Information about finance, the economy and business. Entertaining and informative. Seeking Alpha Certified Mark Sunshine Chairman & CEO
  1. China Economic Growth Claims Lack Credibility

    On April 16th the China National Bureau of Sta­tis­tics (the “NBS”) announced with great fan­fare that the Chi­nese econ­omy was spe­cial because even in the face of an emerg­ing global depres­sion China was able to con­tinue to grow at a rapid pace in the first quar­ter of 2008. Accord­ing to Chi­nese offi­cials, the head­line Chi­nese […] [read full story]

    Posted in: Asia, China, Finance, GDP, Politics
  2. The Japanese Economic Lesson – Demographics Matter, A Lot

    The U.S. has been try­ing to learn from Japan but keeps on get­ting all of the lessons wrong. In the early 1990’s Japan’s econ­omy quickly tran­si­tioned from being an “eco­nomic mir­a­cle” to an eco­nomic “bas­ket case”. The con­ven­tional eco­nomic wis­dom is that the Japan­ese eco­nomic dis­as­ter was caused by a com­bi­na­tion of a burst­ing real […] [read full story]

    Posted in: Credit Crisis, Demographics, Economic Statistics, economy, Finance, Japan, Politics, Public Policy
  3. Afghan Follies by Tom Berner

    Between early 2004 and early 2005, I spent a year in Afghanistan as the Senior Legal Advi­sor in an exper­i­men­tal State Depart­ment unit called the Afghanistan Recon­struc­tion Group (abbre­vi­ated ARG). This posi­tion gave me con­sid­er­able author­ity to talk to whomever I wanted to talk to, in the Afghan gov­ern­ment (up to the level of Vice […] [read full story]

    Posted in: Afghanistan, Finance, Politics, Public Policy
  4. Supply-Side Economics Isn’t The Answer For Today’s Problems

    There is a time and a place for supply-side eco­nom­ics but this is nei­ther. Supply-side advo­cates seem to be fol­low­ing the eco­nomic “chicken soup the­ory”; tax cuts and less reg­u­la­tion are like chicken soup, talk­ing about chicken soup makes every­one feel bet­ter and if actu­ally pre­scribed prob­a­bly won’t make things worse either. But, the prob­lem […] [read full story]

    Posted in: Bush Administration, Business Environment, economy, Finance, Fiscal Policy, Politics, Public Policy, REGULATION
  5. Christmas Sales May Not Be A Wash Out This Year

    Believe it or not it is time to start to think about Christ­mas sales. This is the sea­son when retail­ers start to indi­cate amounts and prices for Christ­mas goods and early indi­ca­tors of retailer orders are rel­a­tively strong and seem to be gain­ing momen­tum. While Christ­mas is still nine months away, because of design, pro­duc­tion, […] [read full story]

    Posted in: economy, Finance, Public Policy, Retail Sales
  6. Regulatory Reform Shouldn’t Rely On The Fed

    I am still shak­ing my head in amaze­ment at Alan Greenspan’s edi­to­r­ial in last Wednesday’s Wall Street Jour­nal titled The Fed Didn’t Cause the Hous­ing Bub­ble.  In the arti­cle Greenspan explained why the hous­ing bub­ble wasn’t the Fed’s fault (and since he was Chair­man of the Fed, by impli­ca­tion it wasn’t his fault either).  While […] [read full story]

    Posted in: Alan Greenspan, BANKS, Bernanke, Credit Crisis, economy, Federal Reserve, Finance, monetary policy, Politics, Public Policy, Regulatory Reform, Timothy Geithner
  7. Will Monetary Policy Cause Rapid Inflation? Maybe Not Says An Economist At the St. Louis Fed.

    Con­ven­tional wis­dom sug­gests that a very aggres­sive mon­e­tary pol­icy will cause rapid infla­tion. How­ever, in this month’s Fed­eral Reserve Bank of St. Louis Review, William Gavin says that the con­ven­tional wis­dom maybe wrong and that infla­tion isn’t pre­des­tined or even a likely result of cur­rent mon­e­tary pol­icy. Gavin believes that if the econ­omy recov­ers before […] [read full story]

    Posted in: BANKS, Credit Crisis, Deflation, Depression, Economic Statistics, economy, Excess Reserves, Federal Reserve, Finance, Inflation, monetary policy, Public Policy
  8. Mark-To-Market Accounting – The Boogeyman Of The 1930s Is Back

    I won­der how many peo­ple real­ize that that FDR got rid of mark-to-market account­ing in 1938 after it vir­tu­ally destroyed the bank­ing sec­tor. Accord­ing to Brian Wes­bury and Robert Stein mark-to-market account­ing was the law of the land for most of the Great Depres­sion until it was out­lawed by FDR in 1938. Wes­bury and Stein […] [read full story]

    Posted in: BANKS, Credit Crisis, Depression, economy, FASB, FDR, Finance, Great Depression, Mark to market accounting, Public Policy
  9. Tangible Common Equity – How Much Is Enough?

    Sud­denly, every­one is inter­ested in the amount of tan­gi­ble com­mon equity (“TCE”) invested in banks. Oddly, no one seems to know how much TCE is enough despite TCE being the pri­mary and most impor­tant ele­ment in deter­min­ing the ade­quacy of bank cap­i­tal­iza­tion. Of course, his­tory pro­vides a guide to what is enough TCE and right […] [read full story]

    Posted in: BANKS, Credit Crisis, economy, Finance, Obama, Politics, Public Policy, REGULATION, Regulatory Reform, Timothy Geithner, Treasury