Kyoto was a sham and a failure—so how has it become a model for future anti-warming efforts?
Clive Crook is a senior editor of The Atlantic and a columnist for Bloomberg View. He was the Washington columnist for the Financial Times, and before that worked at The Economist for more than 20 years, including 11 years as deputy editor. Crook writes about the intersection of politics and economics. More
Crook writes about the intersection of politics and economics.
Kyoto was a sham and a failure—so how has it become a model for future anti-warming efforts?
The new Treasury blueprint for reforming financial regulation is not really a blueprint at all. (The full document is here; or see a Treasury summary of it here.) It says some sensible things and has some good ideas, but for the most part it is an agenda for discussion rather than a detailed plan. Given that the Treasury has been working on this thing at least since March 2007, it is surprisingly thin. Moreover, it is concerned exclusively with the structure of… More »
I'll come back to the Treasury's new proposals for regulation shortly. Meantime, this new column for the FT argues that tweaks won't do. Although, as I point out, what has already happened is pretty radical, even though the Treasury and the Fed are reluctant to own up to it: For the moment, everybody is advocating patch and mend. The resistance to thinking big extends even to denying the significance of steps already taken. For example, a bright line has been… More »
For the first time in decades, and probably ever, workers retiring from the US labor force will be better-educated on average (according to one measure anyway) than their much younger counterparts. Some 12 per cent of 60-64 year olds have a master's degree or better; less than 10 per cent of 30-34 year olds do. More generally, the decades-long rise in the educational quality of the labor force is coming to an end. This is important, because that rise has been one… More »
No sooner had I finished berating the candidates for failing to pay attention to the housing-finance meltdown than Hillary Clinton devoted a whole speech to the subject. And a pretty good speech too. Not that I agreed with it all. I think the proposed 90-day moratorium combined with a "voluntary" five-year freeze on interest-rate resets is a bad idea: a drastic remedy, and yet to little effect. What is the point of prolonging the agony? And I cannot say I am… More »
The markets were thrilled by J.P. Morgan’s quintupling (to $10 a share) its offer for Bear Stearns. But does this not make the whole operation, from a public-policy point of view, look like even more of a shambles? The Fed explained that its $30 billion of support for J.P. Morgan, secured against Bear’s most dubious assets, was not a bail-out because Bear’s shareholders were being wiped out. Well, now they aren’t being wiped out. The more general point is… More »
Of course the other point of having a blog (see my previous post for the main reason) is to advertise one’s enthusiasms, as if anybody gives a damn. Therefore, while I am in this narcissistic frame of mind, be it known, I am a Joni Mitchell fan. She is one of the greatest musical artists of our time, and a woman I have lusted after (it goes without saying) man and boy. More than 30 years ago I recall attempting to persuade the poet Roy Fuller that many of… More »
What is the point of having a blog, really, if you are not allowed from time to time to vent a personal grievance? No point, you say? I quite agree. I am a born-again Apple devotee and recidivist iPhone-fondler. However, I am disturbed by a couple of recent developments in the Apple product line, and want to see these errors corrected. I believe I am not alone. More »
My Monday column for the Financial Times complains about the presidential candidates' lack of attention to the worsening financial crisis. What makes this even odder is that the Democrats, at least, continue to hammer away at economic anxiety. The squeeze on “middle-class families” gives them an edge against the Republicans in November, they calculate. But they were saying this last year, and the year before – when unemployment was not rising, the economy… More »
Ron Brownstein asks whether the Democrats' increasingly strident anti-trade line might be a political mistake as well as an economic one (the link expires in a week). Writing from Miami, he notes the signs of international connectedness wherever he looks. Can Democrats plausibly tell their supporters in such places that they would be better off if the US retreated from world markets? This is the side of the international economic story that Barack Obama and Hillary… More »
In this new column for National Journal, I discuss the Fed's latest maneuvers: If banks are too scared to lend and consumers too scared to borrow regardless of interest rates, even the most aggressive easing of monetary policy might fail to push the economy out of recession. That is why, separately from the push to lower interest rates, the Fed is struggling so hard to maintain structural confidence in the financial system -- by keeping Bear Stearns in business… More »
As I've said before, don't count her out just yet. Jay Cost at RCP has a new post summing up his earlier argument that Hillary has a path to the nomination which is "plausible, but unlikely". I think his reasoning is correct, but I would add a couple of things. (And to head off my own batch of emails accusing me of being a Hillary stalwart, I will first repeat right now that I much prefer Obama as the Democratic nominee.) A first point, which should hardly need to… More »
This just in from CNN: Two Florida state senators presented a plan Wednesday to seat the state's delegates at the Democratic National Convention, hoping that Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama will embrace their compromise. Florida Senate Democratic Leader Steven Geller and Sen. Jeremy Ring outlined a proposal to seat all the delegates at the convention in August. The plan recommends seating half of Florida's 210 delegates based on the results of the January… More »
My instant reaction to what may have been the most important speech of Obama's candidacy is that it was excellent. Not, for once, because it was all that well delivered. Especially at the beginning, he seemed not just calm and collected, as usual, but downright subdued. He got more comfortable as he went on, but the whole thing felt more like a statement announced under some duress (which I suppose it was) than a speech he was ever keen to deliver. On the substance… More »
I continue to be astonished by Alan Greenspan’s timing. It is quite uncanny. In a column for National Journal last September (pasted after the jump, if you're curious) I applauded the timing of both his departure from the Fed and the subsequent publication of his memoirs, which coincided beautifully with a spike in concern for the mess he left behind. And now—a smaller achievement, admittedly, but impressive nonetheless—he has a long column in the FT on the… More »
On Friday Bear Stearns–-even in the throes of a financial collapse that had driven its share price down by three-quarters–-was still worth $3.5 billion. On Sunday night it was worth barely $200m, sold for two bucks a share to J.P. Morgan, in a deal brokered by the Fed. If this is a bail-out (and it is) the shareholders of Bear Stearns are not exactly thrilled about it. They will want to know why giving away their firm (whose book value, they had just been told,… More »
I discuss this possibility in a new column for the Financial Times. Bill Clinton’s recent claim that a Clinton-Obama ticket would be unstoppable...was an extremely shrewd political manoeuvre. It asserts a presumption, nothing if not bold, that Mrs Clinton is still the senior partner. It nominates Mr Obama as the Democrats’ presidential candidate in 2016 – and he is young enough for that to make sense. And it issues a summons, cynical as this may be coming… More »
Will the storm over Jeremiah Wright seriously hurt Obama's campaign--and ought it to? This is no trumped-up attack, easy to dismiss. (So much for the Clintons playing the race card.) The video clip that has attracted most attention expresses rage against whites and contempt for the country that Obama is asking to lead. Wright is not another Farrakhan--somebody Obama barely knows and whose endorsement he would rather not have. Wright has been Obama's spiritual… More »
In the deluge of commentary on the Spitzer scandal, I thought this piece by Alan Dershowitz in the Wall Street Journal was the best. As he says, what we know of the investigation so far is very odd—not as odd as Spitzer’s behavior, I grant you, but strange nonetheless. There is no hard evidence that Eliot Spitzer was targeted for investigation, but the story of how he was caught does not ring entirely true to many experienced former prosecutors and current… More »
The Clinton campaign's offer of the VP slot to Obama is clever politics. Bill pressed the idea more explicitly than before over the weekend, saying that the ticket would be "almost unstoppable". The idea gels nicely with the Clinton's argument that Obama is inexperienced: here is his chance for some on-the-job training as number three in the Clinton White House. In due course, they are saying, he might be a pretty good candidate for president. Best of all, from a… More »
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