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A 28-Year-Old With No Degree Becomes a Must-Read on the Economy

Subscribers to Nathan Tankus’s newsletter, Notes on the Crises, aren’t bothered by his lack of diplomas.

Nathan Tankus, 28, hasn’t finished his bachelor’s degree at New York City’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He has, however, mastered enough knowledge of economics and finance to become a widely followed commentator on the Federal Reserve. A newsletter he launched this year has followers at the Fed, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Department of the Treasury. He’s also followed on Twitter by journalists, economic think-tankers, and Wall Street economists.

Tankus built an online following slowly since around 2015, but it’s only in the past year that he’s broadened his audience with deep dives into monetary mechanics. In September he diagnosed the dislocations in the secured lending market that forced the Fed to resume buying Treasury bonds on a massive scale.  This year he wrote a series of detailed posts called Notes on the Crises, which explained the Fed’s emergency actions to combat the Covid-19 recession. He made extensive use of T-accounts, a tool of accountants that places assets on the left and liabilities on the right.