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Earmarks Hurt Local Business

Politicians who bring home the bacon give their local economies heart disease. Via Mark Calabria on the Cato@Liberty blog, here’s some fascinating news about the effects of earmarks on the business climate in states receiving them. A study ($) produced by three Harvard economists finds that bringing earmarks into a state hurts its business environment, [...]

You Lost $1,000 on the TARP Deal

It was about a year ago that we were covering the big financial services bailout plan known as “TARP,” for Troubled Asset Relief Program. See the post “Your Family‚Äôs $1,000 Bailout Bet on the Stock Market,” for example. Here’s some news that shouldn’t surprise: The Inspector General for the TARP program calls it “unrealistic” to [...]

Your Member of Congress and AIG

TPMMuckracker published a nice summary of the collapse of AIG on Friday. If you’re interested in Congress’ role in creating the disaster, here’s a key line: “In 2000, Congress passed the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, which further reduced the already weak regulation of derivatives like credit default swaps.” Back in October, in a post called [...]

An Economic Recovery Plan – But What’s the Price Tag?

President-Elect Obama began to sketch his economic recovery plan in his weekly address yesterday. It’s long on spending but short on price tag. The items he features in the talk include energy, roads and bridges, schools, broadband, and electronic medical records. Of the items on the list, the energy idea seems to hold the most [...]

Presidential Candidates Who Didn’t Create the Financial Crisis

There were a lot of good reactions to yesterday’s post about candidates for federal office with responsibility for at least part of the financial crisis. We listed House members and Senators who either voted for, or didn’t object to, a law freeing up financial services firms to offer these wagers known as “financial derivatives” without [...]

Did Your Representative Cause the Financial Crisis?

In 2000, Congress passed a law barring states from regulating credit default swaps under their gambling and “bucket shop” laws. This set the stage for the market in “financial derivatives” that are a big part of what is causing the economic meltdown today. One hundred fifty-five of the Members of Congress who voted for this [...]

Senate to Vote on Bailout

Sources say the Senate will vote on a version of the financial services bailout legislation tonight (Wednesday).

The Bailout Vote

Yesterday, the House declined to go forward with the $700 billion financial services bailout put together by House and Senate leaders working with the Administration. The vote was 205 in favor and 228 opposed. This is not the end of the bailout idea. Though it appears to be widely unpopular among the American people, many [...]

Your Liability for the Bailout: $2,000 – Your Debt: $37,000

[Update: New bailout text is here. Spending under the new language is likely to be roughly the same. See discussion here.] The text of bailout legislation that might pass through Congress this coming week is circulating on the blogs (and reliable sources too . . .). I’ve taken it and done a little analysis, based [...]

$1 Trillion in Perspective

Reports have it that the U.S. federal government might spend $1 trillion bailing out financial services firms. That’s about $7,750 per U.S. family, or $2,500 per person. That’s a net present value calculation – the amount of money you would have to put in an interest bearing account today to cover all future expenses. Running [...]