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Politics and Social Justice

Don’t Blame Bernanke

Let’s not expect central bankers to bail out the continuing economic mess. That’s not who they are, and cheap money can only do so much to levitate a deflated economy. This past week, Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank, said that he would not in fact do “whatever it takes,” as he had […]

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A Tale of Two Central Bankers

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has been desperately trying to levitate a sinking economy, by buying government and commercial bonds in whatever quantities it takes to keep interest rates at record lows. This policy has kept the Great Deflation from being even worse, but it hasn’t produced a robust recovery. The reason: Consumers are suffering […]

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The Fiscal Cliff and the Political Chasm

Question of the Day: How can the Fiscal Cliff be giving aid and comfort to the Bowles-Simpson crowd? The cliff would create a major economic contraction; so would Bowles-Simpson. The “fiscal cliff” is Beltway shorthand for a combo of automatic tax increases and budget cuts set to go off Jan. 2. The timing of the […]

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An Eminently Bad Idea

You may have noticed news items that a company called Mortgage Resolution Partners (MRP) is proposing to have strapped localities use the public power of eminent domain to deal with the problem of underwater mortgages. Officials of San Bernardino County, California, where one home in two is worth less than the value of the mortgage […]

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Waiting for Lefty

The economy is plainly stuck in second gear. For the third month in a row, new job creation in June, at just 80,000, was barely enough to keep the unemployment rate from rising, and not nearly sufficient to accommodate new entrants to the labor market and unemployed people looking for work. Not only did the […]

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Can Merkel Be Moved?

Berlin — Ever since the march to European union began in the late 1940s, French-German collaboration has been at the heart of the project. Until the recent defeat of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, his close alliance with German Chancellor Angela Merkel continued this tradition, albeit on behalf of policies that have driven Europe deeper into […]

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You’ve Come a Long Way, Ben

I heard a terrific speech last Friday by the Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke. In his address, to a Russell Sage-Century Foundation Conference on the causes and cure of the financial crisis, Chairman Bernanke said just about everything a progressive would want to hear. Read it for yourself and see if you agree. The financial […]

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The Volcker Rule: Return to Sender

Paul Volcker deserves better. In the hands of Tim Geithner’s Treasury, the Rule named for Volcker supposedly limiting speculative mischief by government-guaranteed banks is fast becoming a cumbersome parody of itself. Financial regulatory officials, at the behest of Wall Street, have turned a simple bright line into a convoluted monstrosity. The questionnaire alone, inviting comments, […]

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Saving the Middle Class

Last week, the New York City hotel workers union announced a stunning 7-year contract with the Big Apple’s hotel industry providing for wage increases averaging 27 percent. The contract is due to be ratified by the membership Monday. The City’s hotel trades council, whose master contract covers nearly every large hotel in Manhattan, already has […]

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Wild Cards, Economic and Political

President Obama is exceptionally lucky when it comes to the weaknesses of the Republican field and its stunning penchant for mutually assured destruction. Who would have expected, for instance, that Newt Gingrich’s billionaire-backed super-PAC, aiming to destroy front-runner Mitt Romney, would produce a documentary advertisement on private equity slightly to the left of what we […]

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