Just What I Said: Bloomberg Economics Columnist Takes on Bonds, Banks, Budgets, and Bubbles
This selection from her more than 1,300 Bloomberg News columns, arranged by major themes and with new introductions by the author, condenses and organizes that wisdom for the first time in print form.
1 Ye of Little Faith.
Why the Federal Reserve gets so much attention, yet so little credit, for the outcomes it effects.
2 The Bubble, or This Time Really Is Different!
Like terminally ill patients, the late 1990s bubble in technology and Internet stocks passed through the five stages of dying: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. It didn't turn out any better for the market.
3 Still Nonsense After All These Years.
Driving a stake through the heart of popular delusions: Why acts of God aren't good for growth, costs don't push up inflation, and demand in the economy isn't finite.
4 Myths Under the Microscope.
Repeating something often enough doesn't make it true. You'd never know it from the misconceptions that survive about tax cuts, trade, and liquidity traps.
5 First Principles.
How the Pilgrims learned about the value of incentives, and how backyard birding sheds light on the law of supply and demand.
6 Understanding the Yield Curve.
One rate is set by the central bank, the other by the market. The message couldn't be simpler, which is probably why most economists ignore it.
7 The "Political" Economy.
What happens when the heavy hand of government tries to intrude on the invisible hand of the market.
8 Sir Alan.
To some, he's a man for all seasons, a knight for all ages. To others, he's the emperor with no clothes. His day job is chairman of the Federal Reserve Board.
9 What Would We Do Without a Dollar Policy?
How an insipid slogan morphed into a policy, and why we are stuck with it.
10 Off the Charts.
Sexagenarians bracket the big bull market in bonds, while technical traders are blindsided by the canoe over the waterfall.
11 Odd Ducks.
It's a challenge to ring out the year on a creative note, but sniffing out a shaggy dog story from Petsmart is a slam dunk.
12 Oil Things to Oil People.
We can't live without it, but we don't seem to understand it: Why the Fed can't sign over monetary policy to OPEC.
13 Rewriting History.
Politicians never let the facts stand between them and a little historical revisionism.
14 Men in Black.
Who are the Plunge Protection Team, and what are they doing in the financial markets?
15 No One Else Would Write About This.
Why automated phone menus and other productivity-enhancing devices are a headache for the consumer and an unmeasured form of inflation.
16 Love Affair.
Why bonds like to hook up and even fall in love.
17 Bumbling Bureaucrats.
How an international lending agency reinvented itself as an überadviser once it had outlived its purpose.
18 The 2004 Election.
Why a presidential candidate has to run as somebody, not as anybody-but-his-opponent.
19 Readers Write Back at You.
Readers send their unedited thoughts into cyberspace, never expecting anyone to read them or reply.
—Paul H. O'Neill
Former Secretary of the U.S. Treasury
"Caroline Baum is a rarity--an economics commentator who actually understands economics and writes about it with clarity and passion. Read her and learn! Read her and enjoy!"
Professor of Economics, Harvard University
Chairman, U.S. Council of Economics Advisors, 2003-2005
"If you are interested in the Fed, interest rates, the budget deficit, taxes, China, or anything economic under the sun, Caroline Baum is a must-read."
Host, CNBC's Kudlow & Company
"Not many financial journalists' columns repay a reading months or years later. Caroline Baum's knack for making complex ideas understandable and her irreverent style make her book one of the rare exceptions."
—Dr. Allan H. Meltzer
The Allan H. Meltzer University Professor of Political Economy, Carnegie Mellon University