A QE2 Eulogy

Although QE2 ended yesterday, eulogies for the Fed’s $600 billion bond buying program did not focus on the qualities of the deceased and why we will miss her. Yes, some did believe that things would have been much worse without QE2.…

Comparing Central Banks

Perhaps we can divide the world between inflation fighters and recession fighters. Right now, most of the inflation fighters are in the developing world. In Brazil, Russia, India and China (the BRICs), more expensive food and energy and growing demand…

Savers or Borrowers?

In 1987, a $100 savings account would have earned close to $9 in interest. In 2005, $3.75 or so. Now, maybe 47 cents? The WSJ, had a good article describing how savers are suffering. The retirees who expected to depend…

A Different Kind of Currency Crisis

Our story begins with the United States announcing that it would be issuing a state-of-the-art new $100 bill. Designed to thwart counterfeiters, the new bill has 3-D interactive features. Move the bill and certain shapes and colors shift. The bill,…

How the Fed Helped Harley

Have you ever thought about how, every month or every week, businesses have money for paychecks? One answer is commercial paper. It is amazing that commercial paper is central to so much economic activity and few people have even heard…

Virginia and Germany

“Where…is the justice of compelling a State which has taxed her citizens for the sinking of her debt, to pay…the debts of other states, which have made no exertions whatever?” This quote, from John Steele Gordon’s, Hamilton’s Blessing (p. 29)…

QE2: Pros and Cons

Reminding us that there is no such thing as a free lunch, The Washington Post has an excellent interactive summary of the pros and cons of a QE2 impact. But first…what is QE2? Through a second round of quantitative easing,…

Where is QE2 Going?

Did you ever wonder how things really happen? We read about quantitative easing and hear some gigantic number but then…what? Who does it and how? In a Planet Money podcast, journalists visit the Fed and observe how one person implements…

Translating the Fed

I just discovered the Slate Plain English tool. Still under development, its function is to transform unintelligible jargon into normal English. To see how it works, you might want to look at a Slate/Planet Money translation of Tuesday’s Federal Reserve…

The Two Sides of ZIRP

Hearing economists discuss the Fed’s zero-interest-rate policy, Harry Truman would again search for a one-handed economist. On the one hand…if you can borrow money cheaply, you are more likely to expand your business and buy a house or a car.…