Lehman Brothers

Lodge 141 of the Fraternal Order of Police is housed, along with 446 jail cells, inside the Mahoning County Justice Center, a forbidding brick and steel hulk at the edge of the frayed downtown of Youngstown, Ohio. It’s a humble office, but its proprietors have embellished it with a number of rather pointed political decorations.

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Want to know why we're on the verge of a debt ceiling crisis? Things like this column today from William Cohan: Combs worries, though, because of how inherently more difficult it is for people to understand the machinations of the bond market than those of the stock market, that the message this time is not getting through to the politicians in Washington, who seem intent on taking a nonchalant approach to the potential Aug. 2 deadline for raising the debt ceiling.

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Too Big to FailHBO Bobby Fischer Against the World HBO  In the last few weeks, America has had the chance to see two disturbing movies about our warping emphasis on heroes. Both of them played on cable, on HBO in fact, and some may think that therefore they fall under the rubric of “television.” But this misunderstanding has not prevented many of the best film directors in America from being driven to cable recently for worthwhile work.

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I had been assuming that somehow we'd figure out a way to muddle through the debt ceiling without imposing much harm on the economy, in part because the markets haven't yet assigned any weight to the risk of default. But I'm starting to think about the problem differently. Here is how Alan Blinder puts it: [M]arkets now assign essentially zero probability to the U.S. losing its fiscal mind. They'd be caught flat-footed if the threat of default suddenly started to look real, possibly triggering a world-wide financial panic. Remember how markets reacted to the Lehman Brothers surprise? As Mr.

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The Long Shot

The Republican presidential race is fast resembling World War II baseball, when 4-Fs roamed the outfield, the ball lost its bounce because of the rubber shortage, and sportswriters found it hard to imagine that any team could win the World Series.

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In October 2008, a month after the collapse of Lehman Brothers—with the United States’s financial system seemingly about to buckle and Washington in desperate need of cash to prevent a total economic collapse—a State Department official contacted his Chinese counterpart about China buying U.S. securities. To his surprise, the Chinese, who had previously displayed an insatiable appetite for U.S. Treasury bills, suddenly balked at lending a hand. The reason, the Chinese official said, was the recent announcement of an impending sale of U.S.

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Discussion of the House Republican budget has focused mostly on the privatization of Medicare, the block-granting of Medicaid, and the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. And that’s appropriate, given the magnitude of the changes and widespread impact they would have. But those proposals are obscuring some other proposed shifts that, in any other context, would be plenty troubling for their own sake. This week I'll highlight five of them. On Monday, I talked about radical changes to the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP).

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Way Too Big To Fail

There were many factors that led us to the financial crisis of 2008—dangerous derivatives, irresponsible ratings agencies, negligent regulators—but one was more important than the rest. We now know it as the “too big to fail” problem. What brought the economy to the edge of disaster wasn’t only that financial institutions had made rash bets on lousy investments, but that those institutions were so massive that when their bets went bad, they threatened to take the rest of the economy down with them.

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[Guest post by Noam Scheiber:] For months now, a variety of left-leaning pundits have warned Democrats to strike a more populist tone if they want to survive politically. Unless your definition of “survive” is pretty liberal, it’s hard to argue that Democrats accomplished that last night (though losing control of the Senate would obviously have been much worse). Looking over the reams of data that the midterms generated, is there any evidence that the kibitzers were right? The short answer is yes. And, ironically, it comes by way of a contest the Democrats lost.

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The Unnecessary Fall

A counter-history of the Obama presidency.

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