Jul 182012
 
How low can rates go?

Interest rates on U.S. Treasury notes with a maturity of 10 years fell last month to nearly the lowest since World War II. They may go lower still. Today’s low rates reflect both the weak outlook for most advanced economies and a desperate scramble globally for safe places to park [continue reading . . . ]






Jul 062012
 

Don’t miss today’s Heard on the Street item in the Wall Street Journal headlined “Central Banks Tilt at Global Windmills.” The item, by Richard Barley, notes that “the People’s Bank of China, the European Central Bank and the National Bank of Denmark all cut rates Thursday, and the Bank of [continue reading . . . ]






Jun 052012
 

Martin Wolf, much-honored chief economics commentator of the Financial Times, has been my beacon during the financial crisis. So it is especially discouraging to read his June 6, 2012, column, headlined “Panic has become all too rational”. Wolf argues that the advanced economies are caught in a “contained depression,” that [continue reading . . . ]






May 302012
 

Uh, oh. That’s what I find myself muttering these days when I fire up the news browser or open my morning papers. The economic news leaves me with a sense of dread. I find three developments especially worrisome: 1. Europe’s slow-motion economic crisis, now more than three years old, rumbles [continue reading . . . ]






Apr 262012
 
Low U.S. rates = default?

Prompted by reading, I’ve been thinking about an essay arguing that today’s exceptionally low interest rates are a form of default. The idea is far from original. Op-ed pieces in the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal have seeded my thinking. An op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal by [continue reading . . . ]






Jun 222011
 

Oregon would have to increase taxes on each household by more than $2,000 each year for several years to fully fund the pension obligations of its public employees (those working for states, counties, cities, school districts, etc). By this measure, only in New Jersey and New York are the burdens [continue reading . . . ]






Jun 102011
 

Now you know. It is all right there on the front page of today’s New York Times, and in fewer than 300 words in this edited excerpt: Workers are getting more expensive while equipment is getting cheaper, and the combination is encouraging companies to spend on machines rather than people. [continue reading . . . ]