Your Thoughts Matter
It’s difficult to assess the net worth of the world’s super-rich. Havens like the Cayman Islands, Switzerland and Hong Kong are happy to stash their cash, offering privacy and a shelter (often perfectly legal) from taxes. And without knowing how rich the rich are, we can’t make an accurate assessment of income inequality.
Videos of white nationalists chanting “Jews will not replace us” surely startled anyone who thought anti-Semitism long dead in the America of 2017. But for others it simply confirmed that old prejudices die hard.
Let’s say your city needs cash to build a new school or sewer system. The budget lacks funds and the state government is only willing to pay a small share. What does your city do? Most likely, it issues a municipal bond.
As the U.S. financial crisis unfolded, President Bush and members of Congress authorized on Oct. 3, 2008, a rescue package called the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). Many policymakers believed that the U.S. economy was, in the words of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, on the verge of ‘‘a cataclysm that could have rivaled or surpassed the Great Depression.’’
In recent years, the issue of ballooning national debt has surfaced in a variety of countries around the world, and the United States, of course, is no exception.
Recent research has produced a variety of theories and insights that apply to this issue, and much academic scholarship looks to draw lessons from economic history. Here are some relevant studies and working papers.
International trade was one of the many victims of the 2009-2010 global financial crisis. World trade flows declined by up to 9% in 2009, a third more than the 6% drop in industrial output and three times the 2.5% decrease in per-capita income. Countries with smaller economies suffered even more, with some showing a 30% decrease in the second half of 2008.
America’s national debt swells more in an hour than most of us will earn in a lifetime. The numbers are frightening. And fear is easy to manipulate. Yet not everyone sees the debt as a national crisis. Some argue that the United States, because it prints the world’s favorite currency – the dollar – and enjoys a solid reputation among investors, is simply taking advantage of its unique position.
No matter the direction, up or down, when the Federal Reserve adjusts its headline interest rate, the global economy moves. Eight times a year, journalists, analysts and investors around the world carefully monitor the Fed’s arcane statements for hints of where the economy is heading.
What’s the Fed?
After the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers, two reasons are often cited for bailing out banks. First, it is assumed that bankruptcy greatly reduces the value of a firm’s assets. Second, such an action would have negative effects on the firm’s lenders that would ripple outward. If a company is sufficiently large, it’s seen as “too big to fail,” and thus must be bailed out.