I joined the business section of the Washington Post in the middle of a financial crisis. That had its upsides -- I was never bored -- but also its downsides. For instance: Markets dropping for no reason? That's suddenly my problem. Europe imploding? My problem. Federal Reserve announcing some new program with a long acronym and an even longer explanation? My problem. Some economic indicator that I've never heard of has come in lower than expected? My problem.

Neil Irwin, Wonkblog's new economics editor. (Photo: Steve Goldberg)

But I quickly developed a foolproof method for dealing with these problems: Ask Neil Irwin.

When I got to the Post, Neil was our Federal Reserve reporter. But he was also, as it turned out, our macroeconomy reporter. And one of our market interpreters. And the guy who dealt with new, weird economic data. And the only person in the office who seemed really, truly comfortable using the Bloomberg terminal. And the only person I knew who was writing a book on the global efforts that central banks mounted against the financial crisis (that book, titled "The Alchemists: Three Central Bankers and a World on Fire," will be published in the Spring, and you can pre-order it here).

Here's the thing about my "ask Neil Irwin" plan: It pretty much always worked. He either knew the answer, or knew who knew the answer. I'd usually walk away from our conversations thinking that rather than hearing me recount whatever fraction of his explanation I understood, it'd be much better if you all could hear from Neil directly.

Well, now you can.

I'm thrilled to announce that, as of today, Neil is joining Wonkblog as our economics editor. In that capacity, he'll be writing a daily column called Econ Agenda, as well as helping expand our coverage of the U.S. and global economies, central banks, business and finance -- as well as whatever else he thinks worth writing about, which has, in the past, been everything from Sweden's curious strength in the face of recessions to the financials of the Olive Garden and Red Lobster chains. Neil will also lead a broader effort on the site to expand our coverage of U.S. and global economic trends and what's going on at the world's central banks and financial markets.

Wonkblog's mission has always been to provide you with the best, most informed, most comprehensive coverage of domestic and economic policy available anywhere. With Neil on-board, we'll be able to do a much better job of that.