In a speech to Wall Street today, President Obama talked of a "failure of responsibility" in Washington and on Wall Street. But the financial sector is the most regulated part of the economy, so surely responsibility lies mostly with Washington. It was the federal government that created deposit insurance, which removed risk (and therefore caution) from bank deposits. It was also the feds that created "too big to fail," our new system of private profits and socialized losses. Most importantly, it was federal taxes and regulations that undermined our productive capacity, rendering us weak in the face of financial shocks. [more]
While I attended an economic conference last week in Shanghai, I found it notable - but not surprising - that two former Secretaries of the Treasury, John Snow and Hank Paulson, as well as current Treasury Secretary Tim Geither, and former President George W. Bush were then in the country at the same time. The fact that so many key American power brokers (myself not included) were in China simultaneously is no coincidence. In an overly indebted world, the $2.5 trillion that China holds in foreign reserves is acting as a center of economic gravity, inexorably pulling all market participants into its orbit.
When a 10-ton elephant plods through a village of grass huts, the big question on everyone's mind is: which way is he going to turn next? With China, that fundamental question translates to guessing when Beijing will make changes to the value of the yuan. These decisions will determine the overall direction of the global economy, and will set the path that everyone must follow. Unfortunately, no Americans, even those who travel hat-in-hand to China, have a seat at the table where these decisions are being made. [more]
This is a great clip as Chris Matthews tries to discredit libertarianism (and the Tea Party movement), and Ron Paul does a great job defending his views. [more]
[I stand corrected -- Honk Kong first imposed an income tax in 1947. It has a top rate of 16%, a high personal exemption, and capital gains, dividends, and interest income are not taxed! Certainly not as good as no income tax at all, but a much better system then the one we have here!] [more]
In a commentary two weeks ago, I rebutted dangerously silly arguments put forward by New York Times columnist Paul Krugman about how the United States should pressure China to drop its support for the U.S. dollar. Although there is far more happening in the world outside of Mr. Krugman’s brain than within it, fresh drivel from the acclaimed Nobel Prize winner compels me to turn my focus there once again.
In today’s column, Krugman analyzes the Greek debt crisis, arguing that the best solution for Athens would be to simply inflate away its debt burden with printing press money. Krugman laments that this sensible option is being foreclosed by the monetary priggishness of the German heavyweights in the European Union, who are ‘foolishly’ seeking to prevent inflation and impose fiscal discipline. [more]
He introduces the video by saying it's Tuesday, April 2nd, only to say 2 seconds later that it's Good Friday. LOL! [more]
During the 1990s, inflationary Federal Reserve policy fueled a tech stock bubble. When that bubble burst, the Fed inflated a larger one in real estate. Now that the real estate bubble has burst, the Fed is inflating the biggest bubble of them all – a bubble in government. While the earlier booms at least provided the illusion of prosperity and some fun while they lasted, the government bubble will cripple the economy and deliver widespread misery to the vast majority of Americans.
Of course, there will be winners in the government bubble, at least for a while. As was the case with the stock and real estate bubbles, plenty of money will be made by the well-connected and parasitic classes. Government employees will continue to enjoy pay raises at our expense, as will anyone benefiting from the new wave of subsidies, such as Wall Street investment bankers, financial speculators, and those working in health care or education. [more]