Monday, January 5, 2009

All the news that's fit to print

Good stuff from the NY Times this Sunday illustrating how fucked we are. KP friend Michael Lewis co-authors a two-part op-ed with David Einhorn, a hedge fund manager (not sure why it's two articles). Joe Nocera has a lengthy article for the magazine on Value-at-Risk (VaR) and its role in the financial crisis; KP friend Nassim Nicholas Taleb--the Black Swan guy--is prominently featured as both a VaR critic and an asshole. Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman says Obama's fiscal stimulus package must be big and quick to prevent "Great Depression II." Lastly, the Business section gives a good overview of the commercial real estate market's growing vacancy problem and its effect on the viability of both large national banks and smaller regional banks. Happy New Year!


Yo Gabba Gabba said...

Great links...future is not looking rosy.

GammaBoy said...

Paul Krugman is a jackass. His ideas are taken as gospel, especially since that ludicrous Nobel prize (the Nobel has been completely devalued by political picks over the last few years), but he is just a common Keynesian hack. His ideas for how to get out of the recession are completely backwards. If Obama goes through with this massive fiscal package, we will be in some form of recession or no-growth for a full decade. It might be disguised by a weaker dollar, but we will all be poorer.

GammaBoy said...

Incidentally, just to do some basic math, a trillion dollar deficit comes out to over $3K in new debt in one year for every man, woman, and child.

Want to stabilize the economy? Stop government spending. We will have a bad recession then we will eventually recover. This spending spree is going to extend the pain indefinitely.

Restless Native said...

I doubt we can count on a WWII-type event to gin up the economy. Call me a Keynesian hack, but I think the only way to put the breaks on the continued slide is to inject a fair amount of capital into the system and the only real entity that can do that quickly is the government.

It is going to happen regardless so let's hope that a couple things happen:

1) It is better implemented than the TARP. What a sham.
2) The money goes to things that make sense, like mass transit, making public buildings more energy efficient, schools and research and not to doing counter-productive things like building more highways.
3) It works.
4) It doesn't cause the bankruptcy of the Treasury.

VooDoo said...

There's a problem with Restless Native's #2. The intent of the infrastructure stimulus package (at least what I've read) is to focus on projects that are ready to go immediately (ie plans on the shelf) or would be ready to go within 6 months. While I agree with RN's point, most of those projects (ie mass transit) are not "plans on the shelf". To do something like a huge mass transit project will require large amounts of time to both 1) acquire the real estate, and 2) satisfy NEPA. You're talking 12-24 months minimum. That's just the reality of the processes.