IMF Rejects Own Research, Backs Austerity in Portugal

By: Saturday October 20, 2012 12:00 pm

The EU wrapped up its summit, and the major policy announcement was an agreement for a single Eurozone bank regulator, a step on the road to common depository insurance. This is a couple years off, and leaders announced that no country would be able to get bailout funds for its banks until the regulator was in place, which could pressure Spain into tapping that bailout fund for its government operations, if they’re on the hook for rescuing their own banks in the near term. In addition, Germany and France appear divided over the next steps on fiscal integration, with Germany emphasizing budget discipline and France warning against recession.

 

Total US Debt at a Six-Year Low

By: Wednesday October 10, 2012 7:40 am

When politicians and partisans talk about “the debt,” they are almost always talking about publicly held debt, the balance sheet of the US government. Yet overall debt includes a number of elements. You have state and local government debt, corporate debt, and individual private debt plays a role as well. Household balance sheets are just as important to an economy, if not more so, because the level of private debt can inform the level of consumer spending, which accounts for 70% of the economy. And it turns out that the US is at a six-year low in its overall debt, which at this point presents a problem for the economy.

Sherrod Brown Tries to Jump-Start Languishing Currency Manipulation Bill

By: Wednesday September 19, 2012 2:15 pm

Greg Sargent has an interesting by-product of the electoral debate over China, and particularly Chinese currency manipulation. Romney has used this as part of his five-point plan to improve the US economy. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) casually points out that there’s a bill on the table awaiting a vote in the House that would deal with the issue:

EPI Report Shows Inequality, Lack of Mobility Key Challenges for US Economy

By: Tuesday September 11, 2012 7:00 pm

The Economic Policy Institute delivers an annual analysis of the “State of Working America,” and this year’s version was released today. In their key findings, they lament the rise of “policy-driven inequality,” a condition that, even when the job market improves, leads to the bulk of our economic growth funneling up to the 1%, while those who can find work cannot get a decent wage.

Moody’s Follows Other Rating Agencies Into Incoherence About Fiscal Cliff

By: Tuesday September 11, 2012 12:50 pm

Good to know that the credit rating agencies have learned approximately nothing since last year. Then, they initiated a downgrade of the United States, determining that their debt would be a riskier instrument after the debacle of the debt limit deal. Investors responded by pouring money into US Treasuries and dropping the yields at one point to under 1.5% (it’s at around 1.676% today). The markets, then, thoroughly ignored the warnings of the rating agencies, and by extension discredited them. They saw US treasuries as a safe instrument rather than a downgraded one.

So what does Moody’s come out and say today? That the US credit rating depends on fiscal cliff talks:

Deficit Spending in a Recession Is a Responsible Policy

By: Wednesday September 5, 2012 9:00 am

Above is an ad put together by Republicans to commemorate the reaching of $16 trillion in overall debt, a figure that’s supposed to frighten the public. It very skillfully uses President Obama’s debt trolling against him, including his invocation of debt being “irresponsible” and his worry about “lack of confidence” wrecking the economy if the debt problem perpetuates. But the economic message is wrong.

Looking for a Good Job? Don’t Get Your Hopes Up

By: Saturday August 25, 2012 7:00 pm

If you think your job stinks, you’re not alone. And if you’re still looking for a decent job, don’t expect to find one anytime soon, or ever.

A new analysis of job quality, assessing various measures of benefits and wages, confirms what many of us already suspected: Good jobs are vanishing from the United States, with global trade and social disinvestment leaving workers stranded on a barren economic landscape.

And the Occasional Truth Gets Spoken

By: Saturday August 25, 2012 1:00 pm

With recoveries like this one, who needs recessions?

The average household income has fallen steadily for nearly everyone since the start of the economic expansion in June 2009, with average income dropping 4.8 percent in the three years since the upturn began, according to a report released Thursday.

Greece No Longer the Problem for Europe; It’s Recession and Capital Flight

By: Friday August 24, 2012 9:43 am

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras begged his minders in the Eurozone for more time to institute austerity policies, asking German Chancellor Angela Merkel for “time to breathe.” That may not be forthcoming. The troika (the EU, IMF and European Central Bank) will write a report in the coming month that will determine whether they continue granting Greece tranches of the bailout agreed to earlier in the year. Germany and France have basically agreed that the reform targets must be met. And it does not look like they will grant an additional two years to Greece to meet those targets. The chances of a Greek exit from the Eurozone have definitely gone up.

Fiscal Policies Already in Place Will Depress US Economy in 2013, Regardless of Fiscal Cliff

By: Thursday August 23, 2012 8:16 am

It’s not the threat of recession from the fiscal cliff that is despairing so much as it’s the CBO estimate that, even if the fiscal cliff gets put off, we’re staring at anemic 1.7% growth for 2013, and an unemployment rate remaining above 8% by the end of next year. This points to some serious problems with the US economy, and being the “best in the world” at a time of global slowdown is a cold comfort.

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