Some items I found worth perusing –

• China New Village Makes Chanos See Dubai 1,000 Times (Bloomberg)
• Debt Deals Haunt Europe (WSJ)
• The Deflationist: How Paul Krugman found politics (The New Yorker)
Former SEC Chair Arthur Levitt on Risk and Discipline in the Financial Markets (WSJ OpEd)
• AIG Death Spiral Ends as Bailout Support Brings Stable Revenue (Bloomberg)
• Credit card relief is here, but watch out for new traps (CNN/Money)
• Accidentally Lets Its Domain Expire (DJMT)
• Fear the blobfish (LATimes)
• Roger Ebert: The Essential Man (Esquire)

What are you reading?

Category: Financial Press

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

22 Responses to “Monday Readings”

  1. Scott F says:

    I like this:

    Toyota Cited $100 Million Savings After Limiting Recall

    Very Ford Pinto like –

    also, Caroline Baum is always a good read:

    Bernanke Can Tell Congress He Stiffed the Banks

    Banks buy time restructuring loans, for the moment

  2. bsneath says:

    China cross currents

    Labor shortage puts squeeze on Delta

    China tourism revenue up 26.9% during Spring Festival holiday period

    Buyers tap subsidy to splurge on autos

    China’s daily power generation up 30% over Spring Festival

  3. Drewbie says:

    Rolling Stone’s domain name did NOT expire.

    There is glitch (probably at Akamai) causing to not redirect to

    BUT that does not explain the NSI “under construction” parked page (with NSI pocketing money from clicks) that some people have been seeing. Still looking for an answer to that one. hopefully will get an answer to that puppy soon.

  4. Mike S says:

    Arthur Levitt has the audacity to lecture us about good risk control. Wasn’t he like in charge of stuff for a while, and in a good place to actually do something about it?


  5. TakBak04 says:

    Our Plutocracy: A Sobering New Portrait
    February 20, 2010
    Filed Under
    Never before, suggests a new look at America’s highest 400 incomes from the IRS, have so few made so much at the expense of so many.

    By Sam Pizzigati

    The IRS has released, with not a trace of fanfare, the latest figures on America’s 400 highest incomes. A shame. These new IRS figures deserve fanfare, at least a trumpet blast or two. Our top 400, the new numbers show, have moved into an exalted realm. They now rank among the greatest plunderers of all time.

    Vandals and Huns, move over. Conquistadors, make room. You all have met your match — in the kingpins of high finance, hedge funds, and Silicon Valley who sit at the tippy top of 21st century America’s economic summit.

    In 2007, the new IRS data show, the top 400 tax returns filed in the United States reported, on average, an incredible $344.8 million each in income.

    Need some help placing this sum in perspective? How about a little history? The $344.8 million average the top 400 reported in 2007 — the year before the economy crashed — represents more than five times the average income of 1992’s top 400, and that’s after taking inflation into account.

    The IRS official figures on top 400 incomes only go back to 1992. But we can assemble comparable totals from earlier IRS data releases. For 1961, we can calculate an average income for the top 398. This near-400 averaged, in 2007 dollars, just over $14 million, or 25 times less than their top 400 peers in 2007.

    Enough history? How about geography? America’s 400 highest earners in 2007 reported more income than the entire population of Kentucky, a state over 4.2 million people strong.

    Want more of a workplace perspective? The typical American private sector worker in 2007 would have had to work over 11,000 years to equal the income the average top 400 deep pocket took home in just one.

    We don’t know, from the new IRS stats, the identities of the top 400, in 2007 or in any other recent year. The IRS doesn’t name names. But we do have a fairly good idea, from previous news reports, about some of enormously fortunate who almost certainly spent 2007 in top 400 territory.

    A good chunk of this top 400 hailed from the hedge fund world. In 2007, according to the financial industry trade journal Alpha, 50 hedge fund managers made at least $210 million each, well above the $138.8 million minimum needed over the course of the year to reach top 400 status.

    The biggest hedge fund income in 2007 belonged to John Paulson. His achievement? Paulson bet that the housing bubble would pop and profited royally — to the tune of well over $3 billion — from the misery that resulted.

    Other top 400 incomes in 2007 came from private equity, that shadowy world where power suits borrow other people’s money to buy out troubled publicly traded companies, then pay off their debt by axing jobs and squeezing consumers. The windfall profits — for the private equity wheelers and dealers — come when the “fixed” company gets sold back to Wall Street investors.

    Private equity firms, unlike publicly traded companies, don’t have to reveal their executive pay. But sometimes details sneak out, as they did in 2007 when the Blackstone Group, the nation’s top private equity outfit, decided to sell its own shares on Wall Street. That sale handed $684 million to Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman, on top of the $180.1 million he drew that year as chief exec.

    Not all the top 400 of 2007 made their fortunes speculating on mortgages or playing private equity games. Some of the year’s highest incomes came out of the executive suites of America’s biggest corporations.

    Oracle software CEO Larry Ellison, for instance, collected $61.2 million in annual pay for 2007 and pocketed another $181.8 million cashing out stock options he took home in previous years. Ellison’s money-making genius? He buys up competitors, grabs their customers, then fires their workers.

    The most amazing aspect of the top 400 picture in 2007 may actually not be the hundreds of millions the 400 individually pocketed. That most amazing aspect may be the hundreds of millions that remained in their pockets after taxes.

    In 2007, the top 400 paid only 16.6 percent of their total incomes in federal income tax, down from 17.2 percent in 2006 — and down even more from the 29.9 percent effective tax rate on the top 400 in 1995. In other words, in just a dozen years, the tax rate on America’s super rich dropped by almost half.

    Go back a few decades and the current tax “burden” on our super rich becomes even more remarkably light. In 1955, the nation’s top 400 — to be precise, the top 427, the total available from IRS historical records — paid 51.2 percent of their incomes in federal tax, over triple the tax rate on top 400 incomes in 2007.

    How huge a tax break are today’s super rich getting? If 2007’s top 400 had paid their federal taxes at the same rate as 1955’s most financially favored, the federal treasury would have collected an additional $47.7 billion.

    Those billions, in 2007, would have been enough to increase federal aid to state and local governments for infrastructure projects by over two-thirds. Or nearly double the nation’s entire 2007 outlay for scientific research.

    More with Chart from IRS at the site. (I don’t know this blog…but I liked what what they said…something new)

  6. TakBak04 says:

    OOPS…I did it again. This needs editing… Is there a way to edit on this “Blogger” site? Maybe the original blogger will be so happy to have their “stuff” posted they won’t sue BR….but I didn’t want this to come out with so many graphs…

    Sorry. Where are Barry’s elves….can they cut this down?

    Anyway…the chart at the original site which I tried to post is worth a look. That’s how I screwed up…trying to post that, I guess.

  7. Thor says:

    I’m reading this -

    BR – there’s a very nice mention of you in the article.

  8. TakBak04 says:

    Thor Says:
    February 22nd, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    I’m reading this -


    There’s a good Cartoon there, too. A sight that get’s little notice…quiet and working.

  9. wunsacon says:

    I hope to see more salary increases in the PRC…

    It seems the PRC (and the US) prefer PRC-domestic wage-inflation in lieu of PRC-currency strengthening. Probably because they, too, prefer to bail out their domestic RRE/CRE markets via inflation instead of sending everyone through bankruptcy proceedings.

    Nice links, folks.

  10. torrie-amos says:


    cool links, very interesting, man, talk about cash for clunkers, them chinese obviously like free also

  11. bsneath says:

    torrie-amos – Chanos may be correct, but I keep looking at the facts such as China is growing in spite of with 6 – 1 capital ratios, 25% – 40% down payment requirements on homes, 50% savings rates, $2.3 trilli0n in forex (compared to our $43 billion), and an 80o million labor force, and I got to think that maybe they are doing things just a bit better than we are at the moment.

  12. bsneath says:

    If the nation were run by moderates, we would be exploiting natural gas.

    Tech-Driven Natgas Boom Shifts Energy Balance Of Power To U.S.

  13. alfred e says:

    I am reading about how BSO has so incredibly politicized economic job stimulation and mortgage relief.

    HE doesn’t allow the housing market to clear. He doles out a few billion to preferred states (Nevada – care to guess why?), and give “small businessmen” tax credits to stimulate jobs.

    Excuse me. Why doesn’t he just drop trou and piss into the wind? What kind of pretend action is this?????

    Our infrastructure is crumbling around our feet, and we are pouring hundreds of billions into helping people tens of thousands of miles away kill each other. War is a racket.

    But the military contracting fat cats are shipping tankers of cash off-shore.

  14. Chief Tomahawk says:

    BR: This aired last night on “60 Minutes”: “The Bloom Box”. Could be revolutionary!;cbsCarousel

  15. arthur.i says:

    This is not a read but a watch. It is awe inspiring. The Opportunity of Adversity –

    I read the Esquire piece on Ebert a few days ago…awe inspiring as well.

  16. torrie-amos says:


    yeah, i follow china, got a couple of news site links, and have read and seen all the chanos stuff, as an ex-construction exec. i’ve seen the booms and busts first hand, there’s a ton of conflicting information, like the link with 30% increase in electricity, which was the bitch 2 years ago, that elec down 10% but there growth was printing 7% which didn’t match with reality, personally i’ve been struggling to get a handle on it for 3 years

    chief Tomahawk,

    man, i saw that, i believe it 100%, they edited that story brilliantly, like when they go, “does it work?”, and the guy goes, well, “lets see what the customers say”…………….

    i could be wrong, yet, i thought it was as revolutionary as the first micro-chip

    i also thought they had the right sales strategy, ie, go with whose got the money, big money, the ute’s……………which if this thing is real, is perfect for them, they could transition and any metric they want, a power plant eventually runs thru it’s life span, and the transition from central too local is do-able imho

  17. Chief Tomahawk says:

    torrie, watch the dollar plummet and the cost of producing the Bloom Box skyrocket… Then again, such an occurrence would sen any kind of fuel/power higher.

  18. Taliesyn says:

    “TakBak04 Says:
    “….In 2007, the top 400 paid only 16.6 percent of their total incomes in federal income tax, down from 17.2 percent in 2006 — and down even more from the 29.9 percent effective tax rate on the top 400 in 1995. In other words, in just a dozen years, the tax rate on America’s super rich dropped by almost half…..”

    Thanks TakBako4 for these cold , hard numbers which hopefully puts to bed , among the intellectually honest at least , this outrageously false sop to the top 1 percenters that they pay *most* of the taxes. Wish Larry ” Citizen Gekko” Kudlow and his spilled ilk would be more intellectually honest , but then you sop up to whom you’re cheerleading for and advertising to.
    Great cry of “bullshit in a crowded theatre* award to TakBakto4. Now we all know and the supply-side moonies can stick in their ear.