How I define Conservativism and Liberalism

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=we-L7w1K5Zo "Boo! Different political party!" You may have noticed how political debates in the U.S. these days tend to be two sides shouting and hurling insults at each other. Do you want to do something about it? Well, the first step is to be able to understand what you believe and why. If your only… Continue reading How I define Conservativism and Liberalism

The Causes of the Financial Crisis

As I see it, the main cause was systemic, namely the securitization of mortgages (e.g., CDOs). This means mortgages being repackaged by lenders and resold to other investors who wanted the income from the monthly payments. This was first done in 1970 by the Government National Mortgage Association (GNMA or Ginnie Mae), but securitization didn’t really start taking… Continue reading The Causes of the Financial Crisis

Why Did the Fed Lower Interest Rates If the U.S. Economy Is Doing Well?

There are three prevailing theories: 1) insurance 2) political pressure 3) market pressure. Regarding the first theory, Fed chair Jerome Powell may be trying to pull off what Greenspan did in 1995 and 1998. Powell has characterized both the rate cut in July and the most recent one in September as “insurance.” What he means… Continue reading Why Did the Fed Lower Interest Rates If the U.S. Economy Is Doing Well?

What Does It Mean When “The Monetary Authority Is Financing the Fiscal Authority”?

The fiscal authority is Congress (along with the president), which passes budgets regarding federal taxation and expenditures. In economics, these types of actions are called fiscal policy, which means Congress is the fiscal authority. Tax cuts and increased spending can stimulate an economy to fight unemployment, and the opposite actions can cool it down to… Continue reading What Does It Mean When “The Monetary Authority Is Financing the Fiscal Authority”?

What Do You Think Is the Best Way to Improve Corporate Behavior So as to Prevent Things Like the Opioid Crisis?

(image via The Democracy Labs) One idea is to reform corporate governance away from focusing narrowly on shareholder interests and instead take into account the interests of broader stakeholders. As defined here, stakeholders are “any third party that has some level of dependence upon the corporation” and can include employees, customers, suppliers, and the larger… Continue reading What Do You Think Is the Best Way to Improve Corporate Behavior So as to Prevent Things Like the Opioid Crisis?

Review of All the Devils Are Here

Image from goodreads.com I consider All the Devils Are Here to be the best book on the financial crisis I have read so far, edging out Nouriel Roubini's Crisis Economics and significantly better than Michael Lewis's excellent Big Short. Roubini excels more at explaining more of the economics in systemic big-picture terms and also laying… Continue reading Review of All the Devils Are Here

The Economics Behind the Individual Mandate

In regards to the big Supreme Court decision on Romneycare Obamacare, there's been much hand-wringing on how this is a tax on doing nothing. This does seem odd, until you realize that a penalty or tax on one group but not on a second group is economically identical to having no penalty or tax on the first group but a tax credit… Continue reading The Economics Behind the Individual Mandate

Electoral Reform, Part II: IRV, an Improvement

Updated on 9/28/21 to add image via Yes! Media and mention of ranked-choice voting. I had originally intended this to be part of a four-part series that also covered Approval Voting and the Condorcet Method, which was my favorite method at the time, but political science professor Matthew Shugart convinced me that ranked-choice was better.… Continue reading Electoral Reform, Part II: IRV, an Improvement

Electoral Reform, Part I: The Problem with Plurality

Image via FairVote. Originally posted at "fling93 loves fishies," my old blog. Migrated, updated links, and added featured image on 9/21/21. I’ve been carping about our two-party plurality electoral system for so long now that many of you are probably wondering what I would replace it with. This will take quite a bit of explaining… Continue reading Electoral Reform, Part I: The Problem with Plurality