Economy & Budget

DC mayor suggests sequester may have played a role in latest gun violence

Don't miss the story in The Hill in which Washington Mayor Vincent Gray suggests that cuts in the defense budget from the sequester may have contributed to the latest mass murder that shook the nation Monday.

It is too early to conclude, and I am not suggesting here, that Defense Department security spending was cut in a way that helped the killer gain access to the Navy Yard. Though I am charging this: The sequester has done significant harm to the American economy and should be repealed.


The Federal Reserve and economic folly

The chairman of the Federal Reserve Board is the most important economic job in America. With President Obama and Congress unable to agree on major economic policies, the leadership of the Fed is more economically important than the president, the secretary of the Treasury, the House, and the Senate.

To some degree I agree with the view of libertarians such as former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) that the Fed has become a de facto bailout agency for banks. I strongly disagree with Paul and others about this: The great economic folly is the failure of any policy to boldly create jobs, and the Fed needs to boldly act, but act in different ways than top-down monetary policy.

With Lawrence Summers no longer under consideration for the Fed job, Obama should nominate Janet Yellen to chair the Fed. Yellen is an internationally respected economist with a long track record of being proven right.


Jobless rate is a national scandal, and nobody in Washington cares

The new jobless numbers are out, and the core jobless rate is a punishing 7.3 percent. It would be much higher, except the number of Americans who became depressed and just dropped out of the labor force is now at its highest in 35 years.

The real jobless rate is almost double that. This is a scandal. Shame on President Obama. Shame on Republicans. Shame on Congress. And shame on the media.


Bitcoins, the Boston Bruins and the free state of Texas

Before you buy a bitcoin you should recognize that its logo is almost identical to that of the Boston Bruins. Was this intentional? Hard to say. I’d ask, but I can’t find them. 

As I understand it, the bitcoin is about “placelessness,” like the beginning of the computer days when people would not sign journals or letters with a place stated because they were from the computer astral zone — the world, the universe, like Andromeda, someplace in the sky, hovering. 

The Boston Bruins, however, understand what the circle divided into eight parts, which some bitcoins have as background for the B, means. They are smart. Their totem animal is the bear. An eight-sided divided circle — “Lost” devotees and Tibetan monks know this — is called a bagua. It is a diagram of the universe and comprehensive map of human consciousness. It is why some of the Bruins' very best hockey players, like Bobby Orr, can — like those kung fu monks — actually fly.


Ron Paul, Elizabeth Warren, John McCain can agree about Fabrice ('Fabulous Fab') Tourre

In my last column, I opposed the potential nomination of Lawrence Summers to be the next chairman of the Federal Reserve Board.

America does not need a Fed Chairman who embodies the revolving door between Washington and Wall Street. And now the jury has spoken on the matter of Fabrice Tourre, the very young multimillionaire from Goldman Sachs who called himself "Fabulous Fab" and has now been convicted of fraud.

Anybody notice the case of this junior Goldman Sachs employee involved the highest-ranking official charged by the SEC after the financial scandals, as the statute of limitations soon expires for his superiors?


The Cuckoo Caucus

There is a new group in town – that's ready to take the country over the cliff.

I am not talking about the Tea Party members of the House — the Michele Bachmanns, Steve Kings and Joe Wilsons, and 50 or so others who are members of the Tea Party Caucus. I am talking about the Senate, the greatest deliberative body.


Pope Francis condemns the cult of greed, Ted Cruz and Paul Ryan support it

In recent remarks that were stunning and profound, Pope Francis harshly criticized what he called "the cult of money" and condemned what he called the "dictatorship" of economies that are socially unjust and morally unfair.

These remarks, reported in The Daily Telegraph and highlighted on the Drudge Report (but not in major American media) suggest a papacy with the potential to transform the global economic and financial debate.

Most recent popes, including Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict, raised the same issues that Francis dramatized this week. What makes the Holy Father different today is that he views economic and social injustice as a defining, and possibly THE defining, theme of is papacy.


Obama’s Full Faith and Credit Act crock

Nothing makes my blood boil more rapidly than blatant dishonesty. So, imagine my reaction when I read the President Obama's statement promising to veto the version of the Full, Faith and Credit Act that passed 221-207 Thursday in the House of Representatives.


Cancel the sequester — now

As stories spread about airline passengers waiting extra hours because of furloughs imposed by the sequester, and as monthly job reports begin to show the jobs-destroying impact of the sequester increasing, it is time to cancel the sequester.