Dean Baker

Recent Articles

What Percent of Stimulus Financed Wind Turbines Come From Overseas?

That is undoubtedly the question that many would have after reading a Post article on an effort to stop stimulus spending on wind energy because some of the turbines are built in China. The point of stimulus was of course to create jobs in the United States. If it turned out that spending in a particular area was not creating jobs in the United States, then it doesn't fit very well in a stimulus package (although it may still be useful spending).

The Bush Tax Cuts Did Not Lower the Budget Deficits

The Post tells us that reconciliation: "is a procedure created in 1974 to help lawmakers advance politically difficult budget legislation, particularly measures that reduce the deficit." It then tells us that it has been used 22 times. Two of these 22 uses were to pass President Bush's major tax cuts.

--Dean Baker

The NYT Mind Reading: Tells Readers That Financial Markets Don't Like the UK's Budget Deficit

The NYT told readers that:

"The pound fell to $1.4954 on Tuesday, its lowest level against the dollar in nearly 10 months. The yield on 10-year government bonds, known as gilts, slid as investors fretted that Parliament would be too fragmented after a crucial election in May to whip Britain’s messy finances back into shape."

That's pretty good that the NYT can read concern about this complex scenario into the market's 1-day movement. It is especially impressive since the yield on the 10-year bonds seemed to go the wrong way for this story. A lower bond yield usually means that investors are less concerned about the country's prospects and therefore require a lower risk premium.

Post Gets the Whitewash Out for Bernanke

After Alan Greenspan, Ben Bernanke is more responsible for the economic downturn than any other person in the country. He was a Fed governor from 2002 to 2005 and then chairman of President Bush's Council of Economic Advisors from the summer of 2005 until he took over as Federal Reserve Board chairman in January of 2006. During this whole time he insisted that there was no housing bubble and that everything in the housing market was just fine. He fully supported Alan Greenspan in allowing the bubble to grow to ever more dangerous levels.

More Repression Over Copyrights: When "Creative" People Lack Creativity

The NYT reviewed a new book by Jaron Lanier, who we are assured is a very creative person and one of the early pioneers of the web. According to the review, Mr. Lanier is very upset about people getting material at no cost over the web. His preferred solution is harsher punishments for copyright violation.

Of course, another possible direction would be to devise alternative mechanisms for financing creative work. But that would require creativity.

--Dean Baker