Government Job Losses: A Mystery (Solved)
October 02, 2009
There's a bit of a riddle in today's unemployment release from the Labor Department. The release notes that government payrolls were down 53,000 in September, about one-fifth of the total jobs lost last month (which helped drive the unemployment rate up a tenth of a point to 9.8 percent). Now, as it happens, the cracker jack economists at Goldman Sachs actually anticipated this development yesterday, en route to almost perfectly nailing the overall job-loss figure.
Do I Dare Defend Paulson Again?
September 22, 2009
Yes! Steve Weisman over at The Peterson Institute posted a nice riff yesterday about James Stewart's recent New Yorker piece reconstructing the week Lehman collapsed. His (and Stewart's) conclusion? Hank Paulson screwed up massively: My takeaway is that while Lehman executives were oblivious to the warning signs over the imminent failure of their storied investment firm, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson may have increased the odds of a Lehman collapse by taking a hard line opposing a government role in its rescue.
When Did Innovation Start Hurting Society?
August 24, 2009
Simon Johnson, professor at MIT's Sloan School of Management, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, and co-founder of B
Pr For Pakistani Spies
August 07, 2009
Here's a great moment in the history of the Pakistan's infamous intelligence service, known for its endless double-dealing with the Taliban and other Islamic radicals. It seems the ISI has invited a stream of western journalists into its swish, modern nerve centre. Over tea and PowerPoint briefings, spies give details of some of Pakistan's most sensitive issues – the Taliban insurgency, the hunt for al-Qaida, the troubled relationship with India. "We've started to open up a little," said an ISI official authorised to speak to the press.
Governor Corzine's Money Woes
July 17, 2009
The NYT reports this morning that Jon Corzine, the New Jersey governor and former Goldman Sachs chief executive, is no longer wealthy enough to pay for his own political campaigns. Mr. Corzine, 62, famously spent $60 million of his own money on a record-shattering Senate race in 2000, then $43 million more laying siege to Trenton four years ago. But now, after a costly divorce and a steep decline in his net worth, Mr.
Bring In The Antitrust Division (on Banking)
April 16, 2009
In early February I suggested there was a showdown underway between the US Treasury and the country's largest banks. Treasury (with the Fed and other regulators) is responsible for the safety and soundness of the financial system, the banks are mostly looking out for their own executives, and the tension between these goals is - by now - quite evident. As we've been arguing since the beginning of the year, saving the banking system - at reasonable cost to the taxpayer - implies standing up to the bankers. You can do this in various ways, through recapitalization if you are willing to commit
Free Larry Summers
April 01, 2009
On a typical day, Larry Summers, the top White House economic adviser, sits in his office overlooking the Rose Garden and receives a near-endless succession of aides working on a stunning variety of issues. In a single, several-hour bloc, Summers might have meetings on housing, the auto industry, health care, technology policy, and the financial crisis, all of which he’s exploring in subatomic detail.
Free Larry Summers
April 01, 2009
Why the White House needs to unshackle its economic oracle.
The Geithner Disaster
March 20, 2009
Being Treasury secretary is usually not a job that calls for great political skills. But with a banking crisis crippling the economy and threatening to turn a recession into a depression, Tim Geithner has been plunged into the center of politics--as both the person responsible for what the administration should do, and as the main exponent of that policy. But he has faltered in crafting an effective policy and failed miserably in putting it forward.
How Much Ammunition Does The Fed Have Left?
March 10, 2009
Today's daily economic report from Goldman Sachs performs a fascinating exercise: It tries to measure the power of the Fed's so-called "unconventional easing." To review: The Fed normally stimulates the economy by lowering short-term interest rates. (Actually, by lowering its "target" for short-term rates, but let's not complicate this.) But, in December, the Fed basically lowered short-term rates as far as they'll go--i.e., zero--and so there's no more juice to squeeze there. (Nominal interest rates, that is.