Paul Krugman: The Worst and the Dumbest

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 10/01/2018 - 9:18am in

"Republicans in Congress are increasingly determined to participate in obstruction of justice":

The Worst and the Dumbest, by Paul Krugman, NY Times: Like millions of people around the world, I was reassured to learn that Donald Trump is a “Very Stable Genius.” You see, if he weren’t — if he were instead an erratic, vindictive, uninformed, lazy, would-be tyrant — we might be in real trouble.

Let’s be honest: This great nation has often been led by mediocre men, some of whom had unpleasant personalities. But they generally haven’t done too much damage, for two reasons.

First, second-rate presidents have often been surrounded by first-rate public servants. ...

Second, our system of checks and balances has restrained presidents who might otherwise have been tempted to ignore the rule of law or abuse their position. ...

But that was then. Under the Very Stable Genius in Chief, the old rules no longer apply.

When the V.S.G. moved into the White House, he brought with him an extraordinary collection of subordinates — and I mean that in the worst way... And many incredibly bad lower-level appointments have flown under the public’s radar. ...

And while unqualified people are marching in, qualified people are fleeing. There has been a huge exodus of experienced personnel at the State Department; perhaps even more alarming, there is reportedly a similar exodus at the National Security Agency.

In other words, just one year of Trump has moved us a long way toward a government of the worst and dumbest. It’s a good thing the man at the top is, like, smart.

Meanwhile, what about constraints on presidential misbehavior? Hey, checks and balances are just so 1970s, you know? ...Republicans in Congress are increasingly determined to participate in obstruction of justice. ...

In other words, even as much of the world is questioning Trump’s fitness for office, the only people who could constrain him are doing their best to place him above the rule of law.

So far, the implosion of our political norms has had remarkably little effect on daily life... The president spends his mornings watching TV and rage-tweeting, he has wreaked havoc with the government’s competence and his party doesn’t want you to know if he’s a foreign agent. Yet stocks are up, the economy is growing and we haven’t gotten into any new wars.

But it’s early days. We spent more than two centuries building a great nation, and even a very stable genius probably needs a couple of years to complete its ruin.

Where modern macroeconomics went wrong

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 09/01/2018 - 11:16pm in



In the latest issue of Oxford Review of Economic Policy (Volume 34, Issue 1-2, 2018) the editors have invited some well-known contemporary mainstream macroeconomists​ (including e.g. Simon Wren-Lewis, Randall Wright, Olivier Blanchard, Ricardo Reis, Joseph Stiglitz) to give their views on how to rebuild macroeconomic theory for the future. Some of the contributions are interesting […]

Time for another crash?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 09/01/2018 - 10:52pm in



On Black Friday 1929 market fundamentalist wet dreams of eternal growth took a serious hit. The stock market bubble exploded and crashed. Today​ we have a stock market situation much reminding of that in 1929. The Shiller P/E ratio is now even higher than that year. Those of us who know our Keynes-Fisher-Kindleberger-Minsky and have […]

Why is the UK government so keen to help money launderers?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 09/01/2018 - 8:06pm in

In December I wrote a blog on a Transparency International report that highlighted this issue:

Due to the anti-money laundering directive introduced this year, anyone wishing to form a company by visiting an accountant, solicitor or formations agent (classified under the ‘Trust and Company Service Providers’ (TCSP) umbrella), must fulfil due diligence requirements, including having their identity confirmed.

However, as the government’s official registrar, Companies House is exempt from the rules as it occupies a statutory role to register businesses and issue incorporation certificates, and does not operate as a business itself.

As they noted:

According to Richard Osborne, managing director of eFiling, what this means is that “in just one visit to the government website, fraudsters using a throwaway email address can create a company and funnel their illicit finance through without any appropriate legal checks. All that is really required is a valid UK address and the name of a fictitious company director.

This is true.

As a result a reader of this blog, Ron Lawley, wrote to his (Conservative) MP as follows, sending the blog in question:

Dear Sir Nicholas Soames,

Re; UK money laundering loophole

It appears the UK has a loophole which allows money laundering to occur.

This loophole may have been deliberately created by the government and must be now closed.

If it is not closed immediately we can only see that as verification of the claim that it is deliberate and the government’s own rules are deliberately and deceptively being undermined by the government itself.

This looks like a very high level of dishonesty somewhere in the government and I would be grateful if you could point this out and have this loophole closed. We all know we need to stop the fraudsters and it is disheartening that the government deliberately leaves holes for the dishonest to get round the intention of the law.

I hope you can do something about this.

I leave a part of the blog by Richard Murphy on this email with the full relevant documents attached.


Ron Lawley

This, I am assured, was the reply:

Dear Mr Lawley,

Thank you for contacting me about money laundering, Trust and Company Service Providers (TCSP), and Companies House.

Companies House has a statutory duty to incorporate and dissolve limited companies, register company information, and make it available to the public. Unlike TCSPs, which are already supervised for anti-money laundering purposes under the money laundering regulations, Companies House is not a private-sector profit-making business. The registrar has no discretion in law to refuse or decline a request to incorporate a company. Companies House therefore cannot decline to establish a business relationship in the way that firms regulated for anti-money laundering purposes must when they cannot discharge their customer due diligence obligations. Due to its statutory obligations, Companies House is not considered to be a company formation agent.

I understand that the issue you mention has been raised with Ministers before, and is being monitored on an ongoing basis. However, the Government’s view is that measures to in some way extend the TCSP rules to Companies House would impose unnecessary burdens on both Companies House and on legitimate companies, and would delay the company formation process.

The Office for Professional Body Anti-Money Laundering Supervision (OPBAS) is also soon to be established. OPBAS will work to ensure consistently high standards of anti-money laundering supervision, and Ministers have expressed the view that it is right to establish this body first and then take account of its conclusions around TCSP supervision before taking any further action.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

Yours sincerely,

The Rt Hon Sir Nicholas Soames MP
House of Commons
Tel 020 7219 4143

This is a quite extraordinary argument. What it is suggesting is that:

a) That because Companies House is in the public sector it cannot be subject to anti-money laundering rules.

b) That Companies House has a duty to incorporate for anyone without question.

c) The prevention of money laundering is an unnecessary burden on business.

These claims are just wrong. The first claim is contradicted within the letter: it is a matter of choice that Companies House is not subject to anti-money laundering legislation.

This, then, destroys the second argument. It is also a matter of choice that Companies House must supposedly incorporate for anyone, whoever they are or are not and whatever their intentions. Clearly that could be changed if desired, and the letter admits it, so it is not true. And of course as a matter of fact it is already not true: Companies House cannot incorporate now for a person debarred from holding office as a director and so they already cannot incorporate at will.  The claim is just wrong and shows that the failure to act is deliberate choice.

Third, if it was true that anti-money laundering regulation is a burden why has the government imposed this law on the private sector already? And does it really believe crime and tax evasion worth putting up with so incorporation can take place within an hour or two? If so, what does that say about their judgement and priorities?

Soames clearly got a briefing on this letter: what is written is not in the language of a constituency MP. What that briefing confirms is what I suggested in December: the UK government really is intent on promoting opportunity for money launderers and those committing related crimes, such as tax evasion.

Why is that?

What is it that the government thinks to be to the advantage of the UK when doing so?

That’s a question in need of an answer.

A closer look at the latest RBA Chart Pack

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 09/01/2018 - 10:31am in



The RBA has released its latest monthly Chart Pack. Here are some interesting visuals to consider going into next month’s meeting: First up, looking abroad where the G-3 economies continue to have flat wage growth but modest unemployment figures since the GFC: Headline inflation is also still flat below 2%, but rising from the 2015

The post A closer look at the latest RBA Chart Pack appeared first on MacroBusiness.

Links for 01-08-18

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 09/01/2018 - 8:02am in


Economics, Links

Data Lining Up For The Fed’s Rate Hike Forecast

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 09/01/2018 - 5:32am in

Tim Duy:

Data Lining Up For The Fed’s Rate Hike Forecast, by Tim Duy: Last Friday the Bureau of Labor Statistics released a fairly lackluster employment report. In most ways, the story remains the same – steady improvement in the labor market but no signs of overheating in the form of wage growth. The mix will keep the Fed on track for three rate hikes this year, as the consensus policymaker will view this kind of report as a reason to neither accelerate nor slow the pace of tightening. ...Continued here...

The Free Market Made Us Do It!

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 09/01/2018 - 1:00am in

Apologists for the many millions in compensation that America’s largest corporations regularly dole out to their top executives have essentially one basic, all-purpose go-to defense. America’s corporate giants, this defense contends, are just paying the going “market rate” for top-notch executive talent. So chill out, America. Average Americans who complain about excessive executive pay, says Stanford Business School’s Nick Donatiello, simply do not realize “how much compensation is required, given the market for talent, to attract and motivate the right people.” Any company that tries to go cheap and get by without that “right talent,” America’s corporate wisdom continues, would never be able to successfully compete in our globalized marketplace. Does this defense hold any water? Not any more.

No one should have to quit in 2018 over unequal pay. #PutItRightNow

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 08/01/2018 - 7:42pm in

No one should have to quit in 2018 over unequal pay.

No one.


And especially in the BBC.



Balanced budget religion

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 08/01/2018 - 6:55pm in



I think there is an element of truth in the view that the superstition that the budget must be balanced at all times [is necessary]. Once it is debunked, [it] takes away one of the bulwarks that every society must have against expenditure out of control. There must be discipline in the allocation of resources […]