The Dysfunction and Corruption of Our Healthcare System, Its Damage to the National Economy and other Basic Healthcare Matters (Guest Post) Describing a system that is destroying global competitiveness of American business, that violates fundamental insurance risk principles, and that has inherent conflicts of interest preventing quality national health care delivery and cost efficiency; and proposing a solution.
How mortgage backed securities increased systemic risk The securitization of mortgages and other debt obligations gives senior tranche holders less risk of individual defaults, but increases the risk to a general economic downturn. The increase in systemic risk was not generally appreciated but is demonstrated by Coval, Jurek, and Stafford in The Economics of Structured Finance. The paper contains exceptionally lucid descriptions of how structured finance works and uses simple examples to demonstrate the sources and magnitudes of systemic risks. This post is my summary of the paper.
Obama's Legacy—If Any Just before Obama's second inauguration, I examined pundits' lists of first term accomplishments and concluded, "If Obama is going to be remembered as other than a seat-filler, it's going to have to be for something he does in his second term."
The other American Dream of rising incomes—Horatio Alger stories One of my earliest and longest inquiries into upward socioeconomic mobility in America. The rate of upward mobility has been declining since 1980, and Horatio Alger stories are now more likely to occur in Denmark, Norway, Finland, Canada, Australia, and other advanced nations than in the US.
We don't need a stimulus package—just more tax cuts for the well off—say 36 Republican Senators. When the fate of the stimulus bill was on the line in February 2009, 36 Republican Senators and nobody else voted for an amendment to strike out the entire contents and substitute nothing but permanent tax reductions benefitting high income individuals and corporations.
The American Dream died in February 1973. With graphs showing stagnation of inflation-adjusted middle class incomes since the 1970s after strong and steady post-WWII growth.
Will we bring back manufacturing or outsource innovation too? Business leaders and economists agree that innovation needs to be collocated with manufacturing and that good American R&D jobs and most of the benefits of innovation are increasingly moving to Asia. I updated this post with supporting material many times, mostly in early 2010.
US health care efficiency did not go off the rails until about 30 years ago. Updates to this post show that the rate of increase in US life expectancy at birth, especially for females, abruptly slowed in 1982 and that this was apparently unrelated to healthcare spending which continued rising at a very steady rate.
The Citigroup Plutonomy Memos With key quotations from documents that are being disappeared. This post has been the #1 response to a Google search for "plutonomy memo."
In reporting about a rigorous statistical analysis showing different rates of intergenerational income mobility, NYT leads with stuff they just made up. The article bungles the reporting of a significant new study by saying that commuting difficulties were found to cause reduced intergenerational income mobility. The study does not say anything like that, as the author (David Leonhardt) clarifies in a blog post pointing out a striking similarity between the map of immobility and the map of race. The Executive Summary of the study is quoted in my post.