Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Bond

Jon Stewart is Not an Economist

Today the treasury ruled out the magic coin, the denarius ex machina meant to save us from yet another debt ceiling fight. But before it did, Jon Stewart decided to give his opinion on the coin to his nationwide audience of over 2 million people, many of whom get their news from his show and from few other places. Unfortunately, Stewart decided to use his show to misinform the public. While many pundits and programmes disinform the American population on a daily basis, Stewart is often viewed as credible. What I am about to detail should remove that hard-won credibility.

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Rising Sun: Japan Leads the Way

Only a few weeks ago, Shinzo Abe, leader of Japan’s centre-right Liberal Democratic Party and a noted nationalist, became prime minister for the second time. Abe has a reputation for militarism and for a revisionist attitude toward Japan’s conduct during World War II. Yet, despite those shortcomings, I am here to praise Abe today, to provide one of those rare posts about something genuinely positive that is happening right now in the world in Japan. Abe has decided to do what so many countries in the west are afraid to do–he has decided to embark upon a policy of stimulus. I’d like to look at precisely what Abe has proposed, what it can be expected to do for Japan, and what sort of lessons it has the potential to teach the rest of us.

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Denarius Ex Machina

As the United States approaches yet another debt ceiling fight, an interesting idea has surfaced that might allow the whole mess to be circumnavigated altogether–the minting of a trillion dollar super coin. There are a few things to examine with regard to this proposal–why are we considering it, can it be done, what consequences would it have, and what are the possible alternatives?

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The Decision: Obama’s Difficult Position

Rumour has it the republicans have given Obama an offer to avert the fiscal cliff, the combination of deep, immediate spending cuts and tax increases that the CBO predicts would send the country into a new recession. The offer gives Obama something he cannot get without a deal–most notably, an extension of emergency unemployment benefits. The offer comes at a cost, however. In exchange, the republicans demand a small but painful cut in social security benefits.

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It’s a Trap!

In the rush to come up with a plan of spending cuts and tax hikes, both democrats and republicans have missed the essential detail that makes our current economic circumstances different from any we have previously experienced since World War II–it’s a trap. A liquidity trap, that is, and it’s going to make any spending cuts and tax hikes the US government enacts mean serious pain for millions of people.

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