"The distinguishing characteristics of the Swedish labour market are coordinated wage formation, an active labour market policy and effective unemployment insurance. The fundamental premise is that individuals should contribute through work and be willing to adjust to new tasks. Provided that individuals perform this part of the social contract, they qualify for rights in the form of income-related social security, and, after needs assessment by the Public Employment Service, active initiatives to facilitate the return to work after having become unemployed. In addition, there is a certain level of financial security for people who do not qualify for income-related social security benefits. The social partners also provide a large portion of support in connection with unemployment through various career readjustment agreements."Some of those who favor what they think of as a Scandinavian approach to labor markets tend to emphasize the government benefits, but not to put an equal and counterbalancing emphasis on the responsibility of individuals to adjust to new tasks and careers. The report also emphasizes the importance in the Swedish model of a fiscal policy that "is sustainable over the long term ... with surplus targets, expenditure ceilings, a municipal balanced budget requirement and rigorous budget process," as well as the central importance of promoting competitiveness in open international trade
1) The Brexit vote seemed to me a strangely American moment. Some of the lasting slogans handed down from the American revolution against England are "no taxation without representation" and "don't tread on me." Thus, for an American there was some historical irony in hearing many of the British argue, in effect, that there should be "no regulation without representation," or perhaps "no legislation without representation." There was similar irony in hearing some of the British turn loose their "don't tread on me" spirit while railing against annoying but in some sense small-scale regulatory impositions from the central power, like rules that sought to standardize shapes and sizes for fruit and vegetable produce, or the rules with force of law that sales of loose and packaged good use only metric measurements. I found myself half-expecting some "Leave" advocates to start quoting the US Declaration of Independence: "When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them ..."For a discussion of the economic studies about Brexit options and their effects, see "Brexit: Getting Concrete about Next Steps" (August 2, 2016) and "Brexit: Still a Process, Not Yet a Destination" (November 17, 2017).
"Rapid growth in leveraged lending is a concern. These commercial loans, often used by borrowers with credit ratings below investment grade for buyouts, acquisitions, or capital distributions, can leave borrowers highly indebted. Strong investor demand for these higher-yielding loans is behind the rapid growth. Less creditworthy corporations took advantage of that demand by seeking more funding in leveraged loan markets. As a result, more than $1 trillion of leveraged loans are outstanding. That is more than 11 percent of all U.S. nonfinancial debt — a record high. With the growth in leveraged lending has come a deterioration in the credit quality of newly issued loans. One sign of this decline is the high share of covenant-lite loans ... Covenants are restrictions placed on debt-issuing firms meant to increase the likelihood of payment. Another sign of deterioration in underwriting quality is that more than half of all leveraged loans issued are rated B+ or lower (that is, highly speculative). "