Granted, too-big-to-fail is an issue that has populist resonance on both right and left. Still, given McCain's trajectory over the last few years, this isn't necessarily a fight I'd have expected him to pick. Good to see him involved. Politico's Victoria McGrane has the story: The anger at the nation’s financial behemoths is taking shape in a variety of ways, most notably in a bill from Sens.
Key business sector gauge at highest level since 2006. Brad DeLong: Obama economic team has exceeded expectations. Lending in Europe contracts again. Leonhardt is optimistic on the effects of healthcare rationing. Dissecting the Fed's plan to offer CDs to banks.
In a year when the government enacted one of its largest-ever stimulus bills, guaranteed hundreds of billions of dollars in bank debt, bought hundreds of billions more in mortgage-backed securities, took 60 percent ownership of one car company and put up billions in financing for another, it’s not obvious why you’d dwell on an initiative that basically cost nothing.
Continuing a tradition of mine, here is a shamelessly subjective list of the most noteworthy research which came out in the last year: Putting a new spin on the idea of sticky wages, Lena Edlund, Joseph Engelberg, and Christopher A.
Research: Those in positions of power are more likely to cheat. Tyler Cowen: Maybe Fed isn't targeting inflation because it would hurt bank recovery. Charts of the day: Some financial indicators return to pre-crisis levels. Felix Salmon: Why banks will be fine if we cap credit card rates. How much did the Tiger Woods scandal cost his endorsers?
I'm sure Morgan Stanley is reconsidering the way it compensates executives, as described in today's Wall Street Journal, mostly because of the general outcry over executive pay. But I'd guess the recent Goldman Sachs initiative on this front a few weeks ago also made the issue a bit more urgent. The Journal piece notes that the Morgan proposal doesn't go as far as Goldman's, which would pay 2009 bonuses to top executives entirely in the form of stock that can't be sold for five years (as opposed to cash) and can be clawed back if the executive turns out to have placed some lousy bets.
How much are Iran's economic woes a factor in the continued unrest? How low rates are making saving an unattractive option. Fed gets a little more specific on plans to mop up excess reserves. Chart of the day: Paying more and getting less for healthcare in the U.S. And TNR's Franklin Foer and Noam dissect Obama's nudgeocracy.
The Journal has a wide-ranging story today on the extent to which the government's role in the economy has grown. The gist of the piece is that the expansion has been significant, which is almost certainly true, at least in the short-term. (Much of the intervention will be unwound in the next few years, though some of it won't.) Still, I'm not entirely sure this is the right question to ask.
There's an interesting back-and-forth between Dan Gross and Tim Geithner in Newsweek's year-end interview issue: GROSS: There have been, and continue to be, calls for you to go. How do you deal with those? GEITHNER: I spent most of my professional life in this building. Watching the politics of the things we did in the past financial crises in Mexico and Asia had a powerful effect on me. The surveys were 9-to-1 against almost everything that helped contain the damage.
Senator David Vitter submitted one of my questions to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, as part of his reconfirmation hearings, and received the following reply in writing (as already published in the WSJ online): Q. Simon Johnson, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and blogger: Andrew Haldane, head of financial stability at the Bank of England, argues that the relationship between the banking system and the government (in the U.K.