The Great Debate

from Anatole Kaletsky:

Why political gridlock works for the U.S. economy, but not for Japan or EU

By Anatole Kaletsky
November 7, 2014

U.S. President Obama hosts a luncheon for bi-partisan Congressional leaders in the Old Family Dining Room at the White House in Washington

Is gridlocked government a betrayal of democracy? Or does it allow citizens to get on with their lives and businesses, unencumbered by meddlesome politicians?

from Anatole Kaletsky:

Why markets ignore good news from U.S. to focus on bad news from Europe

By Anatole Kaletsky
October 16, 2014

A trader watches the screen at his terminal on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York

What’s spooking the markets?

One thing we can say for sure is that it is not the slightly weaker-than-expected retail sales that triggered the mayhem on Wall Street on Wednesday morning. Most U.S. economic data have actually been quite strong in the month since Wall Street peaked on Sept. 19.

from Anatole Kaletsky:

Here’s what it will take to trigger the next stock market correction

By Anatole Kaletsky
August 21, 2014

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the market's opening in New York

As Wall Street hit another new record Thursday, it is worth considering what could cause a serious setback in stock market prices around the world. Since I started writing this column in 2012, I have repeatedly argued that the rebound in stock market prices from their nadir in the 2008-09 global financial crisis was turning into a structural bull market that could continue into the next decade.

Are too-big-to-fail banks being cut down to size?

By Charles R. Morris
August 7, 2014

Financial institution representatives are sworn in before testifying at the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington

The massive $16-billion mortgage fraud settlement agreement just reached by Bank of America and federal authorities — only the latest in a string of such settlements — makes it easy to lose sight of what good shape banks are in.

from Anatole Kaletsky:

Yellen’s remarkably unremarkable news conference – and why it’s a good thing

By Anatole Kaletsky
June 19, 2014

Yellen holds a news conference following two-day Federal Open Market Committee meeting at the Federal Reserve in WashingtonJohn Maynard Keynes famously said that his highest ambition was to make economic policy as boring as dentistry. In this respect, as in so many others, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is proving to be a loyal Keynesian.

Fed tightening will help stem inequality

By Alexander Friedman
May 12, 2014

The Federal Reserve Building is reflected on a car in Washington September 16, 2008. REUTERS/Jim Young

from Nicholas Wapshott:

Yellen shows her hand

By Nicholas Wapshott
April 19, 2014

The difference between the Federal Reserve Board of Chairwoman Janet Yellen and that of her immediate predecessor Ben Bernanke is becoming clear. No more so than in their approach to the problem of joblessness.

Stress and the Citi

By Charles R. Morris
April 7, 2014

Markets are still absorbing the Federal Reserve’s surprising smack-down of Citigroup. Under its chief executive officer, Michael Corbat, Citi had greatly strengthened its capital base — indeed, it had one of the best capital ratios of all the big banks — and had proposed modest dividend increases and stock buybacks.  Instead, City was the only big American bank that failed its review.

‘Rentiers’ are at root of 1 percent

By Charles R. Morris
March 12, 2014

The American public is catching on that almost all the benefits from the still-fragile U.S. recovery have gone to the top 1 percent of earners. One sign is that “inequality” has suddenly become a fighting word. Legendary venture capitalist Tom Perkins recently denounced the “demonization” of the rich — and was quickly forced to apologize for comparing it to Kristallnacht.

Yellen vs. the Fed critics

By Douglas Holtz-Eakin
November 13, 2013

The confirmation hearing of Federal Reserve Chairwoman nominee Janet Yellen on Thursday will be an opportune moment for Fed critics to air their grievances.  There is plenty of fodder for disagreement and debate — ranging from the Fed’s supervisory track record, to the rules for tapering large-scale asset purchases, to the criteria for ending its zero-interest rate stance.