's&p Slashes Ny Times Rating To Junk After Gloomy Outlook
October 26, 2008

No, this was not an evaluation of the journalism of the Times.  It was  a Standard & Poor's rating of the financial condition of the Times.  This report was in Friday's FT. Here's how it was reported there: "Standard and Poor's slashed its rating of the New York Times Company by three notches to junk yesterday after the publisher reported impairment charges, a quarterly underlying loss and a review of the dividend policy."  You can also read about it in Friday's Wall Street Journal or, for that matter, in the Times itself.

Gordon And Kvaal On How America Will Change
October 13, 2008

In an effort to start making sense of what is an indisputably confusing situation, we asked some of the most thoughtful people we know the question: How will America change as a result of the economic downturn? Here are Robert Gordon and James Kvaal, senior fellows at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.   Hard economic times usually hit not only our wallets, but also our spirits. Charitable giving goes down. And as Benjamin Friedman has explained, racial tension and nativist sentiment go up.

The Morning News
October 11, 2008

"Market crash shakes world" is how the headline on this morning's FT read. Tokyo fell 24.3% this week; Frankfurt, 21.6%; London, 21.1%; New York by only 18%. And Russia: 21.12%; India, 19.3%; Shanghai, 12.78% The fall in value over the last few months in America is nothing less than staggering: 9 trillion dollars in industrials; 5 million dollars in real estate, the equivalent of one year of gross national product. Another index: Also according to the FT: "Middle East jubilant over Wall St.

Flash News From Impoverished California
October 04, 2008

The State of California, according to the Times online, is out of cash. Plain down in the ditch. It may have to borrow $7 billion from the U.S. government to pay its bills. Will Henry Paulson loan the terminator the cash? I suppose he will, if the Treasury still has it to loan. Another surprise was reported on yesterday in the Times. Nearly 1000 colleges that had $9.3 billion deposited in a short term fund of which the trustee was Wachovia Bank. Of course, Wachovia is...well, just about bankrupt.  Well, not quite. First, Citigroup made an offer for it.

The Rtc: What You Need To Know
September 19, 2008

Clay Risen is managing editor of Democracy: A Journal of Ideas and a contributing editor at World Trade. His first book, A Nation on Fire: America in the Wake of the King Assassination will appear in January. In recent days, policymakers and financial experts have circled around the idea of creating a government entity--in the model of the Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC)--to buy up failing assets of financial institutions.

Calling Fdr
September 15, 2008

The buyout of Merrill Lynch, the bankruptcy of Lehman Bros.—and whatever repercussions follow—could easily overshadow Hurricane Ike, rising gas prices, and the Sarah Palin show. Americans will want answers from the candidates—and as of now, they are not getting them.

It's 3am On Wall Street
September 14, 2008

During the primary the Clinton campaign posited the idea that a President would face a 3am call on the economy.  It looks like one of those 3am calls came this weekend as the government made the decision to let Lehman Brothers go bankrupt rather than bail the firm out.  I have no idea whether that was the right decision -- what I do know is that a lot of Americans are going to be watching the financial news with white knuckles today.   There is a tendency on the part of candidates to be cautious about inserting themselves too dramtically into the markets during periods of volatility.  No one

The End Of Aviation
August 27, 2008

As the age of cheap oil comes to a close, it's springtime for gloomy futurists. Visions of a brutish world marked by violent squabbles over dwindling reserves, of junkyards littered with abandoned cars, of suburban slums overrun by weeds, of the collapse of industrial agriculture--none of this sounds as outlandish as it once did.

Soak The Robber Barons!
March 21, 2008

"Compared to the cold shoulder given to struggling homeowners," the NewYork Times argues on this morning's editorial page, "the cash and attentionlavished by the government on the nation's financial titans..." Well,let's get to the logic of the piece, yes, a scandal, nothingless. "Socialized Compensation" is what the lede is called, and socializedcompensation is what it actually is. But it's not just the rewards given to the top executives for failure, it'sthe thousands of people fired and about to be fired for having done theirjobs. It's also the hundreds of thousands of lapsed pension accoun

A Harbinger Of The Baneful Things To Come
March 20, 2008

Throughout the week, Clay Risen, the managing editor of Democracy, will be covering economic developments for us on The Plank.   The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Harbinger Capital Partners has made big cash on the Bear Stearns deal, and it implies that the firm may have given the ailing investment bank a slight nudge in the last few weeks to push it over the cliff toward insolvency. Harbinger is already in the news--it's the hedge fund that recently forced The New York Times give it a seat on its board. Now, the guys at Harbinger might be pretty decent dudes.