"It is easy to confuse what is with what ought to be, especially when what is has worked out in your favor."
- Tyrion Lannister

"Lannister. Baratheon. Stark. Tyrell. They're all just spokes on a wheel. This one's on top, then that's ones on top and on and on it spins, crushing those on the ground. I'm not going to stop the wheel. I'm going to break the wheel."

- Daenerys Targaryen

"The Lord of Light wants his enemies burned. The Drowned God wants them drowned. Why are all the gods such vicious cunts? Where's the God of Tits and Wine?"

- Tyrion Lannister

"The common people pray for rain, healthy children, and a summer that never ends. It is no matter to them if the high lords play their game of thrones, so long as they are left in peace. They never are."

- Jorah Mormont

"These bad people are what I'm good at. Out talking them. Out thinking them."

- Tyrion Lannister

"What happened? I think fundamentals were trumped by mechanics and, to a lesser extent, by demographics."

- Michael Barone

"If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to."
- Dorothy Parker

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Alan Greenspan's Bad Memory by Dean Baker
It is more than a bit silly to compare the bursting of the stock bubble (not dot-com, the market in general was hugely over-valued) and the housing bubble to the 1987 crash. The market had gained a great deal of value in the year of 1987. After the crash in October it quickly began to make back lost ground and by the end of the year the market was at virtually the same level as the beginning of the year. No one thinks that the economy is affected in any significant way by short-terms movements in the market, so there was really nothing to clean up in this story.

The picture was very different following the 2001 crash which resulted in the elimination of roughly $10 trillion in stock bubble wealth, an amount approximately to the economy's GDP. The economy did not recovery quickly following this crash. While the recession was officially short and mild, ending in 2001, the economy did not begin to create jobs again until the fall of 2003, almost two years after the recession was over. It did not get back the jobs lost in the recession until January of 2005. At the time, this was the longest period without job growth since the Great Depression.

The Fed seemed to take notice of the weakness of the economy keeping the federal funds rate at just 1.0 percent until the summer of 2004. This can be seen as effectively the zero lower bound. No one thinks that there is any great stimulatory effect from dropping the rate from 1.0 percent to zero, which is why people routinely talked about the European Central Bank as being at its zero lower bound even when its overnight interest rate was 1.0 percent.

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