Ok, I exaggerate. But that’s my cynical first impression after finding the following diagram in the briefing book for the gathering of the good and the great at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. (Click for a larger size.)
As you can see “Severe income disparity” is #1 on the Top 5 risks list this year, after having failed to make the short list for the preceding 5 years.
Now it’s not as though the attendees of Davos were completely inattentive to the economic plight of the less fortunate all this time. Continue Reading
I wrote earlier about Ryan Lizza’s lengthy piece in the New Yorker on the Obama Administration’s evolution from “Hope and Change” to “let’s just meet in the middle”. Specifically I pointed out how the Administration unintentionally makes the case that strategic defaults on a massive scale might be the only way to get the housing market moving again.
Now I want to highlight Christina Romer’s role in helping to pick the final figure for the fiscal stimulus that, by most accounts, was far too modest. Consider the following excerpt from Lizza’s article. Continue Reading
Ryan Lizza of The New Yorker Magazine has a lengthy piece out on the trials and tribulations of the Obama administration. It makes for very interesting reading and I’d be curious to hear what you make of it in this election year.
But what I’m most interested in is one of the source documents on which Lizza based his piece, and which he has made available to the general public here. It is, as he describes, a 57-page ur-text of the administration of the 44th president of the United States. It was delivered by Larry Summers, Obama’s former #1 economic adviser, on December 15, 2008 — after Lehman, after Bush’s TARP, after the victorious election, but before Obama’s inauguration. Continue Reading
Edelman is one of the world’s most respected public relations firm. Every year they do a big global survey in order to report on that most elusive of subjects — trust. For this year’s edition they asked 1,000 members of the general public in each of 25 countries to respond to their online survey, but also at least 200 members of the “informed public” in each country — richer, older, college-educated and eager consumers of news and public policy.
So, who do they trust, what do they want and what does that mean for you and me? Continue Reading
Germany reminds me of a goody two-shoes teenager who’s respectful, gets good grades and seems to be oh-so-responsible, but then goes out binge-drinking with the bad boys the minute the adults’ backs are turned. It happened with the Maastricht Treaty and now it looks to be happening again.
To be fair, I suppose I should add France to this allegation but, well — it’s France. For historical, cultural and political reasons Germany is the one that carries the burden of our high expectations of moral rectitude.
The Financial Times reports that Paris and Berlin would like to water down the new Basel III rules that are designed to ensure that banks have enough loss-absorbing capital to weather losses. Continue Reading