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It was all just a bad dream

So, that was it. The worst recession in living memory is, if you believe the latest government think tank reports, now over. The recession that Alistair Darling said would be the worst for 60 years (and he recently revised that estimate upwards to 100 years) has passed with nary a whimper in real terms. True, if you lost your job in the last year or so then you might not see it as being a particularly benign period of history, but really, as these things go, this has been ‘recession lite’, a recession for the generation that doesn’t dorecessions. Which, of course, makes me and Lance look a bit silly. Having correctly predicted that the recession would actually...

posted on: Jun 10, 2009 | author: Alex

Is this the end for high interest savings accounts?...

It wasn’t so long ago that we saw UK banks advertising highest rates of up to 10% on their savings accounts – that almost rivalled the long term average rate of return offered by investing in the stock market, but with none of the associated risk. Those days seem far behind us now, with the Bank of England base rate currently at a miniscule 0.5%, the best savings rate you can hope for from a high street bank is the 4% (offered by the Halifax). To add insult to injury, the few banks offering the best interest rates are placing tough restrictions on their savings account; the Halifax, for example, insist on regular monthly deposits and absolutely no...

posted on: Mar 16, 2009 | author: Lance

Rogues gallery of financial terrorists...

The stated purpose of the wide-ranging, privacy-destroying, state-interventionist ‘War Against Terror’ legislation is to protect our way of life and ensure that anyone threatening the peace and stability of either the UK or the US is swiftly and ruthlessly dealt with. Yet what the UK, the US and other countries currently face has an even greater potential to destroy lives than crashing an aeroplane into a skyscraper. Many thousands of people – usually poor people – die in times of severe economic strife, through hunger, increased public disorder, war and depression-induced suicide. Think I’m exaggerating? Karl Denninger is a respected commentator on financial matters. Read what he has to say about the US situation. And if you think...

posted on: Feb 26, 2009 | author: Lance

Is capitalism dead?

It looks like Gordon Brown has convinced the rest of Europe to follow his master plan of bailing out the banks with massive capital injections (i.e. buying shares in the banks with taxpayer money) and measures to improve liquidity (i.e. guaranteeing the banks’ loans to each other with, you guessed it, taxpayer money). Given that the FTSE went into freefall after the British government announced this plan in the UK last week, it remains to be seen how the world’s stock markets will respond in the coming week. Frankly, it’s amazing that anybody’s willing to take Gordon’s advice on anything more important than what biscuits to have in the meeting after the way things have been going recently,...

posted on: Oct 12, 2008 | author: Lance

Give it a rest Darling, we’ve heard it all before...

Speaking at the Labour Party conference in Manchester today the chancellor, Alistair Darling, said pretty much everything you’d expect to hear from the man in charge of the British economy during these worrying times – tighter regulation of the banking industry, measures to stop this kind of crisis happening again, protection for savers, support for families, government spending within its means. Them’s some real pretty words, cowboy, but they sound a bit familiar. Back in 1997 Gordon Brown promised us the days of economic boom and bust were over, and he also said “I will not allow house prices to get out of control and put at risk the sustainability of the recovery.” We’ve heard all these promises,...

posted on: Sep 22, 2008 | author: Lance

Paulson now more powerful than the President...

Henry Paulson is now arguably the most powerful man in the world – or will be if Congress passes his and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s new bill. If you read through the text of the planned $700bn bailout of the US financial system (which will take all the banks’ bad debts off their hands in exchange for nice, clean, taxpayers’ money), one item stands out: “Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency” Since it also states earlier in the bill that “The Secretary is authorized to take such actions as the Secretary deems necessary to...

posted on: Sep 21, 2008 | author: Alex

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