Economy

Obama's outgoing Treasury Secretary assesses populism, Paul Ryan, and his work during the financial crisis.

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'New State Data Show EITC’s Widespread Anti-Poverty Impact' authored by Elizabeth Kneebone and Jane Williams

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Forgive me if I do not spill a glass of Dom in Vikram Pandit’s memory

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Republicans have worked themselves into quite a state of giddiness over comments by Bill Clinton (last night) and Larry Summers (this morning) that seem to favor extending all the Bush tax cuts when they expire on January 1. As Mitch McConnell told reporters today, “Bill Clinton’s remarks, and then Larry Summers remarks—it’s pretty obvious that the economy needs the certainty of the extension of the current tax rates for at least a year.”  Uh, no, it’s not. Even if you take literally Clinton’s and Summers’s imprecise musings, it’s hard to see how you get from their statements to McConnell’s.

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Oy. Coming on top of new GDP numbers showing a mere 1.9 percent uptick in the first quarter, today’s jobs report is a real bummer. The headline number speaks for itself—an anemic 69,000 jobs, or about half what economists were expecting (though how they set those expectations remains a bit of a mystery). But the internal numbers were even worse.

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When we last left Morgan Stanley, the company was taking all manner of abuse for botching the biggest IPO of the millennium. Alas, that turns out to be the least of its problems. Far more pressing is the fact that Moody’s may be on the verge of massively downgrading Morgan Stanley’s bond rating, which could cost the company billions of dollars (perhaps tens of billions) in collateral and increased borrowing costs.  Then yesterday’s Financial Times brought even worse news.

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Trash. Just the sound of the word brings to mind rotten food, mountainous landfills, and general noxiousness. But what if a city turned this image on its head? What if trash became a city resource? What if landfills became a relic of the past? This is the exact effort underway in Vienna, Austria.

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Since news broke about JP Morgan’s multi-billion dollar black eye a few weeks back, we’ve pretty thoroughly rehearsed the arguments against too big to fail and too big to manage, both of which apply to JP Morgan even more obviously now than they did beforehand. This morning, a former administration official well-versed in these matters suggested another indication of JP Morgan’s excessive girth: too big to hedge.

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As soon as we learned that the trader largely responsible for JP Morgan’s $2 billion-and-counting loss had been nicknamed “the London Whale,” it was pretty much inevitable that we’d find a squid on the other side of the trade. And whaddya know. It turns out there was a squid involved! Better yet, it wasn’t just any squid, but a great vampire squid—the kind that wraps itself around the face of humanity and jams its blood funnel into... well, you know the rest.  Over to you, Wall Street Journal: A group of about a dozen banks, including Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

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Like any Woody Allen fan, I’ve been waiting my entire adult life to re-enact the Marshall McLuhan scene from “Annie Hall.”    Today, Mitt Romney and Jonathan Chait finally gave me the excuse I needed.  Here’s the backstory: On Friday, Romney told a crowd in New Hampshire that he was reading my recent book on Obama and the economy. The book’s take-away, according to Romney, is that Obama deliberately slowed the recovery to focus on health care reform. “In this book, they point out that they said the American people will forget how long the recovery took,” Romney said.

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