Are Index / Passive Funds the New Subprime CDOs?

(image via the Federal Reserve Economic Data) Someone on Quora asked if index/passive funds are the new subprime CDOs, perhaps implying that there could be an index fund asset bubble. My answer? Absolutely not. CDOs (collateralized debt obligation) are rather opaque, whereas index funds are much more transparent, particularly exchange-traded funds (ETFs). (image via MoneyControl)… Continue reading Are Index / Passive Funds the New Subprime CDOs?

Review of All the Devils Are Here

Image from 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

Whom to Blame for the Recession?

Now that the economy appears to be on the right track again, I'd like to revisit what I think was the cause of the 2001 recession. I run across too many people who take a partisan stance and blame it on Dubya or blame it on Clinton. Really, the President doesn't have as much power… Continue reading Whom to Blame for the Recession?