Big Shitpile

Mike the Mad Biologist

Category archives for Big Shitpile

I’ve decried before the lack of natural history in economics, and I’m thinking Mark Thoma, with whom I usually agree, seems to be doing just that. Thoma on the ongoing recession: There are different types of recessions, and this one can be termed “a balance sheet” recession. It had a big impact not just on…

While conservatives still blather on about ‘judicial activism’ whenever a federal judge decides that they’ve gone too far in cramming their theopolitical crap down our throats, the ongoing housing crisis*, aka Big Shitpile, could result in some honest-to-Intelligent Designer judicial activism. How? I’ve discussed previously how the poor, or even non-existent, paper trail for many…

Meet your new Treasury Secretary My guiding political principle is “people have to like this crap.” That is, if a policy makes peoples’ lives worse, then it’s a shitty policy*. More about that in a bit. Last week, a bunch of bloggers went to visit the Treasury Department, and one of the topics for discussion…

Update on Suckers and Strategic Default

Over the weekend, I discussed how the wealthy are far more likely to walk away from an underwater mortgage (when the mortgage payments will cost more than the value of the property) than the non-wealthy. Yves Smith makes a good observation (italics mine): Another message here is that high income borrowers aren’t taking the Freddie/Fannie/bank…

I’ve mentioned before how the decision to walk away from a mortgage that costs more than your house is worth (‘strategic default‘) should be based on how that decision affects you financially (and, of course, if you want to stay in the house anyway). In an environment where loans were approved such that there could…

One of the really difficult things for me to comprehend is why the idea of ‘Fiscal Austerity’ is so popular among politicians, especially too many Democratic ones, when Fiscal Austerity will lead to high unemployment. The null hypothesis of “people are fucking morons”, while personally appealing, just doesn’t seem to have explanatory power. However, Digby,…

Yes, you read the title correctly–I’ll get to that in a bit. Nicholas Wade’s article about the Human Genome Project (HGP), “A Decade Later, Genetic Map Yields Few New Cures” has been getting a lot of play. Thankfully, ScienceBlogling Orac summed up perfectly my thoughts about both the science and hype surrounding the HGP, so…

Banks Refusing to Own Big Sh-tpile

Yet another sorry chapter in the banking crisis. Remember: we need banks and bankers, but why we kept these banks and these bankers in business still perplexes me. Now, in an attempt to retain faux integrity of their balance sheets, banks are refusing their contractual obligations to buy back certain loans they sold to Fannie…

…Apparently, economist Christine Romer thinks so too (italics mine): …hundreds of thousands of public school teachers are likely to be laid off over the next few months. As many as one out of every 15 teachers could receive a pink slip this summer, the White House Council of Economic Advisers estimates. These layoffs would be…

By way of Digby, we come across Atrios’ excellent summary of the TARP program: It’s a little weird that reporters are hesitant to clearly spell out what happened. Basically the Fed printed a huge amount of money. Some of that money they used to do what TARP was originally supposed to do, buy up Big…