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    Donal's picture

    Why aren't we panicking at the pumps? Update: Or are we?


    In Peak Oil Elasticity, Tom Whipple wonders why $4.00 fuel hasn't made Americans cut back our driving all that much: 

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    William K. Wolfrum's picture

    Chrysler announces first profit since bailout - better than a bullet in the eye

    As America celebrates President Barack Obama's birth certificate as well as Osama bin Laden's new eye hole, one bit of news managed to get by that will likely have a bigger effect on the U.S. - Chrysler announced a profit:

    Chrysler has posted its first quarterly net profit since declaring bankruptcy almost two years ago, Reuters reports.  

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Your Neighbor's Paycheck Is Your Paycheck

    Here's the deal: how much money you get paid is based on how much other people get paid. This is a fact of life. Your paycheck is based on what other people get in other jobs like yours, and what other people in your area make, and what other people with your qualifications make. The price of those people's work sets the price of replacing you if you quit your job. If you make less than they make, it can only be so much less. If you make more than they make, it's only realistically going to be so much more.

    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Book Review: The Great Stagnation

    The Great Stagnation: How America Ate All The Low-Hanging Fruit of Modern History, Got Sick, and Will (Eventually) Feel Better by Tyler Cowen

    The Great Stagnation, a short yet ambitious e-book by economist Tyler Cowen, has been generating a lot of buzz lately. It has been recommended by Matthew Yglesias (ThinkProgress), Ezra Klein (Washington Post), Tim Harford (Financial Times), and Nick Schulz (Forbes), to name a few.

    I bought the book on the suggestion of EmmaZahn here at dagblog. I found it to be clear, original, and so engrossing that I missed my subway stop. But I did not ultimately find it persuasive.

    In the book, Cowen argues that America's spectacular growth of the past 200 years has been driven by the consumption of "low-hanging fruit" which we have now exhausted. In particular, he cites cheap land, advances in education, and technological innovation. He argues that since we can no longer rely on these drivers, our economy will stagnate for the foreseeable future.

    But you don't have to be an economist to see that the evidence Cowen relies on to bolster his low-hanging fruit theory has been derived from some aggressive cherry picking.

    William K. Wolfrum's picture

    Federal Judge Rules Capitalism Unconstitutional

    AMERICA – A Federal Court in Florida has struck down Capitalism, ruling that the requirement for individuals to live under any type of economic system is unconstitutional.

    Ramona's picture

    Foreclosure for Fun and Profit

    There is a lovely new residential-shopping complex in Myrtle Beach called "The Market Common".  We haven't been there yet this year, but last year we walked around it a few times.  In my wildest dreams I couldn't afford anything in their shops, but honestly?  I never saw anything I would be willing to give up my entire SS check to buy.  Still, I kind of took a liking to the place, faux as it was.

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Intellectual Property Blues: Beatles Edition

    So, the Beatles are finally available on iTunes, goo goo goo joob. And the news has been greeted with a resounding yawn; many people claim that the move is much, much too late to be hip, and too late to be hip, in the music business, means too late to make a sale. [UPDATE: Since the Beatles sold 2 million songs and 450,000 albums on iTunes this week, I was obviously completely wrong about this.

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Obama's Veto and Mortgage Fraud

    If you've been looking for a fight in the lame-duck session, we may be about to see one: this Wednesday, November 17th, the House is going to have a veto override vote on the so-called "Interstate Recognition of Notaries Act," H.R. 3808. (h/t John Cole) What is the Interstate Recognition of Notaries Act, you say?

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    There Is No Center

    Since the election, and in fact for some time before, pundits have been demanding that President Obama move to "the center." They don't have a lot of details, usually, about where that center is, and if they do suggest a detail it usually comes from one side of current debates, but they're all convinced that Obama needs to go there. But there's a reason that pundits can't describe this magical "center" better. It doesn't exist.

    Deadman's picture

    The Fed's ultimate hubris...

    So the powers that be on the Federal Reserve Board have decided to engage in round two of their little quantitative easing experiment, basically agreeing to purchase $600 billion in government debt over the next 8 months in order to keep interest rates artificially low and hopefully juice the economy in the process. 

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    The Mortgage Crisis in the Tranches

    I've posted about the housing and mortgage crisis, and the impending dangers, here and here, but there's one additional problem that I hadn't got my head around when I wrote those posts. That's the tranche problem, which is likely to lead to all kinds of perverse incentives and unforeseen difficulties.

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Realism About the Housing Mess

    Most public debates over the mortgage and housing mess have been running aground on the false-dilemma problem, framing the a problem with several possible solutions as a choice between only two options. At least one of the options in false dilemmas is always completely moonbat crazy, and frequently they both are. The false dilemma I've been hearing these days goes like this:

    "We either have to give mortgage lenders a free hand, and forget about the legal details, or just let borrowers keep their houses for free without paying anything!"

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Bailout II: The Sequel

    So, the story about bad mortgages, by which I mean not simply ill-conceived loans on houses that have hemorrhaged value but loan transfers with forged or non-existent paperwork, is beginning to make it into the daily news. We're going to hear much more about it, I'm afraid.

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Teaching Shakespeare and the New Normal

    My profession has a lot of annual rituals, some obvious and some not, and one of them happened the week before last: the annual job list went live (and, in another annual ritual, came precariously close to crashing for the first afternoon).

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