sell it for as much as $250,000. The New York Yankees gave him memorabilia and tickets worth around $70,000.

    “Mr. Jeter deserved it,” Lopez said during a press conference at Yankee Stadium after Jeter reached the milestone on July 9.

  5. Hugh

    Krugman describes the symptoms but as always avoids naming the disease: kleptocracy. The reason the PTB “won’t” do what’s needed is that it would constrain their looting.

    1. craazyman

      It’s hard not to come to that conclusion.

      I think there’s something else too, and it’s nobody really understands money. They don’t know what it is at a fundamental energetic level. They are deluded and stultified by all the textbook definitions and they stop there. And so they fail to understand assets and debt and wealth, like you would fail to understand chemicals if you didn’t know molecules.

      So these politicians and economists and cranks and crazies have all this passion and energy but no formal structure of thought through which to extrude it from their heads and so it just bulges out into deformed intellectual protrusions of mania and ignorance, like the balloons the clown blows at some children’s birthday party.

      1. HTML Reader

        “I think there’s something else too, and it’s nobody really understands money.”

        What the kleptocracy understands is interests. They don’t “understand” money and yet their “flawed” understanding always ends up benefiting them. Phil Graham may not have a correct understanding of economics, but he understands what benefits his friends and him.

        The mafia may not understand, say, plumbing or trash collection, but they understand getting their regular cut.

        As soon as a politician makes a “mistake” by proposing a policy that would not benefit their interests, this is quickly pointed out to him or her, or it is marginalized and not discussed.

  6. Philip Pilkington

    Only got a chance to read that thing on Eastern Europe now. I don’t know much about the region — barring what happened in Latvia — but I just had a quick look at the macroeconomic fundamentals and… well… would you look at that, unemployment is up around 15%. Strange that the author didn’t care to note that. But I guess that’s not the angle he’s coming from.

    In fact the whole export-boom that the author refers to seems to have arisen out of an aggressive policy to slash wages — an, erm, ‘successful’ internal devaluation.

    So, from the point-of-view of the financial markets Estonia may be ‘improving’ (provided possible contagion is low). From the point-of-view of the Estonian people it seems pretty clear what’s happening: the country is being turned into a cheap export hub with a crappy domestic economy.

  7. not enough caffeine to be witty,0,7597129.story

    The Illinois Association of Realtors dramatically overreported the median price of condominiums sold within the city of Chicago in May, with the price tumbling 23 percent year-over-year, not rising 10.3 percent as the trade group said.

    The state Realtors’ group acknowledged the error after the Tribune, acting on a tip, questioned the accuracy of the data. The group now believes median prices for both condos and single-family homes sold within the city are inaccurate going back to at least January and possibly more than three years.

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