The high-profile international-business editor of the U.K. Telegraph, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, shocked and pleased readers with an apology for his past support of the U.S. Federal Reserve System, its chairman, and its policies.
It was appropriate for Meredith Whitney to title her latest 600-page report for her investment clients The Tragedy of the Commons. That title was borrowed from an article written in 1968 by Garrett Hardin and published in Science magazine, illustrating the ultimate failure of people hoping to live off the incomes of others eternally.
When Zacks Equity Research announced on Monday the failure of two more banks in the current recession, the silence was deafening. The report blamed the usual suspects: “tumbling home prices, soaring loan defaults, and a high unemployment rate continue to take their toll on such institutions.”
Nobel prize-winning economist and Princeton Professor Paul Krugman provided the Associated Press with some unpleasant commentary on the huge debt that Americans and their institutions owe now. Krugman argues that eventually default on these loans is inevitable. That would mean bankruptcies for individuals and corporations and defaults by governments — or, if the Krugman approach is followed, this would mean calculated govenrment inflation of the money supply, which would make it easier to pay off debts.
Remember all those jobs the stimulus law supposedly created? Well, “tens of thousands” of them, reports the New York Times, are going to vanish “within weeks unless Congress extends one of the more effective job-creating programs in the $787 billion stimulus act: a $1 billion New Deal-style program that directly paid the salaries of unemployed people so they could get jobs in government, at nonprofit organizations and at many small businesses.”
In the midst of speculation over possible changes to President Obama’s economic team, the chair of the National Economic Council, Lawrence Summers, announces his plans to resign his position at the end of the year. Considered the “chief architect” of Obama’s economic policies, Summers now plans to return to his position as a professor at Harvard University.
With high-fructose corn syrup suffering from years of bad press, and consumption of the popular sweetener falling to a 20-year low over concerns it might be a factor in the rampant obesity and other health issues raging across the U.S., the Corn Refiners Association (CRA) has applied to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to change the name of its profitable product —used in the manufacture of soft drinks, candies, sauces, and scores of other processed food and beverages — to “corn sugar.”
After losing billions during the economic crisis, bloated benefits of state and local government-employee pension plans across America have been thrust into the spotlight as officials consider the tough reforms necessary to ensure their funds’ continued existence.
Organized labor, like the octopus of government, ignores the realities of ordinary life. America is in the midst of a depression and unemployment is a profound problem in much of our nation, particularly in those older industrialized regions which have come to be called the “Rust Belt.” Big unions, so present in American elections with money and foot soldiers, extracts its own irregular benefits and protections as the price of political support.
The global regulation of banks took a major leap forward with the conclusion on September 12 of a round of talks held at the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) in Basel, Switzerland. Present were central bankers and regulators from 27 countries, trying to come up with tougher international regulations to prevent another banking crisis like the one we have been enduring for the past couple of years.