Monthly Archives: December 2008

The Invisible Stimulus

This sounds to me like it’s been filtered through some kind of Obama-transition behavioral economics screen: The incoming administration is considering tax cuts of $1,000 for couples and $500 for individuals that will be delivered by reducing the tax withheld … Continue reading

Posted in economics, Politics | 1 Comment

What Does GMAC’s Bond-Exchange Failure Mean for Detroit?

The GMAC bond-exchange results are out, and the screws that GMAC applied on December 10 — tender your bonds or we won’t become a bank or get TARP funds — seem to have had some effect, with the percentage of … Continue reading

Posted in bankruptcy, bonds and loans | Comments Off

Extra Credit, Tuesday Edition

A Crack in The System: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of the Washington Post’s monster series on AIG Financial Products. Did those people at AIG not understand anything about financial risk? AIG actually quantified its tail risk, yet … Continue reading

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Is Buying Bonds Really a Good Idea?

The WSJ’s Brett Arends has learned his lessons this year, and shares them with us, including these ones: 4. Invest more, not less. Is that a guffaw from the peanut gallery? I don’t blame you. Your savings just fell 40% … Continue reading

Posted in bonds and loans, personal finance | Comments Off

Blogonomics: Consumerist Sold to Consumers Union

You think you can’t sell media properties in the middle of a recession? Think again: Nick Denton has managed to sell Consumerist for what Peter Kafka describes as "something in the mid-six figure range" — the kind of money that … Continue reading

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Did Derivatives Help China’s Poor?

I’ve seen some pretty strong claims on behalf of derivatives in my time, but this one, from the Economist, is definitely among the strongest: The market for derivatives also facilitated investment in developing countries. That investment brought millions of people … Continue reading

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Dubious Statistics of the Day, Toxic Mortgage Edition

Interest and pressure groups put out garbage masquerading as useful research on a daily basis; it’s the job of the press to recongnise it as such and ignore it. Most of the time, the press does a very good job … Continue reading

Posted in housing, journalism, statistics | Comments Off

Property Crash Datapoint of the Day

Edmund Tadros reports: The average price of cyber land has dropped from 12.06 Linden dollars (seven cents) a square metre at its peak in January 2007 to 1.98 Linden dollars (1 cent) last month. I fear to think what’s happened … Continue reading

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Who Killed Frannie?

Bethany McLean, from her new perch at Vanity Fair, has delivered a 10,762-word magnum opus on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which spends most of its time giving a detailed history of what Hank Paulson called the "Holy War" between … Continue reading

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GMAC, the Fed, and Moral Hazard

The GMAC announcement on December 10 was quite unambiguous. The headline alone told you everything you needed to know: GMAC Announces That the Results of Its Exchange Offers Are Insufficient To Meet Regulatory Capital Requirements To Become a Bank Holding … Continue reading

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