A History of Financial Regulation

The Plunge Protection Team is composed of the chair of the Federal Reserve, the Secretary of the Treasury, the SEC, and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission.  Officially called the Working Group on Financial Markets, this group was formed after the…

The Ten Best Money Movies

From a Forbes.com, 2006 reader survey, the 10 best money movies: Wall Street (1987; 35% of votes) Trading Places (1983; 10% of votes) The Sting (1973; 6% of votes) Ocean’s Eleven (1960; 5% of votes) Boiler Room (2000; 5% of votes)…

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…

Hamburger Economics

When U.S. senators consider whether to respond to an undervalued Yuan, they can check the most recent Big Mac Index.  Big Macs are 49% cheaper in China than in the U.S. According to The Economist, we would pay $3.58 for a Big…

A One-Handed Economist?

Let’s not look at CDOs, SIVs, ARMs, TIPs or ATMs. Nor do we need specifically to consider credit default swaps, securitization, hedge funds or venture capital. Instead, we can go to the question that Robert Litan asks at the end…

New Financial Products

Instead of a garage or a laboratory, think of an office or a conference room. And, rather than a computer or an aircast, imagine a junk bond or a bank account.  All of these products, at one time were invented.…

A Real Seat

In 2005 you could have paid $4 million (an all time high) for a seat on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) but you would have had almost nothing on which to sit.  Looking down from the balconies overlooking the huge trading floor of…

Default Records

Seeing current concerns about the money owed by Greece, I wondered about her past record.  Until 1932, it was not good.  The first report of Greece defaulting on her debt was during the fourth century B.C.  At the time, ten…