Pinning down the January effect on U.S. jobs figures

February 7, 2014

With Wall Street grappling to hold on to its record highs, a lot is riding on good news from the U.S. economy, no matter how high the Federal Reserve has set the bar for backing off its clear plan to end its monetary stimulus program this year.

Why are US corporate profits so high? Because wages are so low

January 24, 2014

U.S. businesses have never had it so good.

Corporate cash piles have never been bigger, either in dollar terms or as a share of the economy.

Corporate responsibility: it’s time to start investing those record profits and cash piles

December 3, 2013

Corporate profits and cash piles have never been higher. But it’s not just an economic imperative that firms get spending and investing, it’s their social and moral responsibility to do so.

How big is the Fed’s communications gap? Six months, give or take

September 30, 2013

You have to give Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke credit for standing his ground on data-dependence. Despite widespread suspicions, including on this blog, that the central bank would begin reducing the pace of its bond-buying stimulus in September simply because the markets were expecting it, the Fed chose to hold off in the face of a still-fragile economy.

Europe may still be ‘on path for a meltdown’: former Obama adviser Goolsbee

By MacroScope
August 15, 2013

Reporting by Chris Kaufmann and Walden Siew

For all the enthusiasm about the euro zone’s exit from recession, many experts believe the currency union’s crisis is more dormant than over. That was certainly the message from Austan Goolsbee, former economic adviser to President Barack Obama and professor at the University of Chicago. He spoke to the Reuters Global Markets Forum this week.  

Raskin’s warning: ‘Shouldn’t pretend’ Fed capital rules are a panacea

July 10, 2013

Post corrected to show Brooksley Born is a former head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) not a former Fed board governor.

Forget the ‘wealth effect’: real wages drive U.S. consumer spending

June 12, 2013

 

Federal Reserve officials have touted the ‘wealth effect’ from higher stock prices and rising home values as a key way in which monetary policy boosts consumer spending and economic activity. But according to the results of a recent survey from the Royal Bank of Canada, that ethereal feeling of being richer on paper is no substitute for cold, hard cash.

Bernanke on Sen. Warren and too big to fail banks: ‘I agree with her 100 percent’

March 22, 2013

I asked Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke during his quarterly press conference this week if the central bank had its own estimate for the implicit subsidy that banks considered too big to fail receive in the form of cheaper borrowing. Senator Elizabeth Warren had confronted him at a recent hearing with a Bloomberg estimate of $83 billion which itself was derived from an IMF study. At the time, he dismissed her concern: “That’s one study Senator, you don’t know if that’s an accurate number.”

Priceless: The unfathomable cost of too big to fail

March 13, 2013

Just how big is the benefit that too-big-to-fail banks receive from their implicit taxpayer backing? Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke debated just that question with Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren during a recent hearing of the Senate Banking Committee. Warren cited a Bloomberg study based on estimates from the International Monetary Fund that found the subsidy, in the form of lower borrowing costs, amounts to some $83 billion a year.

Sen. Warren flags double-standard for criminal prosecutions of banks

March 7, 2013

Massachusetts’ rookie Senator Elizabeth Warren was out making waves again at a Senate Banking Committee hearing on Capitol Hill today. The former Harvard law professor contrasted the legal code affecting drug prosecutions with what she depicted as cushy settlements for large Wall Street firms that committed egregious crimes.