US Fed Total Discount Window Borrowings Wed $45.75 Billion

Fed Assets Increase to Record $2.39 Trillion on Bond Purchases – The Federal Reserve’s balance sheet grew $3.5 billion to $2.39 trillion as the central bank increased its holdings of Treasury securities faster than its holdings of housing debt declined.  Treasuries held by the Fed increased by $17.9 billion to $967.6 billion as of Dec. 15, according to a weekly release by the central bank today. The Fed’s holdings of mortgage-backed securities fell by $13.8 billion to $1.01 trillion and federal agency debt securities fell by $294 million to $147.9 billion.  The Fed has bought $127.7 billion in Treasuries on its way to purchasing $600 billion of government debt through June 2011. The Fed is also reinvesting the proceeds of its maturing mortgage holdings. M2 money supply rose by $1 billion in the week ended Dec. 6, the Fed said. That left M2 growing at an annual rate of 3.1 percent for the past 52 weeks, below the target of 5 percent the Fed once set for maximum growth. The Fed no longer has a formal target.

US Fed Total Discount Window Borrowings Wed $45.75 Billion – The U.S. Federal Reserve’s balance sheet kept growing in the latest week as the central bank continued with a controversial plan to buy billions of dollars worth of government debt. The Fed’s asset holdings in the week ended Dec. 15 climbed to $2.389 trillion, from $2.385 trillion a week earlier, it said in a weekly report released Thursday. The Fed’s holdings of U.S. Treasury securities rose to $967.55 billion on Wednesday from $949.61 billion a week earlier. Much of the increase stems from purchases of securities set to mature in five to 10 years. Meanwhile, Thursday’s report showed total borrowing from the Fed’s discount lending window slipped to $45.75 billion Wednesday from $45.94 billion a week earlier. Borrowing by commercial banks dipped to $21 million Wednesday from $25 million a week earlier. Thursday’s report showed U.S. government securities held in custody on behalf of foreign official accounts rose to $3.340 trillion, from $3.339 trillion in the previous week. U.S. Treasurys held in custody on behalf of foreign official accounts grew to $2.612 trillion from $2.608 trillion in the previous week.

Delusions Of Fiscal Grandeur – Simon Johnson – If you honestly believe that investors will happily buy up any amount of US government debt (at low interest rates) for the indefinite future, then relax.  The tax deal passed yesterday should make you happy. But if you fear that the US will soon be tested by financial markets – just as the eurozone is being tested today – then please read my column,”Voodoo Economics Revisited“, which is now on the Project Syndicate website.  There is a well-established tradition in the Republican Party of thinking that tax cuts cure all ills; many in the Democratic leadership have apparently now fallen into line.  We need to think hard about what our fiscal crisis will look like – and who will end up being hurt the most.
 

Yet another study has been released proving that watching Fox News is detrimental to your intelligence. World Public Opinion, a project managed by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland, conducted a survey of American voters that shows that Fox News viewers are significantly more misinformed than consumers of news from other sources. What’s more, the study shows that greater exposure to Fox News increases misinformation.

Ecosystem Services: Pricing to Peddle? – The good news from the Green New Deal is that ecological microeconomics (such as valuing ecosystem services) has risen from the recesses of academia into the realm of international diplomacy.  The bad news is that ecological macroeconomics (such as limits to growth) apparently has not.  Let’s take a look at the implications. The primary distinction of ecological economics, in contrast with conventional or “neoclassical” economics, is that ecological economists recognize limits to growth and a fundamental trade-off between economic growth and environmental protection.  The economic pie can only get so big even if all its pieces are correctly priced, including ecosystem services.  Because the economic pie can only get so big, society must also pay greater attention to fairly distributing the pieces.  In order to protect the environment, and to help allocate resources in the fairest manner, it helps to recognize the economic value of ecosystem services.  That’s what ecological microeconomics is all about; estimating the value of natural capital and ecosystem services.

 

Study Confirms That Fox News Makes You Stupid – So the more you watch, the less you know. Or to be precise, the more you think you know that is actually false. This study corroborates a previous PIPA study that focused on the Iraq war with similar results. And there was an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll that demonstrated the break with reality on the part of Fox viewers with regard to health care. The body of evidence that Fox News is nothing but a propaganda machine dedicated to lies is growing by the day. In eight of the nine questions below, Fox News placed first in the percentage of those who were misinformed (they placed second in the question on TARP). That’s a pretty high batting average for journalistic fraud. Here is a list of what Fox News viewers believe that just aint so:

  • 91 percent believe the stimulus legislation lost jobs
  • 72 percent believe the health reform law will increase the deficit
  • 72 percent believe the economy is getting worse
  • 60 percent believe climate change is not occurring
  • 49 percent believe income taxes have gone up
  • 63 percent believe the stimulus legislation did not include any tax cuts
  • 56 percent believe Obama initiated the GM/Chrysler bailout
  • 38 percent believe that most Republicans opposed TARP
  • 63 percent believe Obama was not born in the U.S. (or that it is unclear)
 
The Annual Drama of the ‘Doc Fix’ – “Medicare fees to be cut by 25% in 2011,” was the alarming headline in Internal Medicine News on Nov. 3. “Unless Congress acts,” the story continued.  After much suspense and breathless media reports, Congress did act.  So on Wednesday, just in the nick of time, President Obama signed into law a delay of one year for such a disastrous cut. Once again, near disaster had been averted in a recurring drama that reminds one of nothing so much as Kabuki theater. After all, we had been near the brink many times before, several times in 2010 alone, and each time Congress shrank back from the abyss. By now, the movement is predictable.  But who, then, are the misanthropes who so frighten the daylights out of our senior citizens and the physicians who treat them — or may not? It turns out not to be a human being at all!  Instead, it is just an innocent formula that Congress imposed on itself as part of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997.
 

Democrats concede budget fight to Republicans – Senate Democrats abruptly abandoned an omnibus budget bill for the coming year, pushing major spending decisions into the next Congress and giving Republicans immense new leverage to confront President Barack Obama priorities.  The decision Thursday night sweeps away months of bipartisan work by the Senate Appropriations Committee which had crafted the $1.1 trillion bill to meet spending targets embraced by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) himself prior to the elections.  Sen. Robert Bennett (R-Utah), an old McConnell friend, worked actively to round up as many as nine potential Republican votes for the compromise, but these numbers rapidly evaporated amid personal attacks and the uproar this week over spending earmarks in the package.  McConnell, embarrassed by reports on his own earmarks in the omnibus, went to the Senate floor Thursday to propose a one page, “clean” two month extension of the current stop gap funding resolution that has kept the government funded since Oct. 1.

Republican Opposition Kills $1.2 Trillion `Omnibus‘ US Spending Measure – A $1.2 trillion “omnibus” spending bill loaded with thousands of lawmakers’ pet projects known as earmarks is dead in the U.S. Senate after the chamber’s top Democrat conceded that he didn’t have the votes to overcome Republican opposition.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said yesterday that he was abandoning the measure after several Republicans he had been counting on withdrew their support of the plan to fund the government through Sept. 30, 2011. He said he would work with Republicans to write a shorter-term funding bill, known as a continuing resolution, in its place.

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