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Friday, January 23, 2009

Great Recession Roundup — January 23, 2009

Items of Interest:

Paul Kane / Washington Post:
Stimulus Plan Meets More GOP Resistance
— Obama to Reiterate Appeal for Bipartisanship — Just days after taking office vowing to end the political era of “petty grievances,” President Obama ran into mounting GOP opposition yesterday to an economic stimulus plan that he had hoped would receive broad bipartisan support...

Is the Economic Multiplier on Government Spending close to zero?

Paul Krugman:
War and non-remembrance -- As I’ve already pointed out,the prospect of a Keynesian stimulus is having a weird effect on conservative economists, as first-rate economists keep making truly boneheaded arguments against the effort.

The latest entry: Robert Barro argues that the multiplier on government spending is low because real GDP during World War II rose by less than military spending.

Actually, I’ve already taken that one on. But just to say it again: there was a war on. Consumer goods were rationed; people were urged to restrain their spending to make resources available for the war effort...
Tyler Cowen / Marginal Revolution:
Dumping on Robert Barro --I fully admit that I don't trust the oft-cited evidence that tax cuts are 4x better stimulus than government spending boosts; I think the result is a mirage from underspecified models. Overall we simply don't know how well the proposed stimulus will work -- if at all (is aggregate demand always the relevant war?). It's a kind of Hail Mary pass

Nationalize U.S. Banks? And do all roads lead to Sweden?

Carter Dougherty / New York Times:
Sweden's Fix for Banks: Nationalize Them – The Swedes have a simple message to the Americans: Bite the bullet and nationalize.

Officials in Washington are trying to figure out how to shore up American banks that once ruled the financial world but now seem to weaken by the day, despite receiving hundreds of billions of dollars in government aid.

With Sweden’s banks effectively bankrupt in the early 1990s, a center-right government pulled off a rapid recovery that led to taxpayers making money in the long run.

Former government officials in Sweden, many of whom come from the market-oriented end of the political spectrum, say the only way to solve the crisis in the United States is for the government to be prepared to temporarily take full ownership of the banks...
Paul Krugman / New York Times:
Stuck in the Muddle: Economically, Obama Was Conventional - Like anyone who pays attention to business and financial news, I am in a state of high economic anxiety. Like everyone of good will, I hoped that President Obama’s Inaugural Address would offer some reassurance, that it would suggest that the new administration has this thing covered.
John Thain Called Out By The President -- We're not sure how John Thain is feeling about being called out by the President this morning. For some background, most readers are aware of yesterday's report from CNBC's Charlie Gasparino on how Mr. Thain spent $1.2 million to renovate his office at Merrill Lynch last year. This came during a time when the firm was already on the skids and laying off employees. It appears as though President Obama saw the story too, because in comments this morning, he basically said that it is unacceptable for companies receiving government aid to be renovating 'offices and bathrooms.' President Obama must be even more surprised with the fact that he paid the same designer eight times less for his work on the White House ($100K) than Thain paid him to do his office ($837K). Since when does the government get better deals than the private sector? ...
Wall Street Journal:
Frank Luntz / Los Angeles Times:
Infrastructure: It's Job 1 to Americans
Steve Benen / Washington Monthly: AMERICANS HEART INFRASTRUCTURE.... A couple of weeks ago …
Justin Gardner / Donklephant: 84% Approval For Infrastructure Spending?

Calculated Risk

MishTalk - Mike Shedlock

Paul Krugman - NY Times

The Big Picture - Barry Ritholtz

naked capitalism - Yves Smith

Pragmatic Capitalism

Washington's Blog

Safe Haven

Paper Economy

The Daily Reckoning - Australia