Three Reasons You Might Want Hundred Dollar Bills

At WheresGeorge.com, you can enter the serial number of a $100 bill, your zip code and maybe even write WheresGeorge on the bill, and then send it on its way. Whenever its subsequent spenders note that serial number at WheresGeorge.com…

Monetary Policy: The Cost of QE3

Quantitative easing began and continues in front of a computer. If you had visited the Fed when QE1 was being implemented, you would have seen several people, daily, sitting in front of a computer, selecting securities and then buying them. Keeping…

History of Money: Almonds, Paper Rectangles and Clicks

Ben Franklin had some very wise ideas about money: Remember that time is money. Early to bed and early to rise makes a man health, wealthy, and wise. There are three faithful friends–an old wife, an old dog, and ready…

Monetary Policy: The Punch Bowl

Sort of like Max in Maurice Sendak’s, Where the Wild Things Are, the Federal Reserve sometimes says, “And now, let the wild rumpus start.” Then though, Max cries out, “Now stop!” and sends “the wild things to bed without their…

Monetary Policy: QE Insight

At a 2002 conference honoring Milton Friedman on his 90th birthday, then Federal Reserve Governor Ben Bernanke concluded his remarks with… “Regarding the Great Depression. You’re right, we did it. We’re very sorry. But thanks to you, we won’t do…

Financial Markets: Data Matters

Because of a Fed “flub,” data has been in the news lately. First, though, let’s look at a Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data story. On a Thursday during 1998, a Wall Street economist noticed job creation data on the…

QE3 and the Baby Boomers

At the beginning of yesterday’s QE3 press conference, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke referred to the plight of savers. Similarly, during an August “Conversation With the Chairman,” Dr. Bernanke was asked, “What about the savers?” Both times, Dr. Bernanke had the…

The Fed Debate

10 years ago, the future Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said to Nobel laureate Milton Friedman, “Regarding the Great Depression. You’re right, we did it. We’re very sorry. But thanks to you, we won’t do it again.” What won’t they…

A Surprising Deficit Worry

Who do you think is the biggest holder of U.S. government debt? The U.S. government. Whenever Social Security collects more payroll tax money than it needs, it buys U.S. securities. Retaining cash would mean no return, buying stock could be…

Too Big To Fail

Imagine for a moment that you are the CEO of a large bank. Offered the opportunity to participate in a risky business deal, you say, “Yes.” If the venture succeeds, you benefit. If it fails and threatens your bank’s survival,…