Daily Archives: August 23, 2013

Obama’s New Plan to Accelerate Corporate Barbarism

By Dan Kervick

President Obama’s new “vision” for higher education is so crass, so ignoble, so barbarous, and so chilling that it is hard to believe that it could have been written by anyone other than the most vulgar and mercenary corporate suit in his employ.  It is a plan aimed at speeding up the corporate takeover of our higher education system, and transforming it once and for all into nothing but an assembly line for the production of useful human capital.  I will leave it to the reader to scan the philistine details.   For those whose minds, upon hearing the term “higher education”, immediately run to associations with business-world terms such as “bargain”, “investment”, “competition”, “options”, “performance”, “ratings system” … well then, it might be to your taste.

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Bullet-Pointing the Big Bank Bamboozlement

By Dan Kervick

Brad DeLong has taper anxiety, and is wondering what the Fed is thinking.  He notes that, “real GDP in the U.S. today is and remains at least 5.5% below the path that past history tells us is consistent with stable inflation, and thus with rough balance in the labor market.”

He then reminds the Fed to attend to its responsibilities, given the current political environment:

… when fiscal policy and financial policy are suboptimal it is the responsibility of the Federal Reserve to take proper steps to offset them. Potential harms from accelerating the Federal Reserve’s quantitative-easing asset-purchase policies do not appear major. The actual harm from the disaster of a depressed economy is immediate and dire.

But at this point, does anybody really know what central bank policy would actually be most conducive to getting back to trend growth? Let’s run it down, PowerPoint style, shall we?

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Bhide: Pick a “Boring” Fed Chair because Supervision is the Key and it requires “Dullness”

By William K. Black

This is my second column discussing Federal Reserve (Fed) regulation in the context of the question of who President Obama should appoint to be Ben Bernanke’s successor.  This column focuses on the sudden discovery by economists (and, purportedly, Obama) that the Fed Chair’s most important function is to regulate.  (If that sounds like common sense to you, (1) you are not an orthodox economist and (2) you do not understand the Fed’s culture.)  This column begins the process of explaining why most of the economists and finance scholars (Robert Prasch is the exception) writing to urge that the new Fed Chair be chosen based on their regulatory skills demonstrate that they lack any understanding of the fundamentals of financial crises and supervision (and aiding prosecutions).  This column begins my response to Amar Bhide’s op ed entitled “Wanted: A Boring Leader for the Fed.”

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Stick Figure Economics

By Matthew Berg

If you have ever taken an introductory economics course – or any economics course* – then you have experienced the wonder and the majesty of stick figure economics.

Stick figure economics treats mankind as a representative homo oeconomicus – a person (and an economy) neatly stripped of all flesh, blood, and pesky three-dimensional idiosyncrasies.

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