Commentary

Quick: What’s a “derivative”? The difference between a “custodial account” and a “trust”? “Listed” versus “unlisted” markets? “Debentures”? How about “price earning ratios”? “Assets” per se, versus “net asset value”? “Capitalism” versus “capitalization”? Stumped? Well, don’t feel badly. Most of your friends and neighbors are stumped, too, unless they majored in economics and are pursuing finance as a career.

Joe BidenVice President Joe Biden predicted job growth of 250,000 to 500,000 jobs a month in the next two months, according to CNBC on Monday. Biden was speaking at a political fundraiser in Pittsburgh, where he said, “We caught a lot of bad breaks on the way down. We’re going to catch a few good breaks because of good planning on the way up.... All in all, we’re going to be creating somewhere between 100,000 and 200,000 jobs next month.”  Even though some have cautioned Biden about his excessive and premature enthusiasm, Biden continued:  “I’m here to tell you some time in the next couple of months we’re going to be creating between 250,000 jobs a month and 500,000 jobs a month.”

Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. executive director Fabrice Tourre probably didn't help his company's public relations efforts (assuming it has some) by referring to an index that facilitates derivatives trading as "a little like Frankenstein turning against his own inventor." But Tourre made that observation in January 29, 2007 e-mail that predated the crisis in the subprime mortgage market.

The idea that President Barack Obama is a socialist is popular among many conservatives; all of us have seen automobiles sporting the bumper sticker reading, Don’t Blame Me; I Didn’t Vote For the Socialist — obviously referring to Obama. Not so fast, says, of all people, Ron Paul (R-Texas).

Stimulus JObsItem: An Associated Press story dated February 17 reported: “Vice President Joe Biden asserted in an interview Wednesday that taxpayers have ‘gotten their money’s worth’ out of the $787 billion stimulus program that Congress passed during the depths of the recession....

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