Chinese checked?

The backlash? It took Boris Johnson to test positive for COVID-19 for Britain to get its act together in tackling the contagion. There’s lockdown, there’s increased testing, retired NHS workers are being called back to work and fines are being levied for anyone breaching the Coronavirus Act. But here’s the real deal. Britain has declared … Continue reading Chinese checked?

The State of India

The malevolent state Yesterday I sat through a 2-hour session on the Indian state. The speaker meticulously laid out the history of its failures, its pervasive interest in encroaching upon our freedoms and the whimsical way it designs public policy. The nub of the argument wasn’t new to me but there was a refreshing candour … Continue reading The State of India

Golmaal Hai, Bhai, Sab Golmaal Hai

Seedhe raste ki yeh tedhi chaal hai Like we discussed yesterday, Trump signed (no, he didn’t use his angutha) the US $2.2 trillion emergency relief bill to support the U.S. economy crippled by the Covid-19 pandemic. Barring a Republican representative (self-avowed libertarian), Thomas Massie of Kentucky, no one in the House of Representatives had any … Continue reading Golmaal Hai, Bhai, Sab Golmaal Hai

Bada Package and A Conradian Heart of Darkness

When $2 trillion isn’t enough A $ 2 trillion emergency relief package was passed by the U.S. senate yesterday. That’s almost 10% of the size of the economy! What’s more, almost everyone believes there will be more coming. The whole package came about in less than a week with detailed bipartisan discussions in the senate … Continue reading Bada Package and A Conradian Heart of Darkness

Chotta Package and Live Free or Die

Badi kathin hai dagar panghat ki Listen, policymaking is tough in normal times. Huge tomes have been written (and not read) yet we get policies wrong. So, anyone working on policy during these times has all my sympathies. To think through possible solutions with so many unknowns while the clock is ticking is really tough. … Continue reading Chotta Package and Live Free or Die

Vacuum, China and a Whatsapp Forward

A world without a leader Being a sincere kid who needed extra-curricular validation, I used to attend essay writing competitions at school. A whole bunch of losers like me would sit down and write on a given topic. ‘Unity in Diversity’ was a favourite. ‘We live in a global village’ was another. This one made … Continue reading Vacuum, China and a Whatsapp Forward

The Long Road

In the long run all policies turn bad A public policy is designed to address a problem that’s here and now. If the problem weren’t urgent, the state would have demurred. That isn’t a bad idea. ‘Do nothing’ or ‘indulge in rhetoric’ are often sound public policy choices for the state. The need to act … Continue reading The Long Road

The Indian Relief Package

The Republican economic relief package The Republicans are out with their draft rescue plan. This will be discussed with Senate Democrats; hopefully, approved and sent to Trump over the next few days. So, how did they identify beneficiaries for the direct cash transfer plan which we discussed yesterday? Anyone earning below $75,000 in 2018 would … Continue reading The Indian Relief Package

We are in a socialist utopia now

Everybody is a socialist during a crisis Bernie Sanders won’t certainly clinch the Democratic nomination, but he’s already won the elections. If politics is contestation for narrative dominance, he’s already home and dry. Free healthcare for all, direct transfer of wealth to the poor, free university education and a huge fiscal stimulus to help the … Continue reading We are in a socialist utopia now

This is different

Fed cuts rate to zero, what next? A key role of any central bank is to provide liquidity to the financial systems. During times of economic distress liquidity dries up – value of assets falls, demand shrinks, and businesses find it difficult to manage everyday operations. Central banks add liquidity into the system through multiple … Continue reading This is different