Presenting the third annual wonky awards – the washington post electricity flow diagram


As the top lieutenant to Chairman Ben Bernanke, Yellen was a key engineer of a monetary easing program announced in late 2012 and carried out over the course of 2013. It combined bond buying — $85 billion gas cap light a month, set to taper down to zero over the course of 2014 — with clearer communication about what might trigger interest rate increases down the road. Those policies have kept the economic recovery on track even as Congress has slashed spending and increased taxes. The Bernanke-Yellen Fed, in effect, offset much of the damage of fiscal austerity in America.

Now Yellen is poised to take center stage. It was a long, ugly summer in which advocates of both Yellen and Larry Summers campaigned for their favored candidate for the Fed chairmanship. Summers ultimately withdrew amid Senate opposition, and it was Yellen’s quiet, un-flashy, cerebral leadership that won her the spot. She faces big challenges as Fed chair, from managing a wind-down of the Fed’s easy money policies to taking on its broader role overseeing the financial industry. But her skills at managing these challenges so far earn her our Wonk of the Year honor.

This season on the TV show Homeland, basically everything the CIA does is with an eye toward forging a grand bargain with Iran, in which the United States loosens sanctions, and Iran gives up pursuit of a nuclear weapon. Crazy gambit after crazy gambit — including involuntary hospital commitments, entrapment of Iranian officials, assassination of other Iranian officials, use of a wanted terrorist as a U.S. asset, etc. — is meant to get us closer to that goal.

So it’s funny that, as the series was airing, the real-life Islamic Republic of Iran’s representatives were in Geneva hashing out a bargain on exactly those lines with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. It’s not permanent, and a permanent deal will be much tougher to craft. But electricity merit badge worksheet it sets in motion a process that could culminate in a lasting accord, after a first Obama term that featured little improvement in U.S.-Iran relations and little progress in convincing Iran to ratchet down its nuclear program.

Kerry’s first year was far from smooth — and was often ugly. The Obama administration made a number of inept gestures toward war in Syria before ultimately negotiating a deal to secure the Bashar al-Assad regime’s chemical weapons. It stood by as the democratically elected government of Egypt fell victim to a military coup. And Kerry is still working on a final status agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. But the deals do signal that the United States can and will sit down and hash things out before taking military action. It’s an intriguing development, and by far a bigger policy change than anything that happened in Congress this year. That’s why Kerry gets our Policymaker of the Year award.

Congress has been fighting about deficits almost continuously since Republicans took gas vs electric oven the House in 2010. That’s how we got sequestration and the fiscal cliff and various debt-ceiling showdowns. But the dynamics behind this fight are shifting fast. The federal budget deficit fell 37 percent in 2013, thanks to faster growth, more tax revenue, the draw-down in Afghanistan, and recent spending cuts. As a result, the Congressional Budget Office expects U.S. debt to stay stable gas vs diesel towing for the next decade as the economy improves (it will then start rising again as health-care costs grow).

Are those falling deficits good or bad? It depends who you ask. Many economists would argue that deficits are shrinking much too quickly given our still-hurting economy — Congress should either spend more or cut taxes further to get us back to full employment. On the other hand, the fact that deficits are shrinking helps reduce the number of ugly showdowns in Washington. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) recently reached an agreement on spending levels for the next two years with surprisingly little rancor. The chart above deserves some credit.

It took a shockingly long time to craft (three years). It is mind-bogglingly complex (71 pages of regulations). It is being phased in slowly (compliance required by July 2015). But now the provision of the Dodd-Frank Act meant to stop too-big-to-fail banks from engaging in speculative trading activity has the full force of law. It is tougher, and with fewer loopholes, than many financial reform advocates had thought plausible just a year ago.

As Mike Konczal writes, the rule’s completion was helped along by a few things. The London Whale trading scandal at JPMorgan showed how even the best-run banks can record billions of trading losses if they are allowed too free a hand; Treasury secretary Jack Lew has pledged that the final rule would prevent a major bank from engaging in that type of activity in the future. Bipartisan pressure against the big banks from Capitol Hill helped energize regulators to craft a strong Volcker Rule, as did outside advocacy groups that electricity kwh to unit converter engaged with zeal in commenting during the the regulation-writing process.

Imagine you were negotiating with someone to buy a car. But the two of you couldn’t agree on a price. Instead of just walking away, you made a deal. You agree to attach a piano to a crane hanging over the car. And if you don’t reach a deal by next Tuesday, the piano will be rigged to drop, crushing the car. That will give you the impetus to finally reach a deal. Sequestration is the hanging piano. And the U.S. economy is the newly crushed car.

The policy of across-the-board spending cuts for most discretionary federal government spending was designed to be a policy so painful that neither Democrats nor Republicans would allow it to go into effect. Agreed as part of an August 2011 deal to raise the debt ceiling, it was only meant to be the gun to Congress’s head to coax a longer-term deficit reduction deal. But with Republicans unwilling to consider tax increases, and q card gas station Democrats unwillingness to cut entitlements without also increasing taxes, there was no deal to be had, and so the cuts went into effect March 1.

At first glance, Larry Summers’s presentation to the IMF in November gas efficient cars 2016 seemed fairly straightforward: The United States and Europe might be in a permanent condition of slow economic growth. It’s not just the recession and its aftermath. Even during the 2000s, we had a huge housing bubble, and yet the economy was only so-so, and inflation stayed strangely low.

But there were a number of provocative points that fell out of Summers’s talk. One is that our economy may be in a place where we need bubbles for growth. Another is that the economy won’t automatically right itself — stagnation could last for many years. Central banks may need to radically rethink how they do monetary policy. Otherwise they could be stuck in a bind where they’re injecting ever more money into an economy to avoid a worse and worse recession.

It’s doubtful any of that would have been possible without the work of Berkeley’s Emmanuel Saez and the Paris School of Economics’s Thomas Piketty, who have put together the most comprehensive dataset ever on how the incomes of various economic classes have fared since 1913. What they found was an enormous surge in inequality, and stagnant middle incomes, in recent decades. Those findings have set the terms for the inequality debate ever since.

Saez and Piketty aren’t afraid to draw policy conclusions from their work, either. Both support much, much higher marginal tax rates on the rich; in a paper with Nobel laureate Peter Diamond, Saez suggests the top rate should be 73 percent. Peter Orszag said the duo’s research was proving influential in the Obama administration as well. Their presence is only going to grow next year, not least because Piketty’s book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, drops on March 24. The book is already a bestseller in France.

This year, the two-year-old Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — itself electricity production in chad a product of reforms following the economic collapse — finalized a regulation to stop that from happening when it kicks in on Jan. 10. The “ Qualified Mortgage” rule (QM, to its friends) requires lenders to determine that borrowers have the ability to repay their loans, and creates a safe harbor from litigation for mortgages that fit criteria relating to documentation, fees, and a borrower’s debt-to-income ratio. Right now, since banks became extremely cautious after getting soaked in the housing crisis, the vast majority of loans originated already qualify. But should the market get overly exuberant again, the new rule should prevent lending to excess, and the hangover that might follow.

Taxing land would raise enough revenue to replace most all taxes. That’s especially true if you expand the definition of “land” to include other inherently scarce natural resources like oil, coal, natural gas, gems, and water, as UC Riverside’s Mason Gaffney has argued. And the gas x strips after gastric sleeve great thing about land, as opposed to income or consumption, is that it doesn’t shrink in response to taxes. We’ve got the land we’ve got. So taxing it doesn’t destroy it. It’s a way to raise a ton of money from rich landowners without any economic distortions.