Michael Lewis and the U.S. Congress

The Big Short by Michael Lewis (who also wrote The Blind Side) is a “hot read” on Capital Hill. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill) recommended it. Chris Dodd (D-CT) referred to it during a speech on Fannie and Freddie. And, Senators Harry…

BP and the Financial Crisis

I suspect that there is an inverse relationship between government’s ability to get regulation right and the length of the legislation. Glass-Steagall was 34 pages long. Recently proposed financial legislation is 3000 pages long. The need for appropriate regulation is…

Economic Freedom

Composed of 179 countries, the Index of Economic Freedom ranks France 64 and the United States 8. At the top of the list, with the more free economies and the lowest numbers, are Hong Kong, Singapore, and Australia while North Korea,…

Costly Legislation

Looking at a recent NY Times article, whose title was, “Cost of Jobs Bill Leaves Some Democrats Leery,” I wondered whether the author realized just how many costs his discussion involved. If passed, the bill would extend jobless pay, provide…

Leverage

In many ways, the recent financial crisis was (and is) really about seesaws. A seesaw is a lever that lets you do a lot with a little. Using a seesaw, a person weighing 100 pounds can lift someone at the…

Airplane Crashes and Financial Crashes

When an airplane crashes, investigators rush to the scene, gather evidence, and ultimately hope to emerge with updated safety suggestions. It would be wonderful if we, when assessing the “flash crash” or slower stock market dives, could also diagnose the…

The NYC Economy

With “Law & Order” being canceled by NBC, the New York City economy will feel it. Of course actors are affected but also the caterers who feed them, the stores that sell them the lawyers’ clothing (Barney’s and Saks), and…

The Young Old

Having read that Greek fiscal austerity involves raising their average retirement age from 53 to 67 and that their life expectancy is 79.5 years, I thought of the Social Security Act of 1935 and then 2035. When Social Security was enacted…

Orderly Markets

No one has figured out the cause of the “flash crash”. Some background information might help, though, when we try to understand what happened. On May 6th, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged close to 1000 points, then made up some…

A Woman’s Impact

In a Washington Post article with the heading, “‘Potty Parity’ hearing set for today,” I discovered that the U.S. Congress was working on a bill to increase the number of female restrooms in federal buildings. Testimony began yesterday. Watching the PBS…