Sunday, December 26, 2010

Happy B-b-b-boxing Day

To Bob Cratchit said old Ebenezer:
"You may think me a mis'rable geezer,
But my cost-saving rule
In this season of Yule
Is to keep it as cold as a freezer."

Friday, December 24, 2010

Nobel Laureate's Empty Stocking

As for Christmas the senators flocked home,
Peter Diamond dejectedly walked home
To find naught 'neath the tree
For a Fed nominee
But the medal he picked up in Stockholm.

The US Senate adjourned for the holidays without taking a vote on the confirmation of MIT economist Peter Diamond, President Barack Obama's nominee for the board of the Federal Reserve.  Dr. Diamond, who shared this year's Nobel Prize in economics for his research of the labor market, will face a tougher confirmation fight in 2011, when the Senate returns with more newly elected Republicans.

Happy Holidays to Peter Diamond and all readers of Limericks Économiques!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Yuletide Game Theory

A stingier student of Nash
Thought, while tying a ribbon and sash,
"If I spend to excess,
For return she will press
And I'll keep all the kudos and cash."

Thanks to Marginal Revolution for this parsimonious stratagem, which is not endorsed by Limericks Économiques for home use. Likewise, the reader is not to infer an endorsement from John Nash, the Nobel Prize-winning pioneer of modern game theory and the subject of the film "A Beautiful Mind."

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Ernst & Young

Said Cuomo, enforcer of laws,
"The auditor's liable because
The public's reliant
On them that their client
Will tell it the way that it was."   

More than two years after the climax of the financial crisis, the first high-profile legal action is not a federal prosecution of one of the failed financial firms, but a fraud case by a state attorney general against an auditor.  New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo announced a civil suit against Ernst & Young, former auditor of Lehman Brothers.  The suit alleges that the auditor knew that its client disguised borrowing against assets as sales of those assets, but did nothing to stop the misleading of investors over a period of several years.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Week Before Christmas

'Twas the retailing week before Christmas,
And surprisingly up-trending business
Had retailers singing:
"May next year's cha-chinging
Be ever so cheery as this was."  

Reports from the UK show early holiday sales strong enough to give concern that the momentum can't last into the first quarter of 2011, perhaps robbing St. Patrick to pay St. Nicholas, as it were. 
Thanks to Alexandria Lefkovits for inspiration and assistance - Happy Christmas shopping to all, and to all a good buy!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

FCIC Blue, & Red

"The truth is unsparingly ugly:
That mortgage-backed bonds became bubbly,
Thanks to Wall Street's big guys
Who would securitize
The same mortgages triply or doubly."   

"The real estate market was screamin' out:
'We must cast the government demon out!
We'd have steadily grown
If they'd left us alone,
Except when they didn't bail Lehman out.'"

New York Times reporter Heidi Moore writes in DealBook that Democrats and Republicans on the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC) have drawn entirely different lessons from the financial crisis.  Like the characters in the classic Japanese film Rashomon, they witnessed the same crime but tell conflicting tales.  

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Monkey Business

A powerful spam-catching system
Thought the Goose was a spammer, and dissed 'im;
"A poet of spam
Is not what I am,"
Said he, "but of financial wisdom."  

Some of you receive these limericks daily via e-mail provided by the e-distributor MailChimp.  Having been very satisfied with MailChimp's excellent (and free) service, I was dismayed to find that they did not send out yesterday's verse and gave notice that they would no longer serve as e-mail provider to Limericks Économiques.  Their spam-filtering search engine had evidently found the limericks in violation of the MailChimp Terms of Use: to wit, "Exhibit (f): online trading, day trading tips, or stock market related content."

Well, well... playing the animal solidarity card between primates and waterfowl, I managed to escalate this problem to a "Freddie von Chimpenheimer III" in Compliance, to Blake in Client Services, who apologized and reinstated Dr. Goose and his verses.  All is well, with geese and chimps once again working hand in wing.  From here on out, nothing will stop the daily e-mail delivery of Limericks Économiques (except for the Unsubscribe button).

If you or a friend would like to subscribe, use the subscription box on the home page of

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Fed-Up Stock Market

Sinking rates was the Fed's one desire
In becoming a big T-note buyer;
Though for naught they did meddle
In bonds, they can settle
For driving stock indices higher.   

The Wall Street Journal's Ahead of the Tape columnist, Kelly Evans, notes that "QE2" (the second round of quantitative easing) failed in its goal of lowering long-term interest rates, but has been correlated with a 19% increase in the S&P 500 index since August.  Should we take stimulus any way we can get it?

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Stiffener for the Sagging Left

"Those who carp that I didn't act forcefully,"
Said the President, quite unremorsefully,
"May forget that the name
Of this Washington game
Is to tack against headwinds resourcefully."  

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Bond Vigilantes vs. the Tax Deal

Hitting federal finances adversely,
It caused T-bonds to tumble down tersely;
The effect on bond yield
Of this tax-cutting deal  

In relation to price, went inversely.

The tax rate compromises agreed upon between President Barack Obama and Congressional Republicans sparked a sell-off in the Treasury bond market.  Sellers, characterized as "bond vigilantes" for their willingness to call politicians to account, demanded higher yields for the perceived higher risk of a future US fiscal crisis.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Tax Revolt in the House

"Disappointment," said Congressman Weiner,
"Among Democrats couldn't be keener;
This tax compromise
Gives a plummier prize
To those for whom pastures are greener."    

President Barack Obama faced a potential revolt by the Democratic members of the House of Representatives, after his tax cut compromise with Congressional Republicans handed what many considered to be outsized rewards to the wealthy; in particular, the lowering of the estate tax rate to 35% was galling to members such as Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY).

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Hanukkah Miracle

Said Cantor, pleasantly stunned,
"A great miracle here has been done:
'Stead of tax-cutting fights
For eight days and nights,
They've fitfully folded in one."    

President Barack Obama reached agreement Monday with Republican leaders in Congress (including their House Whip, Eric Cantor) on a tax package that would extend the Bush-era income tax cuts for two years, reduce worker payroll taxes for one year and give more favorable treatment to business investments.  This angered some liberal groups, who had expected a showdown with Republicans over the issue of extending the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Senator from Vermont

Said Sanders: "I could have predicted
How the wealthy their way have inflicted,
Since the votes on the Right
They've locked up airtight,
And those on the Left are conflicted."   

In the debate over retaining tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, Vermont's Senator Bernie Sanders - a Socialist -  offers one of the few full-throated defenses of progressive taxation, a policy that once ago was centrist.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Now It Can Be Told

When the Credit Crunch sudd'nly impacted them,
The Fed from disaster extracted them;
Now the facts are disclosed
On those banks that imposed
On those programs with odd-sounding acronyms.   

The Federal Reserve Bank has published the details on those US and international banks and corporations that borrowed under such "lifeline" programs as 
Term Auction Facility (TAF), Term Securities Lending Facility (TSLF), and Primary Dealer Credit Facility (PDCF).

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The WikiLeaker

Wanted abroad and at home is he
And few have as much reason to roam as he;
Since Assange has the chance
To do to Finance
As he's done to Defense and Diplomacy.

WikiLeaks' Australian founder, Julian Assange, is hiding in an undisclosed location, as Interpol has a warrant for his arrest on a rape charge in Sweden, and the financial world speculates about a rumored Bank of America document cache. Does his status as an "enemy of the state" represent payback for the leaks of Iraq War documents and State Department cables... or the long arm of Charlotte NC?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

At the Irish Bailout Talks

Said Frau Merkel, "Now that we've shown 'em
All the euros we're willing to loan 'em,
Will all the E.U.
Come to do as we do,
Or 'e pluribus confusionem'?"

The European Union agreed on an $89 billion financial rescue package for Ireland, but the markets have not been calmed, fearing that questions of fiscal uniformity and further defaults in the Union have been left unanswered.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Crazy Like a Fox

Kim Jong-Il said: "I may seem unstable,
But, though poor, I am nonetheless able,
Through my loopy aggression,
To win more concessions
Before I'll return to the table."  

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Said Krugman, "As often discussed,  
Our economy's prostrate and trussed;  
Let's stuff it with pork  
And test with a fork  
When it's done to a succulent crust."   

On this most American of holidays, Dr. Goose gives thanks to that small but vocal band of Anglophones from around the world who appreciate the economy in verse.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The FBI Comes Calling

"Legal scholars have often debated it:
'When's the info too hot to have traded it?'
It's a thin, hazy line
That's hard to divine,
But it's here that I fear we've located it."    

The FBI has raided a trio of hedge funds, two of them run by alumni of Stephen A. Cohen's SAC Capital Advisors. The funds - Diamondback Capital Management LLC, Level Global Investors LP and Boston-based Loch Capital Management LLC - are known for their reliance on the expert research of analysts with deep industry knowledge, which the Bureau evidently perceives to have crossed the line into inside trading.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Luck of the Irish

Said Ireland's Prime Minister Cowen:
"How our fortunes have all turned aroun';
We looked to the Yanks
On our way up the ranks,
And to Germany on the way down."    

Ireland was forced to accept a joint bailout from the European Union (led by Germany) and the IMF, after losses by its banks threatened to bankrupt the state.  The Irish banking crisis followed years of extraordinary growth fueled by low corporate taxes and American-style easy credit.

Friday, November 19, 2010


"Stop the Federal Reserve's printing plate,"
Said Palin, "The one thing I hate!
Use the free market plan
That I formed when I ran
The most fed'rally subsidized state."    

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has begun a new career as an economic pundit, "refudiating" the Fed's quantitative easing as espoused by the prominent Princeton economists Alan Blinder and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke.  She even took aim at the Wall Street Journal's Real Time Economics - perhaps a bid for gravitas in anticipation of a 2012 presidential bid?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

From Obama to Omaha

The President's Medal of Freedom  
Goes to Buffett, whose riches precede 'im;
He's the one of his kind
Who does not seem to mind
Being taxed ("I've got bucks and don't need 'em.")   

US President Barack Obama has awarded this year's Presidential Medal of Freedom to fifteen honorees including longtime supporter Warren Buffett, who backs his bid to let the Bush tax cuts expire for the highest income Americans.  Other recipients include George H.W. Bush, the father of that eponymous tax cutter; and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Open Letter to Bernanke

A financially right-leaning lot
Told the Fed: "We would rather you not
Take this easing approach,
As inflation is
While deflation is much more
de droite."   

A group of prominent economists, pundits and investment managers, most of them - like Jim Grant, William Kristol and James Chanos - allied with the Republican Party, penned an open letter
 to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, urging him to put aside "QE2," the second round of quantitative easing. This group feels that the Fed cannot solve all of the economy's problems and risks a new round of inflation by trying to stimulate more credit. The group made no comment on the risk of deflation, about which they are evidently less concerned.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Analogies Écon V: Put a Ring On It

The economy, not unlike sex,
Full of forces untamed and complex,
Must, to bring forth no bastard,
By cov'nant be mastered,
That channels, constrains and protects.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Analogies Économiques IV: Pastries

"Bernanke's not using his noodle,"
Snapped Herr Schäuble, in protest quite futile;
"We don't need more air
In the chocolate eclair,
But more Äpfel inside of the Strudel."

Germany's finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble (SHOY-bleh) criticized Fed chairman Ben Bernanke (bur-NAN-key) as "ahnungslos" (clueless) following the announcement of the $600 bn second round of quantitative easing (QE2). QE2, designed to stimulate US credit creation through the Fed's buying Treasury notes, would also stimulate US exports by making them cheaper, thus cutting into the pre-eminent position of such export powers as China and... Germany.

Special thanks to US Navy veteran Charles Weatherwax and greetings to all of our veterans!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Analogies Économiques III: Swimwear

Said Sir David, "We've got to be real
On what balance sheets may not reveal;
Though it's true they disclose,
As a bathing suit shows,
What's vital they try to conceal."   

Sir David Tweedie, head of the International Accounting Standards Board, is leading the effort to converge international financial  reporting standards with US generally accepted accounting principles, making balance sheets equally, um, revealing the world over.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Analogies Économiques II: Economy = Balloon

It's distended when something constricts it,
Once inflated, will burst if one pricks it;
Whether flaccid or rounded,
When broke, it's confounded
The efforts of experts to fix it.  

Monday, November 8, 2010

Analogies Économiques I

Like the fields of the footballing fray,  
The economy functions okay  
When the rules form a framework
That makes the whole game work
By fostering sportsmanlike play.  

Friday, November 5, 2010

Shipping out on the QE2

Said Bernanke: "I wish I were abler
To stimulate use of our labor,
So I'll cheapen our bucks
And we'll export more trucks,
Which is sometimes called 'Beggar Thy Neighbor.'"   

The Fed's much-anticipated, $600B second round of quantitative easing (QE2) was announced this week, with the stated intention of increasing credit and stimulating  economic activity.  Many argue, as in this commentary in the Globe and Mail, that QE2 is really a means of cheapening the US dollar and enabling America to export its way out of the crisis, or rather to export the crisis itself.  However, others can play that game, too.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Post Mortem in the West Wing

"With the number of seats that we lost,
The conclusion can't really be glossed:
We bungled our chance on
A cov'rage expansion
Instead of reducing the cost."

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Morning After the Tea Party

Voters' anger, revolt and derision
Have effected a rightward revision;
With the government cleft,
The economy's left
Without much adult supervision.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Diamond's Tip

Peter Diamond, our new Nobel laureate,
Says: "The stimulus works, and I'm for it.
In times of contraction,
More federal action
To bolster demand can restore it."   

In an interview on NPR, MIT economist Peter Diamond affirmed that the first fiscal stimulus package had averted much wider job losses, and that another round of fiscal stimulus should follow, this one aimed at states to prevent layoffs of public employees.  Mr. Diamond was one of three recipients of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Economics, for his study of "friction" in the job markets (i.e., if there are many open positions and many jobless, why can't they just get together?).

Friday, October 29, 2010

Hallowe'en in the West Wing

When the ranks of advisors had thinned
Who, for rest or reward, did rescind,
One could hear, while alone,
The faint, mournful moan
Of the shifting political wind.

The departure of - and (heretofore) lack of replacements for - Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag (middle), Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel (2nd from right) and National Economic Council Director Larry Summers (back to camera) have left an eerie emptiness in the President's senior advisory group, on the Hallows' Eve before Election Day. 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Please Cry for Me, Argentina

Buenos Aires said tearful goodbyes
At Kirchner's  surprising demise,
Though some, less well bred,
Spoke ill of the dead,
In the form of new bull market highs.

The sudden death by heart attack of Argentina's ex-President Néstor Kirchner ignited a rally in Argentine stock and bond markets. Along with his now-widow, current President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, the deceased had mapped out a political dynasty marked by heavy state intervention in the economy. His passing during an election season improves the chances of the market-friendlier opposition against Mrs. Kirchner.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Overheard at the Retirement Fund

"The mortgage-backed bonds in our pension,
A source of regret and contention,
May yet be unwound
If they're legally found
To have flouted the 'true sale' convention."

Hopes are awakening in the hearts of institutional investors that sloppy and even fraudulent practices in the origination and sale of mortgages to bond trusts may give investors legal grounds to put them back to the originating banks and thereby recoup some losses.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

TIPS Under Zero

The Treas'ry's inflation-linked note
Is yielding a negative quote;
If deflation holds sway,
It's investors who pay,
Though the likelihood may be remote.

For the first time ever, the Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) were issued at a negative yield: -0.55%. Since the actual interest payments will include an inflation premium (currently expected to be 1.7% per annum over the five-year life of the notes), investors will likely receive a net interest rate of something like the current 5-year T-note yield of 1.18%. However, if inflation slows, investors earn less, and may even end up paying interest to the Treasury.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Modest Proposals for Middle Class Solvency

An effective solution would feature that -
Regardless of whichever street you're at -
You're able to use
Funded vouchers to choose
A school which you'll find a good teacher at.

As lenders may oft have no scruple
To give rates that may even quadruple,
Federal usury laws
Are needed because
They'll look for a state with a loophole.

The middle class finds it's bedeviled
By strains that have bankruptcies trebled,
But it ought to be clear
The political sphere
Can again make the playing field leveled.    

This is the final installment in a week-long series of limericks based on The Two-Income Trap by Elizabeth Warren, looking at the financial problems of, and proposals to help, the American middle class.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Warren Week IV: When Bankers Prey

"Our analysis shows," said the quant,
"That the credit card client we want
Is in desperate straits
At the maximum rates;
Not the one who can pay, but who

Fourth in a series of five limericks based on The Two-Income Trap, by Elizabeth Warren.

Note: In her book, Prof. Warren recounts a meeting she had with Citibank credit card executives, who wanted her advice on how to reduce bad debts.  She essentially recommended that they stop lending to families in obvious financial trouble; whereupon the most senior executive in the room replied: "We have no interest in cutting back our lending to these people - they are the ones who provide most of our profits."

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Warren Week III: Doubling Down

In practice, a dual income stream
Is riskier than it may seem,
Since the likelihood doubles
That personnel troubles
Deliver a loss for the team.   

The risk can be limited, blessedly,  
By budgeting not so aggressively;  
Put aside someone's pay  
For a rainier day,  
When you'll have to cut back of necessity.   

Day Three of our week-long tribute to America's struggling middle class, based on The Two-Income Trap by Elizabeth Warren.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Warren Week II: Learning the Hard Way

Though it's nice to have paychecks for pooling,
Dual incomes have really been fueling
Competitive bidding

For homes that are sitting
In districts with good public schooling.

This is the second of five limericks based on The Two-Income Trap by 
Elizabeth Warren.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Warren Week: I

Dr. Warren has laid out a map  
In her book called The Two-Income Trap,  
To explain how la vie works,  
When he works and she works,  
To widen the middle class gap.

This week Limericks Économiques looks at the strains on middle class America through the groundbreaking work of Elizabeth Warren.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Overheard at Bank "X"

"The legal procedures we went against
In the throes of our animal sentiments
Were finally exposed
When we tried to foreclose
On homes that we never had lent against."

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Overheard at a Mortgage Servicer

"Today, to the evident sorrow
Of the lot who can't pay what they borrow,
We'll discreetly foreclose
On a hundred châteaux,
And we'll do it again come tomorrow."

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Le Cri de Krugman

Dr. Krugman inveighed with ferocity:
"Without spending, the decade is lost," said he;
"With consumers defeated,
The Treasury's needed
To boost monetary velocity."

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

2010 Nobel Prize

A trio of really smart guys
Were bestowed a prestigious prize
For teaching the mobs
That the market for jobs
Has more friction than many surmise. 

The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2010 was awarded jointly to Peter A. Diamond, Dale T. Mortensen and Christopher A. Pissarides "for their analysis of markets with search frictions".  It might be added: " a complete upset of both the Nobel prediction market and Dr. Goose's personal pick."  But... congratulations... really.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Dr. Goose's Nobel Pick

Richard Thaler and Robert J. Shiller,
More empir'cal than Merton H. Miller,
Through the care that they gave your
Financial behavior,
Make footprints as great as Godziller.

The groundbreaking research by Thaler, of U. Chicago, and Shiller, of Yale, takes the study of finance beyond the purely rational approach embodied by 1990 Nobel Prize winner Merton Miller, into the more reality-based realm of "behavioral finance," thus having a greater impact on solving real-world problems.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Taxes: Lost in Translation

International comparison of tax and social security rates

Some studious counters of beans
Compared tax rates to national means;
They concluded that Yanks
Should certainly give thanks
To pay less than those poor Europeans.

But comparison solely on tax
Disguises some relevant facts,
Since to see an MD,
Which some countries get free,
Leaves Americans flat on our backs.  

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Stimulating Viewpoint

George Soros boldly avowed:
"Obama is needlessly cowed;
He should borrow more bread
To fund roads and higher ed,
Never mind the Republican crowd."

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Non-Stimulating Argument

A program of fiscal austerity 
Is historically really a rarity; 
Though it brings, some maintain, 
Fiscal gain without pain, 
They perhaps overlook its severity.  

Harvard economics professor Greg Mankiw's blog contains links to both sides of this debate.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Original Concept

The Social Security invention
Reflected a simple convention:
Each lady or gent
Who paid as they went
Would be funding one-ninth of a pension.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Totally Adequate Remedial Program

Politicians may argue and carp a lot  
Whether bailouts were fiscally sharp or not,  
But two years and a day  
With Depression at bay  
Should make us appreciate TARP a lot.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Tao of Mutual Fund Timing

In mutual funds, one could win
By reversing the yang and the yin;
To cast aside doubt
When investment flows out,
And to sell when investors want in.  

Brett Arends of The Wall Street Journal's ROI column has a fascinating study of the thesis that investors can optimize returns simply by observing the weekly flows in and out of mutual funds, and then doing the opposite.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Pooled Wisdom

The Harvardian Nobel Prize Pool
Lets you bet which economists rule;
So the ken of the crowd
Will predict the endowed
Of which think tank or graduate school.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Smukke Digte om Økonomi

Translated: "Beautiful poems on the economy."  So says Denmark's leading broadsheet, Politiken, regarding our humble contributions in verse to the cause of economic awareness.  Economics columnist Niels Lunde continues: "If you, dear reader, believe that economists are cold people with a penchant for spreadsheets, you are wrong. Economists are vulnerable and seeking souls who yearn for tranquility and fulfillment in arts and culture. Check the site Limerick Économique, where you can find beautiful poems about the economy."

Bank Failure Analysis

The credit crunch left deadly traces
On banks found in high and low places;
The research clearly shows,
As many suppose,
Loans on homes were to blame in most cases.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Her Special Assessment

Said Ms. Matz, of the NCUA,
"Credit unions are destined to stay;
When a few of them failed 
We stepped in and bailed,
And the healthy survivors must pay."   

Under Chairman Debbie Matz, the National Credit Union Administration has rescued three wholesale credit unions with a $30 billion bailout, the cost of which will be borne by the credit union industry through a "special assessment."

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Not Enough Firepower

Said Bernanke, "I wish there were eight of me
To confront unemployment creatively;
In our current position,
We lack ammunition
To ease into growth quantitatively."

"Economists React: Fed Prepares for 'Gnarly Ride'," by Phil Izzo of the Wall Street Journal's Real Time Economics, surveys a broad swath of economists' opinions as to the Fed's ability and willingness to stimulate GDP with quantitative easing (the purchase of Treasury bonds).

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

One Against the 13 Bankers

Said Johnson, "In my recollection,
Consumer Financial Protection
Was largely conceived,
And should run, I believe,
By Elizabeth Warren's direction."

Thanks to MIT economist Simon Johnson for his clear defense of The Right Appointment at the Right Time.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Deleveraging or Defaulting?

US consumer debts' lightening
Has been thought to result from belts' tightening,
But those falling exposures
Have tracked loan foreclosures,
Which leads to conclusions more frightening. 

Thanks to Mark Whitehouse of the Wall Street Journal's Real Time Economics for his timely analysis of an uncomfortable truth.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Yuanna Make Somethin' Of It?

Said Senator Dodd, "It's quite funny
How Beijing manipulates money;
The pace that it grew,
Though quickened by two,
Is too slow by a factor of twunny."

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Dr. Goose on the Air

Dr. Goose reading and discussing his limerick "The New American Dream," on public radio's The Takeaway with John Hockenberry and Celeste Headlee.

Bankers' Remuneration

Said a pundit, "Where's the validity
That the bankers are paid so unfittingly?
Does the world so demand
The result of their hand,
Or it's just their control of liquidity?"

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

From the Eerie Similarities Dept:

From public radio's "The Takeaway" with John Hockenberry and Celeste Headlee, here is novelist Jess Walter discussing his book “The Financial Lives of the Poets," a novel that centers on a journalist who gives up newspaper work to offer online financial advice in free verse. Hmmm...

The Utility of Wall Street

A pundit who pondered intently
That bankers abound evidently,
Found it hard to discern
What they all did to earn
The Beemer, the Benz or the Bentley.

Note to English speakers: click here for the Google translation of the Financial Times Deutschland column "Das Kapital."

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

More Stimulus, Please

Said Tim Geithner, voicing complaint
"A premature fiscal restraint, 
While seemingly prudent,
As a Keynsian student
Can testify, certainly ain't." 

Monday, September 13, 2010

III for Basel III

The Basel III Capital Directive,
A liquidity crisis corrective,
Gives eight years for compliance
To banks and their clients
'Til new rules are fully effective.  

The Directive has caused a commotion
'mongst the banks on both sides of the ocean;
In percentage it leavens
From four up to seven
The equity capital quotient.  

The minimum equity score,
Now seven percent 'stead of four,
Will, the bankers all fear,
Make interest rates dear
When comparing with rates heretofore.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Econ 101

A shift in demand quite suffices,
With a given supply, to raise prices;
This idea, though descriptive,
May not be prescriptive,
To guide one to virtues from vices.   

Thanks to James Kwak for provoking a passionate debate on the ethics and economics of scarce resources in his blog, The Baseline Scenario.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Mr. Hoenig's FOMC Dissent

"I've said at each meeting I've been to,
We should hike rates to one point and then two;
If recession resumes
Now there's no wiggle room
In this corner you've painted us into."

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Presidential Labor Day Address

"Jobs and growth I propose to instill
With a new infrastructural bill,
So that those who've not found work
Can lay all the groundwork
For Democrats' ride to the Hill."

Monday, September 6, 2010

Harvard, Econ 10, Opening Day

To his freshmen said Gregory Mankiw,
"For your curious minds I should thankiw,
But take care when you speak
Not to give any cheek,
And never forget I outrankiw."

Friday, September 3, 2010


Stanford Business School Dean Garth Saloner
Says "we don't lack for bucks, quid or kroner;
We transform for the better
Today's student debtor
To tomorrow's munificent donor."   

Congratulations to Stanford GSB Dean Garth Saloner on the start of his second successful year of leadership.

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