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A funny form of conservation

TEMPORARY solutions have a way of becoming permanent. The fate of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two “government-sponsored enterprises” (GSEs) that stand behind much of America’s housing market, is a case in point. The GSEs, which buy American mortgages from banks and other originators, bundle them into securities and resell them to investors with a guarantee, are stuck in a technocratic

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What a carry on

NEXT month will probably see the first great divergence in monetary policy since the financial crisis of 2008. The Federal Reserve is widely expected to push through a rate increase—its first since 2006. But the European Central Bank is expected to cut its deposit rate, already in negative territory, or to expand its programme of asset purchases. The Bank of Japan is also expected to maintain or amplify its

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Jam tomorrow

FIVE years ago the odds of being able to pay with a credit card at a street stall or coffee stand in America were next to zero. Nowadays, though, cash seems slightly déclassé at hipster cafes and fancy farmers’ markets. That is thanks largely to Square, a six-year-old firm which handles credit-card payments for 2m-odd small merchants and listed in New York this week.

A private

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Prizes: Patrick Foulis, our New York bureau chief, has won State Street’s 2015 UK Institutional Press Award for best editorial comment; Sacha Nauta, our finance correspondent, won the award for best

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Some simple rules of thumb

TYLER COWEN has set out his macroeconomic framework, circa 2015. I am surprised at how much there is to his list that I disagree with. Rather than nitpick, however, I'll give my own very general framework. There is a lot of nuance and detail left out of the list below; it is more a set of rough principles.

1) Supply-side policy is hard. Why is America the richest large economy in the world? Well,

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