Germany’s Risky Eurozone Bailout a Positive Step in Right Direction

The German government voted in favor of a European bailout fund designed to aid Greece tentatively set at $600 billion. That rivals in size the bailouts the United States passed at the urging of then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson in the fall of 2008 and again in February 2009, which prevented a complete implosion of the financial system whose consequences would have made the resulting recession and market plunge look inconsequential by comparison. 

Read More

Obama Embraces Warren Buffett’s Call for Higher Taxes on the Very Rich

At a press briefing at the White House Monday, President Obama formally announced a package revealed over the weekend to trim $3 trillion off the federal deficit over the next several years. Picking up on the theme of his recent jobs speech, Obama demanded that Congress move on the act immediately.

Read More

Obama’s Deficit Plan Falls Short

This is becoming like the War of the Roses. President Obama advanced the needle on deficit reduction and budget negotiations by providing a new set of proposals this morning for what the White House calculates will be $3 trillion in reduced spending over the next 10 years. That follows his congressional address last week calling for additional spending and tax breaks to boost economic activity, which in turn followed months of Washington stalemate on the debt ceiling.

Read More

The End of Wall Street's Big Payday

On Sept. 15, a 31-year-old UBS trader in London was arrested for fraudulently attempting to hide “rogue” trades that led to at least $2 billion in losses for the Swiss bank. How could a large financial institution, Swiss no less, let its risk controls slip so much that a person in a relatively junior position could lose so much of the bank’s capital?

Read More

Europe’s Economic Crisis: Could Default in Greece, Eurozone Sink Us?

As Americans fixate on the battle for the Republican presidential nominationand the continuing travails of the U.S. economy, the real story in financial land is what is happening in Europe. The issues aren’t new: concerns over the contagion of a default of Greek debt, or Irish or Portuguese or Italian, have been percolating for more than a year and a half. But there is a definite sense of late that these issues are potentially spinning out of control.

Read More

9/11 Anniversary: Al Qaeda’s Failure on Wall Street

The World Trade Center was never seen as an overly attractive piece of architecture, but as a symbol of American economic might, it was undeniably powerful. Never mind that it was built just as New York was imploding financially in the mid-1970s; it still stood as a set of dual icons representing the economic primacy not just of the United States, but of Wall Street and the entire financial industry.

Read More

Obama Jobs Speech: Nothing New, Is Incidental to Creating Jobs

President Obama’s speech to Congress hewed closely to the details that had already been leaked, save for the dollar amounts, which were considerably larger. Even so, the $450 billion price tag is somewhat misleading in that much of that is not new spending or new tax breaks but rather an extension of breaks and unemployment benefits that are already in place. Given that payroll tax cuts have not generated employment in the past two years, it’s is a stretch to see how they will suddenly do so now.

Read More

Is Unemployment Caused by a Skills Mismatch?

"Can America's Unemployed Fill American Jobs?" looked at the extent to which high unemployment is structural and how much is cyclical. Zachary Karabell of economic research and consulting firm River Twice thinks much of what we're seeing is structural. Mike Konczal of the Roosevelt Institute, on the other hand, argues unemployment is mostly cyclical, or tied to the economic cycle.

Read More

Jobs Report and Fixing the Crumbling Market

Another month, another sign that the job market remains unchangingly, distressingly stuck. The official unemployment rate according to just-released figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics is at 9.1%, but that fails to capture the weakness of the overall employment picture. The headline number has been essentially unchanged since April – and indeed there has been almost no net job creation for the past year.

Read More