Greek Debt

November 2nd, 2011 → 6:34 am

    “In Greece…
    Though there the people had more absolute power –
    I say they nourished disobedience, fed
    The ruin of the state.” – Coriolanus

The problems of the Euro Crisis and the Greek debt just aren’t going away.  Every time Europe gets close to closing in on a deal, either they don’t, or the deal turns out to be pretty lame.  In economics, as in politics, one needs to get ahead of these situations to solve them.  But now the Europeans are so far behind, I don’t know what is going to happen…

Filed under: Blog & Economics/Money & Politics/Politicians & Stupid/Evil People


October 3rd, 2011 → 7:59 am

“A stirring dwarf we do allowance give before a sleeping giant.” – Troilus and Cressida

Why is it that we seem more concerned about Demi and Ashton’s breakup, then about the threat of global warming?  About non-existant inflation, then the very real high unemployment rate?  About Chaz Bono on Dancing with the Stars, rather than death and the war in Afghanistan?  I’m not blaming anybody because it seems to be a universal, nonpartisan phenomenon, but why is it that we get so distracted by stirring dwarfs when there are so many larger sleeping giants about?

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


September 5th, 2011 → 8:30 am

“O how full of briars is this working-day world!” – As You Like It

Last Friday’s jobs report came out and it’s not good.  Over 6 million people in the U.S. are unemployed and have been for 6 months or more.  Some report that things are even worse than this report from the Labor Department suggests.  It is a very, very tough working-day world out there right now.

Filed under: Blog & Economics/Money

S&P’s Downgrading of U.S. Debt

August 9th, 2011 → 6:52 am

    “He that filches from me my good name
    Robs me of that which not enriches him
    And makes me poor indeed.” – Othello

Standard & Poor’s downgraded U.S. debt from AAA to AA+.  At least they admitted that the call was motivated primarily by political calculations, not economic ones.  Still, I think they are just trying to make up for giving such loose ratings before the crash.  Basically, I think they are a rather poor rating agency and I wouldn’t put much stock in their opinion.


Filed under: Blog & Economics/Money

Balanced Budget Amendment

August 6th, 2011 → 7:09 am

“Neither a borrower nor a lender be.” – Hamlet

I’m afraid the time has come for me to disagree with Shakespeare.  The notion that a person, or even a government, should never borrow or lend is financially ludicrous.  Smoothing consumption patterns over time (through borrowing and lending) is much more optimal than living paycheck to paycheck, with unpredictable booms and busts always chasing your heels.  The same is true for governmets; they should spend more in recessions to prop up living standards, and less in good times to cool the economy and save up for future recessionary spending.  The balanced budget amendment Republicans in Congress are proposing is just bad economics, plain and simple.

(Note that if you read the rest of Shakespeare’s quote, it begins to have more validity.  The full quote is: “Neither a borrower nor a lender be, For loan oft loses both itself and friend, And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.”  This human component of personal relationships and productive inventives holds more truth than the simplified borrowing/lending quote you usually hear bandied about.)

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


July 24th, 2011 → 7:33 am

“Distribution should undo excess, and each man have enough.”

I’m not a socialist.  For god’s sake, I’m a professor of economics at the University of Missouri, but I am starting to worry about inequality in the U.S.  We haven’t had such skewed levels of wealth distribution since the 1920s.  And skewed levels of wealth don’t just seem unfair, they are actually harmful by exhibiting downward pressure on consumer demand, which hurts the economy for everyone.  Those who are worried about the tax aspects of the current budget negotiations shouldn’t be; redistribution to maintain a basic quality of life for the majority of the population is not just decent, it’s good economics.

Filed under: Blog & Economics/Money

Debt Crisis Back-up Plan

July 16th, 2011 → 6:54 am

“A thought which, quarter’d, hath but one part wisdom and ever three parts coward.” – Hamlet

I hear that President Obama is taking Mitch McConnell’s back-up plan for raising the debt ceiling seriously.  Bummer.  The plan is only one part wisdom (the avoiding default part), and three parts coward by the Republicans.

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

More on Raising the Debt Ceiling

July 8th, 2011 → 6:39 am

“If it were done, when ’tis done, then ’twere well it were done quickly.” – Macbeth

Analogizing raising the debt ceiling to commiting murder is probably not the best way to go here, but the underlying sentiment is still accurate.  We need to raise the debt ceiling, so just get it done already, and quickly!  My favorite media comment on this came from NPR the other day, where Jim Kessler said:  “You can cheat on your spouse and maybe your marriage will survive, but your marriage will never be the same again. And you can default on your debts as a nation and your country will survive. But the way your country is viewed will never be the same again.”

Filed under: Blog & Economics/Money

Greek Debt

July 1st, 2011 → 6:54 am

“Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds.” – Sonnet XCIV

The Greek debt needs to be restructured already.  I know the Europeans want to avoid that and implement a debt rollover instead, but that’s just drawing out the inevitable digging up and throwing out of the festering lilies.  Here’s hoping Christine Lagarde is able to take a dispassionate, well-rounded view of the situation in her new role as head of the IMF.  (By the way, Congratulations on the new job Christine!)

Filed under: Blog & Economics/Money

Budget Crises

June 25th, 2011 → 6:46 am

Lord Chief Justice: “Your means are very slender, and your waste is great.”

Falstaff: “I would it were otherwise, I would my means were greater and my waist slenderer.”

– King Henry IV, Part II

An apt commentary on the current U.S. budget crisis.  Though isn’t this true for all of us?  I read a report the other day that even our babies are now too fat (!):

Filed under: Blog & Economics/Money