Bendy Buses and Health Care

Have you heard of a bendy bus? The bendy bus was supposed to solve Santiago, Chile’s public transit problems. But the story relates to each of us. It all began during 2007 when Santiago decided to replace its private bus…

A Bow Tie Patent

Having said that jackets and dresses cannot be patented or copyrighted, I was fascinated to learn that a bow tie once had one. During the 1950s, the clothing retailer Brooks Brothers had patented their bow tie technology. A recent WSJ…

Spend More or Less?

It was perfect. On the left side of the NY Times Op-Ed page, David Brooks defended the austerity approach. On the right was Paul Krugman saying spend more. Those are the alternatives. Maybe now it will be easier to choose…

Preventing a ‘Flash Crash’

Do you remember the ‘flash crash’? On Thursday, May 6, for close to 20 minutes, markets everywhere wildly fluctuated.  It began at 2:23 when certain stock prices started moving oddly. With Apple trading at approximately $250 a share, at 2:44,…

Monkeynomics

Watching capuchin monkeys, we can learn about the financial crisis. In a July TED talk, Yale’s Laurie Santos describes the marketplace she created for the monkeys she was observing. Santos’s goal was to determine whether the mistakes we repeat are…

Government Rules

What is a “systemically important” financial institution? 2300 pages of financial regulation do not specifically tell us. Instead,regulatory agencies will have to decide. One study indicated that implementing new Dodd-Frank financial legislation will require details for more than 243 new financial…

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…

Wages and Floors

A writer for The Baltimore Sun recently said that, “A ‘new living wage’ will make Baltimore City no more livable than stilettos will make Sen. Barbara Mikulski a forward for the WNBA.” Meanwhile, in New York City, Mayor Bloomberg was…

Figuring Out Financial Regulation

Words cannot describe the 2300 pages of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. In a way, because it says so much, it tells us very little. Still though, after looking at the bill and several news summaries,…