Dean Baker

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Economy Bottomed Out? No End in Sight
Many economic analysts have seized on several recent economic reports to claim that the economy has bottomed out and that the upturn is in sight. This analysis badly misreads the data.
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Monday, April 06, 2009
A Trillion Dollars for the Banks: How About a Second Opinion?
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner wants to have the government lend up to a trillion dollars to hedge funds, private equity, funds and the banks themselves to clear their books of toxic assets. The plan implies a substantial subsidy to the banks. It is likely to result in the disposal of these assets at far above market value, with the government picking up the losses. As much as we all want to help out the Wall Street bankers in their hour of need, taxpayers may reasonably ask whether this is the best use of our money.
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Friday, April 03, 2009
G20: Why support the IMF?
The G20 countries have come to agreement on a number of important steps to foster a recovery from the recession. However, since we always knew that they would come to "agreement", the substance of the deal is not entirely clear at this point.
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Thursday, March 26, 2009
Budget Deficits & Blow Up Dolls
In the movie Lars and the Real Girl, the main character imagines that a female blow-up doll is his fiancé. To humor Lars, his brother and sister-in-law go along with the charade. Over the course of the movie, more people are drawn into the circle, until eventually the whole town is treating Bianca the blow-up doll as one of its leading citizens.
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Monday, March 23, 2009
The Geithner Plan: Billions More for Failed Banks
Treasury secretary Timothy Geithner 's latest bank bailout plan is another Rube Goldberg contraption intended to funnel taxpayer dollars to bankrupt banks, without being overly transparent about the process.
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Friday, March 20, 2009
The AIG Saga: A Brief Primer
The awarding of $165 million in bonuses to AIG executives has dominated the news in the last week. There has been widespread outrage over the idea that taxpayers' dollars are being used to reward the people who effectively bankrupted AIG and cost the government more than $160 billion in bailout funds to meet the company's obligations. This primer addresses some of the issues raised by both the bonuses and the much larger sum going toward the AIG bailout.
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Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Getting Lehman Wrong a Second Time
There are few economists who would defend the decision to allow Lehman Brothers to go bankrupt last September. Its collapse induced a worldwide panic that sent stock markets plummeting and caused credit to freeze up. In the subsequent months, the downturn went into over-drive, with the United States losing almost three million jobs from October through February.
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Tuesday, March 10, 2009
If Private Insurers Compete with Government, They'll Lose
We all know that people have different ideologies about the proper role of government. Some people, who tend to be left of center, think that the government's role is to try to promote the general good, by providing basic services, protecting the poor and the sick, and ensuring a well-working economy.
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Monday, March 09, 2009
East Asia's Economic Revenge
In a matter of a few short weeks during the summer of 1997, the thriving countries of east Asia saw their economies overwhelmed by a financial tsunami. First Thailand and Indonesia, and then South Korea and Malaysia, saw investors panic and watched capital flee. Their currencies plummeted in value and their biggest companies wrestled with bankruptcy.
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Wednesday, March 04, 2009
Staving Off Another Great Depression
The Washington policy debates of the last week would almost make a casual observer believe that the nation's political leadership is in fact nostalgic for the good old days of the Great Depression when the country suffered double-digit unemployment for a decade.
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