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?).

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