GOP Presidential contenders fumbled substantive questions during last week’s debate. [Credit: ibtimes.com]
Donald Trump wants a piece of the Keystone Pipeline.
The issue didn’t come up during last week’s GOP debate, so Trump didn’t have the chance to elaborate on his declaration that he would have approved the project only if the Canadian company forked over 25 percent of its profits.
“I want a piece of the deal,” Trump told Bret Baier of Fox News. “When I say I want a piece, I’m now representing our country the way I would represent myself.” Continue reading →
Greek Prime Minister paid tribute to Greek patriots executed by Nazis during WWII. His message to the Germans was clear: we bailed you out, now it’s our turn. [Credit: The Guardian]
Shortly after his election last Sunday as Greece’s Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras chose not lay a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Athens’ Syntagma Square. Instead, he went to a war memorial in the Athens suburb of Kessariani where Nazi soldiers executed hundreds of Greek Resistance fighters during the brutal German occupation.
Tsipras’s message was not lost on Angela Merkel and other European leaders: the world forgave most of Germany’s debt; now it’s Greece’s turn. Continue reading →
Economic policymakers may have us, as the Talking Heads put it in their 1985 hit, on the road to nowhere. [Credit: qednet.biz]
Former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has been called the man who saved the world. His extraordinary interventions in the fall of 2008 have almost universally been recognized as having prevented a second Great Depression.
But a new study by the Swiss-based Bank for International Settlements (BIS) suggests that Bernanke saved the world from a crisis that was at least partly of his own making. Worse, it argues that the course he set and that his successor Janet Yellen and other central banks are following will produce another and perhaps graver crisis.
Government monetary and fiscal policymakers have lost their way, the BIS argues. So badly that they don’t just need a new direction. They need a new compass.
President Obama believes that requiring student loans to be repaid is punishing good behavior. [Credit: NPR]
“If somebody plays by the rules, they shouldn’t be punished for it.” — President Obama
The President made this inarguable statement in the course of proclaiming a change in the law governing student loans. Henceforth, millions of people who borrowed for college will have their monthly payments restructured and, in some cases, be entirely relieved of the obligation to repay their debt.
In the President’s mind, borrowing money is playing by the rules; paying it back is punishment. Continue reading →
South Africa’s government in recent years voted to jail people for making unauthorized and inaccurate weather forecasts. Good thing for the Federal Reserve that their bad predictions don’t carry consequences. [Credit: University of MN]
Holding people accountable for their predictions seems a bit harsh in this season of predictions. But the South Africans do have a point: predictions have consequences. That’s as true of predictions about the economy as about the weather, something that the Federal Reserve might do well to ponder. Continue reading →
It’s been a rough year for Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi, whose party narrowly lost an election and who was himself convicted of a crime that may result in his expulsion from the Senate. [Credit: Getty Images]
“Ah, Pisa , you the scandal of the peoples of that fair land where si’ is heard.”
Washington’s flirtation with default engendered endless hand-wringing about the parlous state of our political system. But by Italian standards, Congress and the President are doing just fine.
Last month, while GOP “defund Obamacare” vigilantes nearly caused the massive spending and borrowing machine that is our federal government to seize up, Italy’s government served up a sumptuous feast of dysfunction, replete with sex scandals, resignations of cabinet ministers, and an abortive attempt to topple a government incapable of governing. Continue reading →
President Obama unsuccessfully campaigned for Jon Corzine in 2009. Since then, nearly $1 billion in client money disappeared into the ether from a firm Corzine steered into bankruptcy, but the Obama Administration concluded that Corzine committed no crime.
Jon Corzine is not a crook. No, really.
The Justice Department’s investigation of the former Wall Street titan, New Jersey Governor and U.S. Senator concluded last summer that he’d done nothing wrong. Or at least nothing criminal. Continue reading →
Wall Street titans successfully lobbied Congress for TARP in 2008. Their success made Obamacare possible. [Credit: UPI]
Obamacare goes live on October 1, when newly-created government exchanges are to begin selling health insurance and enrolling people in Medicaid. The date carries an eerie significance. October 1 also is the fifth anniversary of the Senate vote that made Obamacare possible: a 74-25 vote to create the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the $700 billion Wall Street bailout bill, more commonly known as TARP. Continue reading →