The Federal Reserve is a hundred years old this year. There’s not a whole lot to celebrate in its century long history–the intention might have been good, but the execution has kind of been disastrous. In tonight’s film, Money for Nothing: Inside the Federal Reserve, our guest filmmaker Jim Bruce takes us through the history of the Federal Reserve System and into the current mess.
|By: Lisa Derrick Monday September 23, 2013 4:59 pm|
|By: masaccio Thursday March 14, 2013 4:45 pm|
According to Fed Chair Ben Bernanke: “at the present time the major industrial economies apparently cannot sustain significantly higher real rates of return”
|By: William Black Saturday January 5, 2013 1:59 pm|
I am hosting the Firedoglake discussion of my colleague Randy Wray’s new “Primer” on macroeconomics. Macroeconomics is the study of the overall economy – economic growth, recessions, depressions, inflation, unemployment, and employment are big issues that macroeconomics studies. The key policies it addresses are usually divided into fiscal (tax and spending) and monetary policies (the growth of the money supply and setting interest rates).
The concept of monetary tools has broadened as we have seen the Federal Reserve change what had been a severely constrained “lender of last resort” function of the central bank into the most massive bailout program in history. Similarly, the central bank’s interest rate setting function that was long focused on short-term rates has expanded into large experiments that attempt to lower long-term interest rates (“quantitative easing”).
|By: David Dayen Friday December 21, 2012 5:49 am|
This week brought more good statistical news for the housing market. Existing home sales rose at a decent clip in November, nearing post-bubble highs not seen since the artificial spike from the homebuyer’s tax credit (I’ve noted that the end of the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act could be giving the same spike). Inventory fell again, which presages higher prices. And while housing starts fell in November, the more stable indicator of homebuilding permits rose above expectations. There’s a huge hole to dig out from – even with its 25% rise, housing starts in 2012 would be the 4th-lowest in history – but the digging is occurring.
|By: David Dayen Wednesday December 19, 2012 2:40 pm|
The Financial Times points out today that Tim Geithner, while heading the NY Fed, knew all about the Libor fraud at the major banks, and that traders were manipulating the rate purely to make money for themselves on various deals. This is a stronger charge than the idea that banks manipulated the rate for reasons of financial health, and Geithner knew it was happening. But he did nothing. As per usual.
|By: David Dayen Monday December 17, 2012 12:45 pm|
To say that “we have a budget deficit” is no different than saying “we’re in the middle of a recession.” The correlation between deficits and economic growth is very tight. A large part of deficits are composed of reduced tax receipts from less people working, and increase in utilization of automatic stabilizers like unemployment benefits, Medicaid and food stamps, which recedes in better economic times.
|By: David Dayen Friday October 26, 2012 6:47 am|
The Special Inspector General for TARP, Christy Romero, has recommended that the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department stop using LIBOR, the benchmark interest rate derived in such a slipshod way that it was rigged for years. But the Fed and Treasury aren’t taking Romero up on the request.
|By: David Dayen Friday September 28, 2012 11:24 am|
The Financial Services Authority, the top regulator of the banking industry in Britain, announced its changes to how the Libor, the benchmark interest rate which undergirds hundreds of trillions of dollars in financial products, will be derived. As expected, the British government will take responsibility for setting the Libor away from the British Bankers’ Association. They did not name a replacement for the BBA, but said they would appoint one sometime in the next year. Data providers like Bloomberg and Thomson Reuters have already shown interest in taking over.
More interesting, Martin Wheatley, the head of the FSA, said that he wants to make Libor rigging a criminal offense, to provide more of a deterrent.
|By: David Dayen Friday August 24, 2012 6:49 am|
The Royal Bank of Scotland is not having a good week. Earlier in the week they became the latest to be subject to investigation on the grounds of money laundering. Now they are embroiled in the Libor scandal, with one trader claiming that anyone at RBS had the opportunity to rig the benchmark interest rate.
|By: David Dayen Wednesday August 15, 2012 2:53 pm|
Justin Elliott has a useful story on how the press and politicians have inflated the military budget cuts that are part of the sequester that triggers at the end of the year. The total budgetary savings from the sequester are $1.2 trillion, equally divided between defense and discretionary spending. However, that includes the savings that come from reduced interest payments over ten years. If you borrow less because of spending cuts, your financing costs go down, to put it simply, and the annual cuts are closer to just $55 billion/year for 9 years.