One other point worth making on the marriage debate. In general, this conversation is conducted at a fairly elite level. When we talk about young couples choosing between furthering their education and careers and getting married and having children, we're generally talking about the minority of Americans who go to college or even travel beyond. But the tension between career and children is similarly sharp for lower-income folks. And it's often not a choice.
To say a bit more on Mark Regnerus's brief for young marriage, these arguments have a tendency to sound like a debate Ward Cleaver thinks he's having with Paris Hilton. That's not as dismissive as it may sound: Cleaver and Hilton both have points. But they're not terribly useful points.
The New York Times has a front-pager on Tim Geithner's schedule back when he was heading the New York Federal Reserve. What we learn is that Geithner spent a lot of time hanging out with bank presidents. He was even a candidate to helm Citibank (Geithner apparently had no interest in the job). As always, it's a bit hard to know what to think of all this. It raises the specter of capture, but on the other hand, Nouriel Roubini is a fan of Geithner's more recent announcements, and so it's not obvious that less compromised candidates would actually be doing anything different. I have trouble imagining that Rahm Emmanuel is ready to nationalize the banks.
If you look at the health care policies favored by liberals and the health care policies favored by conservatives, here's the general difference: Conservatives believe the decision-maker in health care is the consumer. Liberals believe it's the doctor. And so conservative policies try to change consumer behavior. Liberal policies try to change doctor behavior.
Matt is right to say that a lot of what passed for "financial innovation" was in fact innovative efforts at regulatory arbitrage. One of the pieces of the crisis that I hadn't understood until recently, for instance, was the role that Basel II banking regulations played in the growth of the structured securities market. In essence, Basel II, which went into effect a couple years ago, held that a bank only had to keep half as much capital on hand for AAA-rated securities as for other types of assets. That created a huge incentive for banks to get more things rated AAA, as it meant that they didn't need to have as much money sitting around.
Last week, I headed out to Missoula to give a talk on behest of Matt Singer's Forward Montana. Perks to giving talks in Missoula: 1) They happen in bars. 2) Wearing jeans makes you seem dressed up. There's literally a pitcher of scotch ale on the chair next to me in case I get thirsty during the talk. Take note, DC: This makes panel discussions more interesting.
For the most part we’re just trying to be interesting to people. I think we differ from a lot of blogs. We very rarely just say, okay, here is this that’s going on and here’s what Ezra Klein said and Ezra’s great, so you should read…. Instead, we actually - everything we do we try to actually have some original kind of substance there. We don’t just do a lot of linking around. In some ways, it’s not a very bloggy kind of blog.
This post lacks a nifty news peg, but I've been thinking a lot about Joshua Coval, Jakub Kurek, and Erik Stafford's paper "The Economics of Structure Finance." In particular, people talk about the "systemic risk" of big firms and massive banks. The banks, in other words, that are too big to fail, and whose very existence thus poses a threat to the system. That's where you get the talk about capping bank size. But the argument of the paper is that the turn from bonds and loans to structured finance was itself a contributor to systemic risk.
Not to cop to a Sunday night spent catching up on DVR'd sitcoms, but Scrubs featured a pretty brilliant acoustic cover of Outkasts "Hey Ya," which is, in turn, ripped from this even more brilliant "Hey Ya" cover by Mat Wettle of Obadiah Parker.
Mark Regnerus's op-ed on the virtues of marrying young makes some interesting arguments that I'm loathe to offer half-baked commentary on. I prefer easy topics, like the financial crisis. I would, however, like to offer my congratulations to the environmental movement: We have literally reached a place where even articles on the optimal age for matrimony include an analysis of carbon emissions:
In response to the Great Amendment Hunt of Ought-Nine, commenter Badger asked, "These are pretty silly, but isn't the House going to make mincemeat out of these things once it goes to conference/reconciliation/de-crazifying committee?"