Yakking in Geneva…

…New York, not Switzerland. Not at all a disappointment, since Geneva, Switzerland, is one of the dullest major places I’ve ever been, and Geneva, New York, features the excellent Jodi Dean, who invited Liza Featherstone and me to speak at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Jodi’s announcement: Liza Featherstone and Doug Henwood on March 26 at 7:00 in Albright Auditorium, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Geneva, NY Liza Featherstone, “Occupy Schools: Education for the 99%” A contributing writer for The Nation, Liza Featherstone is the author of Selling Women Short: The Landmark Battle for Workers’… Read More

Weirdness from EPI

Has the Economic Policy Institute been hacked, or are they undergoing a curious transformation?s just appeared on their email list: 8/4 Moving Devotion: God wants you to stop at the beginning of each day and say, “Lord, what do you want to do through me today? What are you doing in the lives of the people around me and how do you want to do it through me? I am stepping out of the way in inviting your Spirit to lead my life today. If you received this from a friend and… Read More

Face-ripping for fun & profit

[Reading Greg Smith’s open resignation letter to Goldman Sachs in today’s New York Times, which described a systematic fleecing of clients as the institutional norm, reminded me of Frank Partnoy’s 1997 book F.I.A.S.C.O. Here’s my review, from LBO #80. If you like it, subscribe today and make sure it keeps coming.] F.I.A.S.C.O., by Frank Partnoy (New York: W W Norton, 252 pp., $25). It might be best to start a consideration of this revealing book from one of its final pages, where Frank Partnoy explains why he decided to end his brief career as a derivatives salesman at our… Read More

Fresh audio product

Just added to my radio archives: March 10, 2012 Vijay Prashad on Syria, Libya, and why not to give up hope on the Arab Spring • Sean Jacobs on that Kony nonsense, African reality, and imperial designs

Credit union switch fizzles

Last fall, there was a lot of buzz about moving money out of banks and into credit unions. Grand claims were made about results. I had my doubts—politically (see here) and financially (see here). One can disagree with me on the politics, but it turns out that not much money was moved. The Federal Reserve is out with its flow of funds accounts for the fourth quarter. These are a detailed accounting of assets, liabilities, and money flows throughout the U.S. financial system. And before anyone says that the Fed is lying to defend its… Read More

The February job market: not bad by recent standards

And now for the major economic news of the week, the U.S. employment report for February. It was another solid affair—the third month in a row of over 200,000 job gains, with plenty of supporting details. I do have some worries about the quality of these new jobs, not to mention their durability, but for now things are looking better than they did even a few months ago. The headline gain of 227,000 came with upward revisions of 61,000 to the back months (41,000 to January and 20,000 to February). Gains were widespread through… Read More

New data on student debt from the NY Fed

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York is out with some new data on student debt (“Grading Student Loans”). Two major highlights: beware of using simple averages, and, more strikingly, more than one in four borrowers is behind on payments—more than twice the share of other forms of personal debt. First, the debt levels. Total student debt is about $870 billion—more than credit card balances ($693 billion) and auto loans ($730 billion). That’s an enormous number, but economists have paid it little attention—surprising, considering the attention paid to household finances. And student… Read More

Fresh audio content

Just posted to my radio archives: March 3, 2012 Trudy Lieberman on health care reform so far • Yanis Varoufakis on the Greek debt deal and economic collapse

Morning again in America?

So it looks like Obama plans to sing from the Reagan songbook for his campaign—specifically from the “Morning in America” pages. In case you were too young the first time around, or now are too old to remember, the original went something like this: The logic is this: Reagan got re-elected during the recovery after a deep recession, so Obama can do the same. Also, Reagan whipped Grenada’s ass and Obama killed Osama. Foreign victories don’t count for much in election campaigns but economic conditions count a lot. So how bright is… Read More