Obama Economic Team: Exceeds Expectations
Five Economics Pieces Worth Reading: December 31, 2009

links for 2009-12-31

  • There are three ways to use the budget reconciliation process for further stimulus. The first is to include a reconciliation "directive" in the next budget. The second is to use the directive that was included in the 2010 budget for health care. And the third is to pass a new directive into the 2010 budget. Because I don't want your eyes to glaze over before you reach the conclusion, I'll put it up at the top: If Democrats want to do this, they can. They can do it on their timetable, and they only need 51 votes.
  • Unfortunately for politicians, the security measures that work are largely invisible. Such measures include enhancing the intelligence-gathering abilities of the secret services, hiring cultural experts and Arabic translators, building bridges with Islamic communities both nationally and internationally, funding police capabilities -- both investigative arms to prevent terrorist attacks, and emergency communications systems for after attacks occur -- and arresting terrorist plotters without media fanfare.
  • My post of what Lovable Liberal called “bullet porn” has attracted some curious readers to this blog.  One of them emailed me today, with a line I truly never expected to read within the academic cocoon. It read: “I’m not  ready to trust my TA with a rifle.” Now that’s a what I call a tough university.
  • I know that columnists rarely write their own titles but this Maureen Dowd column lives up to the awfulness of its headline. I suppose I just don’t see the nation actually freaking out as much as the political class is over the Nigerian bomber story, let alone the media.  The politicos and media are having a collective hissy fit, of course, but most people are worrying more about new TSA restrictions than they are about the attempted attack.
  • the Fed's commitment to undo its interventions is already having an effect. In expectation of more of these moves to come (as well as, perhaps, increases in interest rates) markets have been bidding up the dollar, which has busily appreciated during the month of December. That, in turn, will deprive the American economy of a potential source of demand—growth in consumption of American exports thanks to the effect of a weak dollar. More bluntly, we're seeing a move toward contractionary monetary policy at a time when unemployment is at 10%. Funny that.