Breakingviews

Bernanke musters maximum revolving-door dignity

April 16, 2015

The Fed boss turned blogger will advise $25 bln hedge fund Citadel. Critics may object, and the move won’t help the U.S. central bank’s image of being above the fray. But former public servants deserve to work for pay. At least Bernanke waited over a year and didn’t join a bank.

Dizzying revolving door risks overdone response

November 20, 2014

Going from a U.S. government job to the private sector raises conflicts, as shown by events at Goldman. And a banker’s possible role at the Treasury is under fire. Such moves warrant clear rules, but cross-fertilization is valuable. It would be a shame to make it too hard to do.

Review: “House of Debt” diagnosis beats remedies

June 13, 2014

Atif Mian and Amir Sufi make a compelling case that excess consumer debt caused the U.S. Great Recession’s severity, but their mortgage bailout proposal would make matters worse. Their shared value mortgages might help, but old-fashioned tight money is a simpler and better way.

Fed fundamentalists deserve fresh listen

June 3, 2014

After years of expanding policy and remit, the U.S. central bank risks biting off more than it can chew. Hawkish economists persuasively argue this creates a risk of failure, which could undermine Fed independence. More important, the Fed has to stop giving cover to a lazy Congress.

Fed needs better PR on last-resort lending, too

December 7, 2011

The U.S. central bank is working on its monetary policy communications. But its key role as a crisis lender is also in the spotlight over a $7.8 trln number that has been mischaracterized by some news outlets. The Fed would get less flak if it managed this message better as well.

Fed strikes right balance with latest stress test

March 13, 2012

Unlike the last look under the hood, investors have been given reams more useful data to separate sheep from goats in U.S. finance. At the same time, the Fed’s acting prudently to ensure capital adequacy across the system. It’s a sensible way to head off another financial crisis.

Fed’s Citi logic is hard to follow

March 15, 2012

The bank narrowly failed its stress test. Reconciling the results with the balance sheet suggests it tried to give too much back to shareholders. But loss assumptions also were higher for Citi than most rivals. From the data available, it’s tough to make the Fed’s numbers add up.

Fed’s rising growth, falling inflation are wishful

April 25, 2012

The U.S. central bank sees a pick-up in growth even as the annual rise in prices declines from the current run-rate above the Fed’s 2 pct target. These trends aren’t apparent from recent data, and the Fed needs contingency plans if they don’t pan out so conveniently.

Middle-class American dream needs less real estate

June 14, 2012

U.S. families in the middle income bracket lost 29 pct of their net worth between 2007 and 2010. The plunge in home values was largely to blame. Yet the rich got richer, with tax deductions of various kinds making it cheaper for them to save. Policy can help redress the balance.

QE3 honeymoon may be brief for emerging markets

September 14, 2012

The flood of cheap dollars from the Fed will lift all boats for a while. But if investors fear it’s not reviving growth, funds will pool in safe havens from inflation. And if it works, the tide will favour recovery plays. Either way, QE is sure to trouble non-U.S. central bankers.