Helpful Acronyms

Reading about the potential contagion of Greece’s debt problems, I discovered STUPID in Schott’s Vocab, a NY Times blog about words and phrases. Schott quoted Reuters Breakingviews, “The new acronym on trading floors for possible dominoes if Greece should fall…

Japan’s Sovereign Debt

Hoping to sell more Japanese government bonds (JGBs), in a rather novel advertising campaign last June, the Japanese finance ministry said that, “Women have a thing for men who own JGBs.” Their message suggests that women prefer men who are…

A Debt Tour

Calling it “financial disaster travel journalism,” author Michael Lewis (The Blind Side and The Big Short) takes us to Iceland, Ireland, and Greece in 3 Vanity Fair articles that are wonderful. Comparing Iceland to Ireland, he tells us, “But while…

Maybe Money Makes A Nation

In “Thinking About Capitalism,” economic historian Jerry Z. Muller tells us that 16th and 17th century wars were “decided by whichever government was the first to run out of money.” Astoundingly, the American colonies did not run out of money.…

Fiscal Insight

Picture this political cartoon: In some unknown ocean, a Chinese submarine confronts a U.S. navy vessel with the Chinese submarine captain saying, “Turn around or we sell all your T-bills.” The caption says, “Chinese sub threatens U.S. Navy.” As expressed…

The Ant or the Grasshopper?

“What a silly little ant you are,” said the grasshopper in The Ant and the Grasshopper. “Forget about work…Enjoy the summer!” But all day, everyday, grain by grain, the ant continued to gather and store her wheat. When the harsh winter arrived…

Grading a Country

We could say that the graders of sovereign debt use a “rubric” to decide whether a country has a high or a low score. In the classroom, students are given rubrics which specifically describe how a test is graded. A…

A Contagious Disease

Seeing the Bloomberg Businessweek headline, “Greek Contagion Spurs Surge in Portugal, Spanish Debt Swaps,” I started thinking about diagnosing fiscal illness, treating it, and contagion. How can we diagnose the illness? The illness seems to be the Greek spending disease. Just like you…

Big and Little Worries

1.  Sovereign debt: Contemplating big worries, I could place sovereign debt at the top of the the list. Should we currently be concerned about Greece, Spain and other EU nations with excessive obligations?  Beyond, should we be focusing on the…