from Follow the Money


I am stepping down from my position at the Council of Foreign Relations to take a new job. That, among other things, means that I will not be blogging here for the foreseeable future.

I am enormously honored to have been asked to join the Biden-Harris administration and excited by the opportunity to help implement the Build Back Better agenda. The need to build back, and to build back better, is even more obvious now than it was when I joined the transition a few months ago.

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I also want to extend a special thanks to the Council on Foreign Relations for being such a congenial home for me, and for this blog, over the last five years.

Richard Haass, James Lindsay, and Shannon O’Neil gave me an unusual amount of flexibility. In today’s world, no one really hires a think tank fellow to comment on tax structures that touch Ireland, Puerto Rico’s debt, the hedging strategies of Asia’s life insurers, Turkey’s (lack of) reserves, Taiwan’s excess reserves, dollar liquidity swaps, Argentina’s bond restructuring, and the G20’s debt service suspension initiative. It is not exactly an obvious work program.

Of course, I also wrote about China. Often. Both here and at Foreign Affairs. I am proud of standing in front of the train projecting that China would soon be running a current account deficit and saying “stop and think about China’s savings rate.”

There is a common denominator linking all these issues: all, or at least almost all, emerged out of my ongoing effort to understand the global flow of funds.

It has been enormously gratifying to build an audience for a blog that is fundamentally based on applied balance of payments analysis. And at times, pretty weedy balance of payments analysis.

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Good numbers and solid graphs, I hope, offset my bad spelling.*

Thanks to all who read my work here—and special thanks to those who reached out after reading a blog to provide additional insight and color. I enjoyed the feedback, both via email and on Twitter.

And, for now, farewell.**


* The graphs would not have been possible without the Council’s investment in data, which I enormously appreciate.

** Special thanks to my research associates Cole Frank, Dylan Yalbir, and Lauren Dudley. They all got a crash course on charting. And generally, soon outclassed me.

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