Tag: Money and Banking

GM, QE3, and Crony Capitalism »

Yesterday on The Beacon I noted that the Federal Reserve’s new “quantitative easing” measure, QE3, is an example of crony capitalism: the use of public policy to increase the profitability of specific firms and industries. Today I want to compare QE3 with another example of crony capitalism to reinforce the point. General Motors provides...
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The Fed’s New Foray Into Crony Capitalism »

I’ve been teaching economics for decades, and until 2008 I taught my students that the Federal Reserve Bank (Fed) engages in monetary policy through open market operations by buying and selling government securities. (They have other policy tools too.) They dealt in government securities partly because their operations would alter the money supply without...
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Boom and Bust Banking—Causes and Cures »

The twenty-first century opened with optimism, as first the technology sector and then the housing sector boomed. But then came the financial crisis and the Great Recession—the worst economic malaise since the 1930s. Why, after several decades of economic stability, did the business cycle return with such force? Most attempts to answer this question...
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Stimulating—Enough Already! »

Despite the evidence to the contrary, the dominant sentiment among politicians, academics and journalists in the United States, Europe and Japan continues to be that stimulating the economy via fiscal and monetary policy is the answer to the economic stagnation. It was stimulation—coupled with lower tax revenue due to the recession—that got several European...
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The Fading Promise of the Euro »

When the euro was created in 1999 the new currency promised to facilitate trade within the euro zone, to further unify Europe, and to challenge the dollar as the world’s reserve currency. The common currency does facilitate trade, but the differing goals of the member countries seem to be creating more divisiveness than unity...
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The Drowning Lifeguard? »

With Berlin under pressure from everybody to rescue everyone, the recent confirmation of Germany´s economic slowdown and Moody´s threat to downgrade the Triple-A rating enjoyed by that country´s sovereign debt is a poignant reminder that in certain circumstances the lifeguard can also drown. The last time Germany used its muscle to pull a partner...
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Student Loan Forgiveness: Bread and Circuses for the 21st Century »

In late June Congress acted to freeze the interest rate on certain college loans at 3.4 percent for an additional year, claiming this move would help make college more affordable. Of course, a relative handful of college students saving a few dollars each month doesn’t translate into college affordability—and the Obama administration knows it....
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Anna Jacobson Schwartz (November 11, 1915–June 21, 2012) »

Anna Schwartz was one of the best economic historians of the past century. With Milton Friedman, she wrote (among many other works) that century’s most influential economic history book, A Monetary History of the United States, 1867-1960 (1963). Although not an economic theorist of Friedman’s caliber, she was a fine economist in her own...
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JPMorgan’s $2 Billion Loss: A Case for Regulation? »

When JPMorgan announced it had sustained a $2 billion trading loss a few weeks ago, some commentators, including Paul Krugman, argued that their irresponsible investing was more evidence that we need stronger financial regulation. The evidence in the JPM case actually shows the opposite. Krugman’s column presents the arguments on both sides. The correct...
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Krugman’s Mythology of U.S. Banking History »

Do the banking panics of the late 19th century prove that a safe and sound financial system requires government oversight of banks? Paul Krugman (and most every pundit) seems to think so. In his New York Times column of May 13, he writes: “Current right-wing mythology has it that bad banking is always the...
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