Wednesday, March 10, 2010

a rare political post

Seth Ackerman rightly underwhelmed at Ezra Klein's sense of history:
The Democrats shot their historical wad on health care by re-introducing Bob Dole’s bill from 1994 and justifying it as a free-market solution. How is that a “huge progressive victory”?

Taibbi on the continued reign of credit default swaps: "Jesus..."

James K. Galbraith: In Defense of Deficits

Richard Parker: Athens, The First Domino?
Moreover, unlike Wall Street bankers, Papandreou isn't asking for a bailout (let alone a bonus for himself or senior ministers); what he wants is help stabilizing the market for Greece's bonds. And unlike Wall Street in the fall of 2008, Athens isn't being frozen out of the credit markets; in fact, it is still able to borrow....

But Wall Street speculators have swarmed in, playing Greece, as the Financial Times put it, "like a piñata." The country's tiny bond market–barely a billion euros a day were trading in Athens in January–makes an easy and tempting target for traders with big bats; by attacking Greek bonds, the traders get to play on an increasingly pan-European volatility in bond and currency rates, thereby leveraging a little nation's problems into gigantic trading-floor gains. And thanks to the Obama administration's repeated refusal to limit such activities–despite pleas from our European allies since 2008 to jointly regulate global financial markets–what the traders are doing is legal. In fact, massive immediate trading profits are the means by which banks like Goldman, Citi, JPMorgan, Barclays, UBS and Deutsche Bank are rebuilding their balance sheets without providing the lending the real economies of America and Europe need to begin their recovery....

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