Bernanke the steamroller

Comment on today’s Federal Reserve policy decision today, which among other things, included the extremely unusual statement that they’re likely to leave interest rates close to 0 through mid-2013, from Ricardo Perli of ISI, a very mainstream Wall Street research operation: For the first time in a long time, there were three dissents – Fisher (Dallas), Kocherlakota (Minneapolis), and Plosser (Philadelphia).  Up to now, FOMC chairmen strived to avoid more than two dissents.  The fact that this long-standing practice was disregarded means that Bernanke is becoming more determined to push through what in… Read More

The Real News, part 2

Part 2 of my interview with The Real News on The Crisis is up: THE LIMITS OF STIMULUS.

Radio commentary, December 17, 2009

Happy Beethoven’s baptism day. Fed begins to withdraw some indulgence On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve held one of its regular policy-setting meetings, which happen every six weeks or so, and decided to do nothing, for now. That is, it left the interest rate under its direct control, the so-called federal funds rate, the interest rate that bank charge each other for overnight loans, unchanged at 0. Ok, it’s averaged 0.12% for the last few weeks, which is pretty close to 0. It also said in the statement accompanying the decision that it… Read More

Radio commentary, November 14, 2009

[November 12 was the first new show I did on WBAI since the fundraising began in mid-October. Most of the opening commentary was a reprise of the previous week’s analysis of the October employment report, which the New York audience didn’t hear, though the California audience did. The following are the only fresh bits in this week’s punditry.] Now, the usual words on the economic news. In general, we continue to see signs of stabilization, but no serious signs of a turnaround. I suppose that coming after such a deep recession, a… Read More

Radio commentary, March 26, 2009

Housing market stabilizing? In the economic news, more signs of the stabilization I’ve been talking about for the last few weeks, especially in the housing market, following last week’s pickup in housing starts (the term of art for when builders begin constructing new houses). Sales of existing houses, which are the lion’s share of the market, rose by 5% in February, the strongest monthly gain in almost six years. The rate of decline in prices also slowed. But the way that’s phrased is a reminder that the market remains very depressed. Prices… Read More