Radio commentary, March 12, 2009

More of the same, more or less. The economy continues to stink, and not just in the U.S. German industrial production is in a freefall. In fact, the European economy looks to be declining faster than ours. Yet most European governments are showing little interest in bigger stimulus programs, despite U.S. pressure to step up.  U.S. imperial power We’ll see how long that resistance continues. Chrystia Freeland had an interesting piece (“Salvation, like the sin, will emerge from the US”) in the Financial Times on Thursday arguing that even though this economic… Read More

Obama coddling bankers indeed

It was predicted in this space just two weeks ago: “Obama to coddle bankers.” Now we’ve got official confirmation of this from one of the prime coddle-ees: Citigroup. An analysis of the Treasury’s plan produced by two Citi analysts, Ryan O’Connell and Jerry Dorost, begins with this headline: New Treasury Stress Test Guidelines Do Not Appear Onerous and continues in this vein. The plan is “bank-friendly and investor-friendly.” The goal is to increase bank capital “while minimizing the amount and duration of any government’s direct ownership of common stock.” The stress tests aren’t very stresssful,… Read More

Radio commentary, February 12, 2009

Quite a spectacle in Congress on Wednesday, wasn’t it? Watching the assembled CEOs of our biggest banks testifying really put all our pathologies on display. On one side of the table, the bankers looked like dim and evasive hacks—it was easy to see how they drove their vehicles into the ditch. But on the other side of the table, many of the Congresspeople looked like preening and devious hacks. Where were they while the bankers were driving the vehicles into the ditch? And what really do they presume to do about all… Read More

Radio commentary, January 10, 2009

The Prop 8 vote: not a black thing. Divining the economic future from the record of past banking crises: it’s ugly. Why is Obama conceding on tax cuts? December employment: a horror.