Guest Post – Family Dollar

August 19th, 2014 → 6:00 am

Gonzalo:  “Comes to the entertainer–“

Sebastian:  “A dollar.”

Gonzalo:  “Dolour comes to him, indeed: you have spoken truer than you purposed.”

                                                                                                            – The Tempest

Shakespeare loved to play on the double meaning of words/sounds – here it’s with “dollar” and “dolour.”  A radio announcer (I’m afraid I can’t recall which one) used this quote yesterday in relation to the Family Dollar bidding war.  You get a dollar, but really it leads to dolor.  Ain’t this true of so many mergers?  Ain’t this true of so much in life!

Filed under: Blog & Economics/Money

100 Year Anniversary of Ferdinand’s Assassination

June 28th, 2014 → 7:05 am

    “More are men’s ends marked than their lives before.
    The setting sun, and music at the close,
    As the last taste of sweets, is sweetest last,
    Writ in remembrance more than things long past.” – Richard II

100 years ago today Archduke Francis Ferdinand was assassinated, and the world slid into its first World War.  It is humbling to look back on it now; the horror, the uninevitability of it, the profound waste.  There is a world that existed before June 28, 1914, and a rather diferent world that was borne after it.

Filed under: Blog & Economics/Money & Literature/Theatre/Art & Other & Politics/Politicians & Stupid/Evil People

New Fed Chair Janet Yellen

October 9th, 2013 → 5:43 am

“Thou shalt find she will outstrip all praise.” – Tempest

In all honesty, I’m not a macroeconomist.  So I can’t confidently proclaim Yellen to be the best choice for the next Federal Reserve chairwoman(?)ship.  But from everything I do know, and have read, she sounds pretty competent to me.  And Summers would have just been a stupid choice.  So congratulations Janet!  I look forward to having a woman in the top job.

Filed under: Blog & Economics/Money & Politics/Politicians

An Economics PhD Student From Chicago

August 2nd, 2013 → 5:56 am

“Something wicked this way comes.” – Macbeth

I just read about the conviction of Wall Street insider “Fabulous Fab” Fabrice Tourre, for fraud in market activities related to mortgage-backed securities.  Congrats SEC for getting a convinction on someone, anyone!  However, I also learned that Tourre is now an economics student in the PhD program at Chicago.  My reaction?  “Nooooooo!”  We economists have a bad enough reputation as it is (mostly from an ill-informed understanding of what we do, in my opinion, but still), like we need him as part of our gang too?  “Nooooooo!”

Filed under: Blog & Economics/Money

Detroit’s Bankruptcy

July 21st, 2013 → 7:12 am

    “I can get no remedy against this consumption of the purse;
    borrowing only lingers and lingers it out,
    but the disease is incurable.” – Henry IV, Part II

Detroit has been sick for a long, long time.  I grew up in Detroit.  Lived in the very heart of it until I was about 9 years old.  It breaks my heart to see how much things have fallen apart.  Hopefully this bankruptcy declaration is the bottom, and from these ashes Detroit can start to rise again.

Filed under: Blog & Economics/Money

$600 Million Powerball Lottery

May 20th, 2013 → 6:12 am

“The giddy round of Fortune’s wheel.” – The Rape of Lucrece

I don’t normally follow lotteries, but I have to admit, I was hoping no one would win yesterday’s Powerball, just so that the pot could ratchet up to $1 billion.  A $1 billion lottery prize; that would have been cool!  As it happens, someone in Florida did apparently win.  Good luck, mystery winner, figuring out what to do with all that money.  History (and academic research) has shown that not everyone actually knows how to handle it.

Filed under: Blog & Economics/Money

Reinhart Rogoff Finkelstein et al

May 9th, 2013 → 6:39 am

    “[They] who
    With half the bulk o’th’ world played as [they] pleased,
    Making and marring fortunes.” – Antony and Cleopatra

Here’s Shakespeare’s version of Keynes’ famous quote about defunct economists influencing the world.  And unfortunately, perhaps, sometimes it is true.  The discredited study by Reinhart-Rogoff on debt limits really got too much currency; even had it been empirically correct it got too much attention – it was just one study!  Theory advances by repeated results over time.  Having said that, I came across an academic study last week whose purpose was to repeat the empirical results of a rather famous health care study from the 1980s.  And it was beautiful!  No cheating uncovered, empirical results repeated and advanced upon, conclusions and updates made.  Now this is what academic research is about.

Filed under: Blog & Economics/Money

Long-Term Unemployed

May 7th, 2013 → 6:24 am

“If it be a man’s work, I’ll do it.” – King Lear

My heart breaks when I read stories of people in their fifties who have been unemployed for six months or more.  They are too young to retire, but old enough to suffer from ageism.  And the longer they stay out of the job market, the harder it gets.  I’m glad the recent unemployment report was better than expected, but my heart goes out to the millions still who have been without a job for months on end.

Filed under: Blog & Economics/Money & Other

Cyprus Deposit Tax

March 20th, 2013 → 6:03 am

    The oldest sins the newest kind of ways.” – Henry IV, Part II

I don’t know how the EU is going to fix its currency and banking mess, but suddenly and indiscriminately reaching into citizen accounts and taking money from people’s hard earned savings seems more like theft than public policy to me.  There has got to be a better way.

Filed under: Blog & Economics/Money


February 7th, 2013 → 7:50 am

    “How i’th’ name of thrift
    Do [they] rake this together?” – Henry VIII

The sequestration date is fast approaching (March 1) and it makes one wonder, what are they thinking?  Obama’s latest proposal apperas to kick the can down the road yet again, but the Republicans are being as intractable as ever.  How in the name of thrift and good governance do they keep getting away with this stuff?

Filed under: Blog & Economics/Money & Politics/Politicians