Ezra Klein

Ezra Klein is a staff reporter at The Washington Post. You can read his blogging here. His work has appeared in the LA Times, The Guardian, The Washington Monthly, The New Republic, Slate, and The Columbia Journalism Review. He's been a commentator on MSNBC, CNN, NPR, and more.

Recent Articles

NOT-AS-BAD JOBS NUMBERS.

I wouldn't call the new jobs numbers good economic news, per se. They're more like not-as-bad economic news. Recently, we've average 650,000 jobs losses a month. April saw a "mere" 539,000 lost jobs. And a lot of the jobs created were on the federal-side of the ledge. The private sector lost 611,000 jobs in April. So we lost a lot of jobs. But not as many jobs as we've been losing. Which is to say that the news is bad but the trend is good.

JOHN MAYNARD KEYNES ON THE PROBLEM WITH "SKILLED" INVESTORS.

I should probably make up some tenuous connection to the stress tests so it seems that I have some reason for quoting this bit of Keynes' General Theory , but really I just think it a brilliant point: [T]here is one feature in particular which deserves our attention. It might have been supposed that competition between expert professionals, possessing judgment and knowledge beyond that of the average private investor, would correct the vagaries of the ignorant individual left to himself. It happens, however, that the energies and skill of the professional investor and speculator are mainly occupied otherwise. For most of these persons are, in fact, largely concerned, not with making superior long-term forecasts of the probable yield of an investment over its whole life, but with foreseeing changes in the conventional basis of valuation a short time ahead of the general public. They are concerned, not with what an investment is really worth to a man who buys it “for keeps”, but with...

CNBC'S STRANGE RELATIONSHIP TO CREDIBILITY.

Maureen -- sorry, Mo -- Tkacik's feature-length takedown of CNBC is a really elegant entry into the genre. The lede, in particular, is gorgeous and cruel. Read it. But I'm a bit less convinced by her conclusion: Isolated moments of introspection don't really show that the network is "reevaluating what it thinks is good for the Dow ergo America." It simply suggests that CNBC cannot be literally so detached from the realities of recession that it loses viewers. As Mo persuasively argues earlier in the piece, the key to CNBC's success is their claim that the information they offer is rapidly "actionable." But for their information to be actionable, it must first be credible. Which is how you get a network that invites Nouriel Roubini and Nassim Taleb onto the show and then demands they offer investment advice. Their presence is anathema to the network's beliefs, but they add credibility. But what CNBC wants is for them to use their credibility to articulate a get-rick-quick scheme for...

DEAN BAKER IS NOT IMPRESSED WITH THE STRESS TESTS.

Here's why: Unemployment -- in their negative scenario, the stress tests assumed a year-round average unemployment rate of 8.9 percent for the 2009 and 10.3 percent for 2010. The economy is on track to have a much higher unemployment rate, as it is likely to hit 9.0 percent in April. My best guess for a year-round average would be 9.4 percent for 2009 and probably around 10.5 percent for 2010. (These numbers assume no second stimulus, but of course Congress will not sit back and just let the unemployment rate go through the roof.) House prices -- the negative scenario assumes that house prices, as measured by the Case-Shiller 10-City index fall 22.0 percent in 2009. Prices in this index have been falling at a 24 percent annual rate in recent months. Given the massive inventory of unsold homes, It is reasonable to expect that this rate of price decline could continue at least through 2009. What difference would harsher assumptions make? The projected loss rate on first mortgages...

TAB DUMP.

• In defense of fanboy movies. • Does bank capital even matter anymore? • The other Baby Boomer crisis. • What you should be looking at instead of the stress tests. • Doug Elmendorf's exciting regulatory proposals!

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