Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thanks from Warren Buffet!

Warren Buffet wrote a "thank you" letter to the U.S. Government which appeared in the New York Times (see Pretty Good for Government Work). It it, he reminds us that about two years ago our economy was on the brink of disaster. We looked to the government to remedy the situation and it responded with action. I agree with Buffet in this case. While the economy is not where we would like it, where business-oriented regulations are not what we might imagine, and many still lack jobs, the situation is not what it was two years back.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sarah Palin Criticizes Federal Reserve?

Exit elections, but the politics continue. While we ordinarily see the Federal Reserve as supposedly independent in terms of determining monetary policy, Sarah Palin did not pause to take a swipe at the announcement that the Federal Reserve will buy back government bonds (see Sarah Palin Takes Aim At Fed). In fact, she called on the Federal Reserve to "cease and desist." The rationale is that it will cause an unacceptable level of inflation that will erode our jobs and savings. The monetary policy pursued by the Fed raises more issues to me about simply whether it will work. With interest rates historically low, the Federal Reserve has few tools at its disposal to spark the economy. Let Bernanke do his job and let's hope that the Fed can impact the economy positively.

Palin's claim that prices are already rising simply doesn't bear out reality (see Palin Brawls with WSJ Over Inflated Inflation) in an economy where prices are increasing at notably slow rates. Inflation is not particularly high on the list of concerns that the Federal Reserve has currently, but jobs and the health of the economy generally is (See Dallas' Fed's Fisher: Inflation Low on List of worries).

For a discussion of the mixture of politics and the Federal Reserve, see


So, What's in Your Wallet?

Katie Porter over at Creditslips did a piece on the cards that those who teach payment law might carry! It is an interesting read. See What's in Our Wallets?

As for me? As those who follow this blog know, I am not a fan of any cards. And, I mean that pretty much universally. From high interest rates to deceptive practices, I just don't like them. My recent dispute over an instance of credit card skimming has only increased my suspicions about card practices, even though the issuer finally capitulated and reversed the fraudulent
charge. Despite my widespread condemnation of cards, I find them necessary. Like others, I am not a fan of debt and prefer paying off balances whenever possible. Yet, having bought a home this summer, I've found a Lowe's card particularly useful! This card issued by GE Money Bank comes with many of the aspects like high interest rates that I dislike about cards. But, having a home that needs appliances and quite a bit of do-it-yourself initiative, Lowe's offers of no interest financing on many 6 and 12 month purchases is a plus. The risk is that if you don't pay off the amount in the time frame the interest is high, but for card users with discipline, the no interest deals are a nice way to spread out large home improvements over several months.