Yearly Archives: 2012

Lynn Parramore: Orcs v. Goblins: Crazed Republicans Turn on Each Other in Ugly Fiscal Cliff Battle

By Lynn Parramore, a senior editor at Alternet. Cross posted from Alternet

Fear gripped Middle Earth. The little people looked nervously toward the horizon, wondering if their few remaining possessions would be snatched away by marauding bands of goblins and orcs.


Lawmakers Call for Stricter Gun Control Even As They Subsidize Gun Industry

By Matt Stoller, a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. You can follow him at

One of the consequences of the tragedy in Sandy Hook is an ardent debate over gun control laws all over the country. In Massachusetts, for instance, which has an assault weapons ban, Governor Deval Patrick, along with members of the legislature, is now trying to figure out how to close gun loopholes. Rep. David Linsky says he wants to go over “every single line, every single comma of our gun laws” to prevent ownership of the kinds of gun used in Connecticut. These debates are interesting mostly for what they leave out – the economics of the gun industry itself and its subsidization by the state through various tax credits, direct spending, and legal forbearance.


Administration Planning to Use Fannie and Freddie to Provide More Stealth Stimulus

The Obama Administration is planning to launch yet another mortgage refi program, this one targeting subprime borrowers who are current on their loans but underwater, extending the government support of the mortgage market to yet another borrower group.


Bill Black: Kill the “Fiscal Cliff” Instead of the Economy

By Bill Black, the author of The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One and an associate professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Cross posted from New Economic Perspectives

Here’s the short version of why austerity is a self-destructive response to the Great Recession.


Richard Alford: The Fed’s Orwellian Claims About its Transparency

By Richard Alford, a former New York Fed economist. Since then, he has worked in the financial industry as a trading floor economist and strategist on both the sell side and the buy side.

The US mainstream media (MSM) found a lot to like when the FOMC announced that its current highly accommodative monetary policy stance will continue unless certain “threshold levels” for unemployment and inflation are reached. While the MSM was not uniform in its praise, it applauded what it saw as the increased transparency in the design and execution of monetary policy. In comparison, the response of the market and the foreign press was muted, and comments by financial and economic bloggers were mixed. Juxtaposing a Binyamin Appelbaum article in the New York Times (serving as a stand in for MSM), the transcript of the Bernanke press conference, and a working history of monetary policy, it is clear that the enthusiasm of many in the MSM for increased clarity is misplaced. This in turn has less than flattering implications for the MSM, the Fed and its communication strategy.


Top Tax Expert Confirms Our Doubts About Occupy Wall Street’s Debt Buying/Forgiveness Scheme

As readers may recall, we expressed serious reservations about the tax consequences of a program launched by Strike Debt, an Occupy Wall Street working group, to buy distressed consumer debt from debt collectors and forgive it. These concerns have been confirmed by a top tax expert, Lee Sheppard. Sheppard not only describes how the scheme has the potential to harm the borrowers that Strike Debt wants to help, but also points out how their initiative runs afoul of IRS rules for not for profits.


Wolf Richter: The EU Bailout Oligarchy Issues A Report About Itself

By Wolf Richter, San Francisco based executive, entrepreneur, start up specialist, and author, with extensive international work experience. Cross posted from Testosterone Pit.

On Friday before Christmas when nobody was paying attention, when people were elbowing their way through department stores or heading out for vacation, the European Commission issued its report on bank bailouts in the European Union—a dry document with mind-boggling numbers that left out the most important fact.