Tag Archives: public policy

Time to Buy Treasuries?

An interesting take on U.S. treasuries as an investment.  (HT zerohedge).  Chris Pavese over at Zero Hedge provides a contrarian view to the common wisdom that the government printing presses will spawn massive inflation.  Chris argues that with our increasingly large debt burden, relatively small increases in yields will substantially increase the cost of servicing our massive debt which will off expansion and keep a lid on inflation.

Chris points out that recent asset bubbles have been burst by successively lower rises in interest rates.  Short treasuries is a crowded trade with everyone and their mother calling for massive inflation; that day may very well come, but in the near to mid-term, the risk of inflation may be grossly overstated.

Personally, I believe that with the dual impact  of the economic stimulus package rolling off in the second half of 2010 and the massive shadow inventory of foreclosed homes waiting to hit the market, we are on our way to the second leg down.


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Filed under business, Economics, Finance, foreign policy, public policy

Wealth and College Admissions

Today’s Boston Globe has an article about a subject I reported on earlier.  With the economy in tatters and the stock market plunging, college endowments have taken a serious hit at just the time when families are in need of greater financial assistance.  This is placing a great deal of pressure on even the wealthiest insitution’s financial aid budgets. 

While most colleges have publicly stated that financial aid continues to be held sacrosanct, the reality is that many schools are facing tough budgetary choices.  Middlebury College recently announced that even financial aid is on the table as it looks to make budget cuts. 

Full-pay students are going to look increasingly attractive to many schools struggling to balance the books.  With most schools being need aware at least at the margins, it will be easier for wealthy students to gain admission to the school of their choice, while high-need students will face one more obstacle to economic and social mobility.


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It’s an Especially Good Year to Be a Wealthy High School Senior

How the Credit Crisis Will Make it Easier for Rich Kids to Get Into Their College of Choice


You may have heard that a male student interested in the humanities has a better chance of being accepted to a prestigious liberal arts college than a comparably qualified female candidate. How about the tale of the gifted athlete with sub-par grades who gets a full-ride to “State” on a football scholarship; everyone tells that story. Have you heard the one about the rich kid from the Upper West Side who gets in because his family is wealthy? This isn’t the kid whose family’s name is plastered all over the football stadium, dining hall, and library; he’s just your everyday, average, wealthy student who doesn’t need financial aid. The sad reality is that all but a select few of this country’s institutions of higher education take a student’s ability to pay into consideration when making an admissions decision.The economic realities of college admissions run deeper and darker than most people know.

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Filed under Economics, Finance, Politics, Uncategorized

What is a Credit Default Swap and Why Should I Care?

Credit Default Swaps – A Primer

A credit default swap is a type of credit derivative. Credit derivatives “derive” their value from an underlying credit instrument; generally the bonds of sovereign nations or the bonds of a corporate entity. In recent years, credit derivatives have been created that are based obligations rather than entities; one common reference obligation are asset backed securities based on home equity loans.

A credit default swap is a contract that allows one to take or reduce credit exposure. The contract is between the two parties and does not directly involve the underlying reference entity. A credit default swap is essentially an insurance policy where one entity pays a premium to a second entity to take on the risk of a loss.

Let’s look at a fictitious example.

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Filed under business, Economics, election, Finance, Politics, public policy, Taxes

Obama and McCain – Where do they Stand on Immigration Reform?

You could be forgiven if you don’t know where the candidates stand on immigration. With the financial market meltdown in full swing and a full-blown media circus surrounding $150,000 shopping sprees and fair-weather fans, the press hasn’t had much time to talk about immigration. The Brookings Institution has published this fact sheet comparing the candidate’s plans that is worth reading.

So where do McCain and Obama stand on important features of immigration reform? As it turns out, despite what the ads would have you believe, not too far apart.

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Filed under election, Politics, Uncategorized

Answer to Yesterday’s Poll Question…

What was the top marginal federal tax rate for individuals in 1955?

And the correct answer to yesterday’s poll question is…

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