Mortgage Backed Securities (Insecurities)

NPR’s Planet Money has been looking for the people behind a mortgage backed security. The story, almost like a page turner mystery, began with a $1,000 purchase. With $1,000, Planet Money reporters purchased a tiny piece of a mortgage backed security composed…

Consumer Financial Protection

I have been curious about why the new Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (BCFP), established by the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill, is an independent bureau within the Federal Reserve. While I have not discovered a satisfactory answer, I have learned…

Independence and Printing Money

Having just celebrated July 4th, I’ve been thinking about 1776, the American Revolution, and money. At the time, money frequently determined who won and lost wars. When countries ran out of money, they had to stop fighting. Great Britain had…

Travels of a Dollar

Having just followed the probable travels of a dollar bill at “wheresgeorge,” I’ve been thinking about money. Money is more than coin or paper currency. Because we can easily spend our demand deposits (checking accounts) and savings accounts, they too…

A Plastic Penny?

How do you feel about the penny and the nickel? If you care about the federal budget, you might want to mint them more inexpensively. But, if you own a laundromat, you disagree.    Pennies are actually copper coated pieces…

Wheelbarrows of Money

If your country’s currency is hyperinflating, then how do you buy bread? You can find a wheelbarrow or use another currency. During February, 2007, with an inflation rate exceeding 50% per month, the Zimbabwean economy experienced hyperinflation. Looking for purchasing power,…

A New Fed?

“Independent” is the first word that comes to mind when I think about the Federal Reserve. Overseeing the supply of money and credit, the Fed is supposed to be an independent Federal agency. I wonder how the following basics of…

Statistical Fun

Reading that China might be concerned with an annual 3.5 percent inflation rate, I wondered how that compared to other countries and the world.  At a Google site with World Bank data, not only did I get some answers, but I had some fun.  Graphically,…

The Top 19

Are 19 banks “too big to fail?” Listening to Bloomberg radio, I heard that four banking firms control close to 50 percent of their industry’s assets, that the top 19 control 85 percent, and that the bottom 8000 control 15 per cent.  An…