Monday, March 19, 2012

Comments on the Economy from Baseline Scenario

One of my go-to sources for information on the American economy is Baseline Scenario, by Simon Johnson and James Kwak. Here are three recent posts (Neil Young and "all Along the Watchtower" is a special treat at the end):

A Colossal Mistake of Historic Proportions: The “JOBS” bill
Posted on March 19, 2012 by Simon Johnson

By Simon Johnson, co-author of White House Burning: The Founding Fathers, Our National Debt, And Why It Matters To You

From the 1970s until recently, Congress allowed and encouraged a great deal of financial market deregulation – allowing big banks to become larger, to expand their scope, and to take on more risks.  This legislative agenda was largely bipartisan, up to and including the effective repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act at the end of the 1990s.  After due legislative consideration, the way was cleared for megabanks to combine commercial and investment banking on a complex global scale.  The scene was set for the 2008 financial crisis – and the awful recession from which we are only now beginning to emerge.

With the so-called JOBS bill, on which the Senate is due to vote Tuesday, Congress is about to make the same kind of mistake again – this time abandoning much of the 1930s-era securities legislation that both served investors well and helped make the US one of the best places in the world to raise capital.  We find ourselves again on a bipartisan route to disaster. . . . .


Who’s a Freeloader?
Posted: 14 Mar 2012 04:30 AM PDT
By James Kwak

. . . .The moral of the story is that if you follow the money, almost everyone is a freeloader; by this criterion, there’s no meaningful distinction between Social Security and Medicare, on the one hand, and welfare programs, on the other hand.
. . . .


The Koch Brothers, The Cato Institute, And Why Nations Fail
Posted on March 8, 2012 by Simon Johnson
By Simon Johnson

A dispute has broken out between the Cato Institute, a leading libertarian think tank, and two of its longtime backers – David and Charles Koch. The institute is not the usual form of nonprofit but actually a company with shares; the Koch brothers own two of the four shares and are arguing that they have the right to acquire additional shares and thus presumably exert more control. The institute and some of its senior staff are pushing back.

According to Edward H. Crane, the president and co-founder of Cato, “This is an effort by the Kochs to turn the Cato Institute into some sort of auxiliary for the G.O.P.” Bob Levy, chairman of the Cato board, told The Washington Post: “We would take closer marching orders. That’s totally contrary to what we perceive the function of Cato be.” . . . .

Oh really, I thought Cato was already an "auxiliary for the G.O.P.”

Neil Young & Bruce Springsteen - All Along The Watchtower


The Calmer, Original Version:
Bob Dylan - All Along The Watchtower (Audio Only)

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