Category Archives: fiscal and monetary policy

Geithner’s Vagueness Explained

How could Geithner’s much-vaunted financial rescue plan have been so stunningly vague on arrival, given the amount of time he’d worked on it? The Washington Post reveals that in fact he’d only been working seriously on it for less than … Continue reading

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Why is the ECB Being so Gradualist?

Jim Surowiecki asks a good question today: if you know that you’re going to cut interest rates — and Jean-Claude Trichet has made it abundantly clear that he intends to cut interest rates in March — why not do so … Continue reading

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Annals of Central Bank Transparency, Federal Reserve Edition

John Lanchester reviews Liaquat Ahamed’s Lords of Finance: America’s first modern central bank was established in 1913, in the teeth of strong populist suspicion of bankers. The men who conceived it were worried about the perception that they were forming … Continue reading

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Phil Gramm’s U-Turn

Phil Gramm, November 2008: “There is this idea afloat that if you had more regulation you would have fewer mistakes,” he said. “I don’t see any evidence in our history or anybody else’s to substantiate it.” He added, “The markets … Continue reading

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The Behavioral Economics of the Stimulus

I knew that there was some serious behavioral economics behind the Obama team’s plans to structure a tax rebate by reducing withheld tax! Jim Surowiecki has chapter and verse: In the words of the behavioral economist Richard Thaler, people put … Continue reading

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Bernanke’s Unconvincing Confidence

Ben Bernanke’s speech in London this morning constitutes a clear overview of the various bullets that the Fed has fired into the onrushing crisis. But he starts off with a bold and puzzling claim: I believe that the Fed still … Continue reading

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When Stimulus Doesn’t Scale

Barack Obama wants ideas from Paul Krugman, who of course is happy to oblige — and to make the good point that "we don’t have many specifics from the Obama people themselves". But hidden in the respectful joshing is a … Continue reading

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Can We Really Guide the Economy?

Ryan Avent says that he thinks the "plausible range of economic outcomes is, at the moment, quite wide indeed", and wonders whether "the size of this conceivable range is actually reflective of potential outcomes, rather than simple ignorance": If it … Continue reading

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Obama’s Big Speech

I agree with pretty much everything in Barack Obama’s big speech today about his stimulus plan. And not (just) because I’m some kind of lefty: Alex Tabarrok feels much the same way, as does Evan Newmark. It’s necessarily vague, but … Continue reading

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In Favor of Arts Spending

Michael Kaiser makes some good arguments in favor of increased arts funding, but unfortunately he mixes them up with bad ones, and he glosses over the best ones. The result is that Tyler Cowen gets to take the moral high … Continue reading

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