Blogs

The Fearsome Fed: Like Jason, the Federal Reserve is an unholy terror with an affinity for Friday the 13th

Originally Published In:

Fairfield County Weekly (3/5/09) Link, Hartford Advocate (3/5/09) Link, New Haven Advocate (3/5/09) Link

2009 will be the first calendar year in a long time to include three Friday the 13ths. We had our first in February, we're due for a second next week, and the third will come in November.

The last time this happened? 1998.

People speak of the recent financial turmoil as "much worse than 1998." That year brought a default on domestic debt by a large sovereign nation (Russia), leading to massive losses for a hedge fund, Long Term Capital Management. LTCM was eventually bailed out by a consortium of banks in a meeting hosted by the Federal Reserve.

Sixpence None the Wiser

Originally Published In:

Fairfield County Weekly (2/19/2009) Link

What is life going to be like when we stop using dollars? Will we revert to bartering? Will we adopt euros or yen? Will we hoard gold? Or will we just roll wheelbarrows full of American currency to exchange for something more valuable — like toilet paper?

Kneel Before Lincoln: The religion of government is rewriting history, hijacking beliefs and collecting a huge tithe

Originally Published In:

Fairfield County Weekly (2/5/09) Link

High Priest PresidentThis past Monday, Feb. 2, was an important day for the Northern Hemisphere. It wasn't quite the beginning of spring, but it was a time of change. It was the cross-quarter day, the halfway point between winter solstice and spring equinox. You might have felt it as a slightly lower case of the Monday blues. You might have found yourself whistling a tune. You might have had an extra little spring in your step.

Flop Culture: How Music, Skirts, and the Weather Move Markets

Originally Published In:

The New York Post (2/1/2009) Link

A few years before the Great Depression, an economics graduate student named George W. Taylor noted that skirts and the economy tended to be hiked up and let down at the same time. His theory proved prescient within a decade, as both the market and hemlines plunged to the ground.

Since then, new theories linking financial conditions and popular culture have emerged, with everything from the weather to popular music eyed as economic indicators.

Prosperity Like Sunshine: What a decades-old Russian children's song can teach us about the bailout mentality

Originally Published In:

Fairfield County Weekly (1/22/09) Link

A four-year-old Russian boy composed four lines in 1928 that have become so permanently popular, your grandchildren will sing them decades from now. "May there always be sunshine," the translated lyrics begin.

Sperm Central Bank

Originally Published In:

Fairfield County Weekly (1/08/2009) Link

Anyone trying to understand the financial crisis eventually needs to understand central banking, and that route yields such complicated phrases as "money supply," "systemic risk" and "credit crunch." There is a way to understand central banking that immediately exposes its central themes and sheds light on its many myths, but you have to imagine a world where you no longer choose who you sleep with.

A Penny for Your Soul

Originally Published In:

Fairfield County Weekly (12/18/08) Link

The original change we can believe in: The first U.S. penny

Should President-elect Barack Obama bail out the banks? What about the car companies? Should he institute new regulatory bodies to oversee key industries and prevent future bankruptcies? Should he stimulate the economy by increasing spending or cutting taxes?

Bounty of Freedom

Originally Published In:

Fairfield County Weekly (12/4/2008) Link

Imagine the frustration of the first Yankees, struggling mightily to convince their Puritanical brethren that private property — not communal wealth-sharing — brings prosperity, freedom and enlightenment. Were they mocked, burned as witches or simply ignored?

Freedom Sickness: Too few of us have a modern-day case of drapetomania

Originally Published In:

Fairfield County Weekly (11/13/08) Link

(The version in the Fairfield County Weekly was unfortunately heavily edited for space considerations. Here is the full version.)

Do you suffer from drapetomania? Samuel Cartwright, an antebellum Louisiana doctor, coined the term just a decade before the Emancipation Proclamation to describe “a disease of the mind” that causes a slave to run away.

Conn Con Con! How we can cut ties with the federal government by voting for a constitutional convention

Originally Published In:

Fairfield County Weekly (10/23/2008) Link, Hartford Advocate (10/23/2008) Link

Once a generation, Connecticut residents have the opportunity to recreate history. This year, we can become the first state to opt out of all burdensome federal regulations by convening a historic constitutional convention.

Article XIII of the Connecticut Constitution spells it out: Once every 20 years, voters are presented with an option to reconvene. When we go to our voting booths this November, in addition to the usual election choices, we will also be asked:

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