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 Post article repeated a few assertions, but it did not provide readers any basis to assess the key questions: how many jobs are being created here? what share of the wind turbines are constructed in the U.S? how large are the savings from buying them from abroad? Since these questions were not addressed, readers of the article would have little basis for assessing the debate over energy spending in the stimulus package. --Dean Baker

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. The biggest threat to the UK's economy is that it appears to have re-inflated its housing bubble. This is setting up the country for a further economic collapse at some point in the future when interest rates return to more normal levels. The NYT's market insiders were unable to see to the problems developing...

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. Therefore it is striking to see a front page Washington Post article tell readers that Bernanke has: "led efforts to make the Fed's bank oversight more effective and focused on broad risks to the economy that arise out of banks' decisions." This would like saying Bernie Madoff was working to ensure integrity in finance, without mentioning that he had pulled off the biggest financial scam in history. That is not exactly a complete picture. The article...

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

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