Debt-Ceiling: An Absurd, Unnecessary Law

The debt-ceiling circus in Washington continues as I write this.  The Republicans seem bound and determined to ruin the "full faith and credit" of the United States, while President Obama is frustrated that the Republicans won't accept his deals to cut Social Security and Medicare.  None of this is necessary.  We don't need a debt … Continue reading Debt-Ceiling: An Absurd, Unnecessary Law

Government Bonds are Just Like Government Money

Government debt is not like private debt.  Government debt, government bonds, are really just another form of the government-issued fiat money obligations - just like paper money.  There really is little difference between government bonds and that paper money in your pocket - except that the bonds pay interest and are harder to cash at … Continue reading Government Bonds are Just Like Government Money

Government Tax Breaks for People Who Speculate in Oil Futures

Gas prices have come down a bit recently, but it's not hard to remember the over $4 a gallon gas prices of just a few weeks ago.  At the time, I wrote that I (and some others) suspect that these occassional spikes in oil and gas prices were due to speculators, particularly hedge funds and … Continue reading Government Tax Breaks for People Who Speculate in Oil Futures

How to Tell If the Politician or Reporter Is Ignorant, Foolish, or Has a Hidden Agenda – Part 2

Another in the series.  See part 1 here.    If the politician or reporter says something about "our grand children having to payoff the national debt", it's totally bogus.  The speaker is either ignorant, foolish or has a hidden agenda they want you to accept.  Sometimes they use phases like "saddle our grandchildren with debt" … Continue reading How to Tell If the Politician or Reporter Is Ignorant, Foolish, or Has a Hidden Agenda – Part 2

This Is No Movie Folks. It’s Real and It’s Scary.

I don't enjoy scary movies. Never have.  I also don't enjoy scary "amusement" park rides.*  I know I'm kind of a fluke in our U.S. culture this way.  I just find that there's enough excitement, thrills, and fright in the real world if you just open your eyes. An example of real world things to … Continue reading This Is No Movie Folks. It’s Real and It’s Scary.

Arithmetic, Reality, and Dreams of A Balanced Budget

Apparently, the Republicans and Tea Partiers are insisting that the federal government budget be balanced immediately (the demand for no increase in the debt ceiling) and that it be done entirely from spending cuts (the "no tax increases" pledge) to discretionary spending. This is enough to demonstrate that they simply are not dealing in reality … Continue reading Arithmetic, Reality, and Dreams of A Balanced Budget

Private Debt vs. Government Debt

The Great Recession of 2007-2009, which has been morphing into a Depression, has been different from most recessions of the post-World War II era.  It has been what economists call a "balance-sheet" recession.  Normally (at least since World War II), recessions were the result of the central bank (The Fed in the U.S.) raising interest … Continue reading Private Debt vs. Government Debt

How to Tell If the Politician or Reporter Is Ignorant, Foolish, or Has a Hidden Agenda – Part 1

One of the reasons my posts have been scarce* lately is because, frankly, I'm frustrated and nearly speechless at the foolish talk and nonsense that currently passes for news about the economy lately.  In particular, this year the politicians and reporters in Washington have been focused on the federal government deficits and debt.  We are … Continue reading How to Tell If the Politician or Reporter Is Ignorant, Foolish, or Has a Hidden Agenda – Part 1

America Flatlines – Employment Report for June 2011

The "recovery" is flat-lining. The employment report for June shows the continuing bad news.  I'll let CalculatedRisk give us the facts: From the BLS: Nonfarm payroll employment was essentially unchanged in June (+18,000), and the unemployment rate was little changed at 9.2 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment in most major private-sector … Continue reading America Flatlines – Employment Report for June 2011