Congratulations to the Bentley Fed Challenge team

1.  I’m starting the feel sorry for Harvard.  Once again Bentley’s Fed Challenge team advanced to the National competition, where they will face fearsome competition like Princeton (featuring Evan Soltas.)   The Boston regionals are always tough.  Harvard finished second, and the competition included other top schools like Dartmouth and Boston College.  Congratulations to the team members:

Kathryn Mastromarino ’16

Alice Lin ’17

Michael Liotti ’16

Sal Visali ’16

Dan Reeves ’15

Matt Zeglen ’17

Amanda Pine ’16

Aizhan Uzakova ’15

Michael Acampora ’17

Brian Levine ’16

And congratulations also to the coaches Aaron Jackson and David Gulley, who do an outstanding job every year.  The team has advanced to the finals in 4 of the past 6 years, winning it all in 2012.

2.  In other news, here’s Caroline Baum:

One group of economists, known as market monetarists, has advocated implementing a nominal GDP target, which comports with the Fed’s dual mandate of full employment and stable prices. An NGDP target “” real GDP plus inflation “” incorporates both mandates, with employment serving as a proxy for real GDP.

At times, the balance between growth and inflation would be less than ideal, but advocates believe over time an NGDP target would produce smoother results than the current operating procedure, whatever that is.

Central bankers are always in search of the holy grail: something that would enable them to keep the economy on a glide path. They had high hopes for inflation targeting, which was widely viewed as both an end in itself (stable prices) and a means to an end (full employment), as former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke liked to say.

Yet inflation targeting has its shortfalls. For example, technological innovation tends to raise real GDP and lower inflation. Under an inflation-targeting regime, the central bank would lower interest rates, which is exactly the wrong prescription. With an NGDP target, policy makers would avoid that mistake.

3.  The wrong kind of Austrian economics:

An Austrian 85-year-old cut up into tiny pieces almost a million euros ($1.1 million) in an apparent attempt to spite her heirs, authorities said Thursday.

Like the US, Europe has some truly bizarre public policies.  For instance, a European billionaire is not allowed to give away his fortune to a worthy cause like fighting poverty in Africa, he must give at least 50% to his spoiled children.  This granny tried to get around the rules by converting her million dollar fortune into currency, and shredding the money. (BTW, when you destroy currency you are effectively donating money to the national government–not sure exactly how that works in the eurozone.) She should have burned the cash and scattered the ashes in the ocean, as the National Bank of Austria has said it will replace the shredded money, and the undeserving brats will get their inheritance.  Pathetic.  No wonder Thomas Piketty is so obsessed with inherited wealth.  What the heck is wrong with Europe?

HT:  James Alexander



11 Responses to “Congratulations to the Bentley Fed Challenge team”

  1. Gravatar of benjamin cole benjamin cole
    7. November 2015 at 16:04

    Congratulations to Bentley. I have heard of Harvard, and it is a highly regarded school.

  2. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    8. November 2015 at 05:34

    I agree that forced heirship sounds really weird. It’s a very old tradition in Europe based on Roman law. Is it really needed in our modern times? I don’t think so.

    But this very special case might be about some other things. It’s only an assumption that she wanted to spite her heirs. The other guess would be that she was out of her mind and not able to manage her own affairs anymore. That’s why the National Bank of Austria will replace the money. But this is an exception not the rule.

    Destroy the money completely while being sane and you can still spite your heirs very easily. But why destroying it? Why not blowing it? If there’s any European who is worried that he can not blow his fortune in time: Don’t worry anymore. Contact me and I’ll try my very best to help you.

  3. Gravatar of Ray Lopez Ray Lopez
    8. November 2015 at 06:07

    What? is this a joke? What is the “Fed Challenge”? If Bentley beat Harvard, it must be like those prisoners who debated some Ivy League school a while ago and won, it was not a real debate but something trivial and a ‘feel good gesture’ on the part of the Ivy League team, who gracefully capitulated.

  4. Gravatar of Patrick R. Sullivan Patrick R. Sullivan
    8. November 2015 at 08:00

    I hope the Bentley Fed Challenge team isn’t as intellectually confused as the President of the San Francisco Fed;

    Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco President John Williams said Saturday he’s still eyeing a central bank rate rise, noting it is important to get the process going so that future increases can come at a gradual pace.

    But the official, who holds a voting role on the interest-rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee, declined to say when he’d like to boost borrowing costs from their current near-zero levels.

    “I view the next appropriate step as the start of a process of gradually raising interest rates,” Mr. Williams said in a speech delivered before an audience in Tempe, Ariz. The data will determine “the when,” when it comes to lifting rates, he said.

    Though the WSJ author of the piece is just as clueless, as he drones on and on about ‘raising interest rates’, without seemingly understanding how the Fed would do that (Rates, we command thee; rise!).

  5. Gravatar of Don Geddis Don Geddis
    8. November 2015 at 09:24

    @Ray Lopez: I love your consistency. You refuse to ever let your ignorance get in the way of forming strong opinions. And you defend yourself strongly against the danger that learning something new might affect your worldview.

  6. Gravatar of anon\portly anon\portly
    8. November 2015 at 10:32

    Sometimes I accidentally read a Ray Lopez comment – it’s amazing that he has the energy to write something offensively stupid on even the most seemingly innocuous topic. Could “Ray Lopez” be a bot? Maybe the first idiotic “Ray Lopez” comment in every thread is written by an AI program and then after that a “real” Ray Lopez shows up to handle the idiotic back-and-forth with other commenters.

    I do have an actual comment, which is that I can see one reason for the European inheritance idea. If in the main wealth in Europe is passed down from generation to generation, the European law perhaps does a good job in respecting the wishes of previous generations, who might want the wealth to stay in the family, as it were. If you were the 12th Baron or Baroness of Ruskin-Spear, say, you might like the idea of a law guaranteeing the rights of the 14th, 15th, 16th, etc., Barons or Baronesses of Ruskin-Spear to inherit the family wealth and not to allow the 13th Baron or Baroness to leave it to his or her cat or whatever.

    Of course I guess you could argue that a person can always set up some sort of trust or put something in their will to try to guarantee the rights of future heirs but maybe in practice this approach works better….

  7. Gravatar of Luis Pedro Coelho Luis Pedro Coelho
    8. November 2015 at 11:56

    In Europe, the wealth is sometimes seen as belonging to the family, not the individual. For someone to donate it to charity would be like those silly movies where a bunch of kids convince the CEO of a big corporation to donate the company’s money to charity (normally after he “sees the light” and repents). In real life, though, it’s not the CEO’s money to give.

  8. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    8. November 2015 at 18:24

    anon, So it’s OK to blow all your wealth on wild parties and orgies on yachts off the coast of the French Riveria, but not give the money to the Gates Foundation? Really?

  9. Gravatar of J.V. Dubois J.V. Dubois
    9. November 2015 at 08:58

    “For instance, a European billionaire is not allowed to give away his fortune to a worthy cause like fighting poverty in Africa, he must give at least 50% to his spoiled children.”

    I don’t know what do you mean exactly, but I know about laws that prevent you from disinheriting your children. And even that is mostly focused on “protecting” children that are not of age (after that disinheriting is easier). But if you are alive, you can pretty much do whatever you want. You can give away sacks of cash to homeless people or even burn it. And your children can only watch you do it. Or try to strip you of your legal rights, something I believe is also possible in US.

  10. Gravatar of Randomize Randomize
    9. November 2015 at 09:56

    His economic policies may be terrible but you’ve got to admit you’re Feeling the Bern on his social policies.

  11. Gravatar of Scott Sumner Scott Sumner
    10. November 2015 at 16:50

    JV, If you have 10 billion dollars, you can’t leave 6 billion to charity, in your will. You may not have a problem with that—I do.

    Randomize. Yup, he’s a breath of fresh area on non-economic issues. He may well be better (overall) than most candidates in either party.

Leave a Reply