The Great Debate

Here lies the Great American Consumer

By J Saft
September 10, 2009

jamessaft1.jpg–James Saft is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own–

Rest in peace, Great American Consumer. We will not see your like again.

“Cash-for-clunkers” aside, consumers seem bent on actually paying back debt rather than racking it up, a change that if sustained, as it is likely to be, will dampen economic growth not for months but for years, and not just in the U.S.

Worry about bank capital, not bonuses

By J Saft
September 8, 2009

jamessaft1–James Saft is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.–

The effort to rein in banking bonuses, outrageous as they may be, is akin to banning glue sniffing because you are worried about the effects of intoxication.

Fishy bailout profits and ephemeral gains

By J Saft
September 1, 2009

jamessaft1.jpg(James Saft is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own)

There is a long list of outfits which have done well out of the banking bailout, but the U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve are not among them.

A brief, but welcome recovery in housing

By J Saft
August 27, 2009

jamessaft1.jpg(James Saft is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own)

Activity in the U.S. housing market has bottomed – a huge plus for the economy – but a recovery in prices will not be sustained and the threat from real estate to bank capital remains acute.

How not to avoid the next panic

By J Saft
August 25, 2009

jamessaft1.jpg(James Saft is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own)

A proposal to give banks, hedge funds and private equity firms “affordable” credit default swap-based insurance against market panics will be very effective: it will effectively encourage even more risk taking and turn the next crisis into one about government credit.

Pensions and the coming savings boom

By J Saft
August 6, 2009

jamessaft1James Saft is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own

The explosion in company pension fund shortfalls in Britain nicely illustrates issues which will dominate economics and investment in coming years: the re-pricing of risk, a disillusionment with equity markets, and the boom in savings these shortfalls will help to drive.

The dollar’s Tinkerbell moment

By J Saft
July 7, 2009

James Saft (James Saft is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.)

Repeat after me: “I believe in a strong dollar as the primary global reserve currency, I believe in a strong dollar as the primary global reserve currency.”

U.S. should batten down the TARP

By J Saft
May 15, 2009

James Saft Great Debate – James Saft is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own –

The U.S. faces a lengthening series of request from industries and interests seeking shelter under the Troubled Asset Relief Program, most of which it should dismiss out of hand.

Get ready for the “Great Immoderation”

By J Saft
May 8, 2009

James Saft Great Debate – James Saft is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own –

The recession will soon be dead, laid to rest alongside the idea of the “Great Moderation”, a set of hopeful assumptions that underpins expectations about economic growth and asset valuations.

Active funds, more high-paid value destroyers

By J Saft
April 24, 2009

James Saft Great Debate – James Saft is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own –

While they have avoided the opprobrium heaped on bankers during the bear market, traditional active fund managers have quietly been proving that they too are often highly paid destroyers of value.