Updates / Financial Services


By / 3.7.2013

There is an intense debate as to whether the student debt crisis is a bubble or not. The short answer: yes, but it’s more like a balloon. And the good thing about balloons is that they don’t have to burst; there is an option to deflate them slowly. In some ways the ongoing student debt […]

By / 2.7.2013

New research by the firm HelloWallet finds that more than a quarter of Americans who have an employer-sponsored retirement plan are raiding these accounts for other uses. According to HelloWallet’s report, Americans are withdrawing more than $70 billion a year from their retirement savings—and often paying big penalties to do so. On top of regular […]

By / 11.27.2012

With the “fiscal cliff” likely to be averted, consumers are gearing up for the Holiday season. Retail designated shopping days “Black Friday,” “Small Business Saturday,” and “Cyber Monday” all saw an increase in sales, a good sign of consumer optimism heading into December. Small businesses depend on retail spending days like these, and on consumer optimism throughout […]

By / 8.2.2012

Editor’s Note: This item is cross-posted from Innovation and Growth.  Bill Gross of Pimco has just written a piece where he argues that the real return on stocks in the future will be much lower than the long-term historical average of 6.6%: Yet the 6.6% real return belied a commonsensical flaw much like that of a chain letter […]

The Atlantic highlights PPI’s proposal to create “HomeK” accounts for home buyers to aid in the purchase of new homes. The article further suggests that such accounts could replace mortgage interest deductions. The mortgage interest deduction probably isn’t going anywhere soon. Voters are far too fond of it, and politicians are loathe to nix a […]

By / 7.16.2012

Editor’s Note: This item is cross-posted from Innovation and Growth. I found myself reacting to the Libor scandal more strongly than a lot of the earlier revelations of financial institutions misdeeds. First, the banks were just blatant out-and-out lying about a simple number. Second, their lying led to a distortion of a crucial piece of publicly […]

By / 3.9.2012

In a classic example of a “slippery slope,” Congress once again is looking for easy pickings by increasing guarantee fees (g-fees) that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac charge lenders to guarantee their mortgage lending. Last December, Congress raised the GSE’s g-fee by 10 basis points for 10 years. The goal was to raise almost $36 […]

By / 3.1.2012

This week in housing was an especially busy one; PPI looks at just a few highlights with Case-Shiller numbers, a new government pilot program on housing and a huge announcement from Bank of America. Let’s get to it. 1. S&P Case-Shiller, the leading Index of national housing values, came out on Monday. The December data […]

By / 6.7.2011

Whether U.S. Presidents succeed or fail often depends on a big factor beyond their control: the timing of the business cycle. Lucky Presidents – Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush – experienced downturns early in their first term, leaving plenty of time for an economic rebound to lift them to reelection. Barack Obama, who took office […]

By / 6.1.2011

Amid the high drama of fiscal brinkmanship in Washington, it’s easy to forget that reducing budget deficits isn’t the biggest economic challenge we face. Even more important is kick-starting the great American job machine and reversing our country’s slide in global competition. Critical to both goals is shoring up the decaying physical foundations of national […]