My afternoon train reads:

• Reports of economy’s death are premature (MarketWatch) but see Pimco: Stocks dead, bonds deader till 2022 (MarketWatch)
• Mobile Market Share Not Equivalent to Usage Share (TenFingerCrunch)
• The 401(k) Is a $240 Billion Waste (The Atlantic) see also Most Savers Are Passive, Little Influenced by Tax Breaks (WSJ)
• The fiscal cliff is a lie (Salon)
• Reversing the Brain Drain (FT Alphaville)
• China’s ubiquitous ghost cities (FT Alphaville) see also In China, Hidden Risk of ‘Shadow Finance’ (WSJ)
• How PRWeb Helps Distribute Crap Into Google & News Sites (Search Engine Land)
• The statisticians at Fox News use classic and novel graphical techniques to lead with data (Simply Statistics)
• Behind Seth Green’s stop-motion animation success (CNNMoney)
• Hilarious new tumblr!  Floor Charts (Senate Charts)

What are you reading?


Hot and bothered

Source: The Economist

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.

16 Responses to “10 Tuesday PM Reads”

  1. call me ahab says:

    “The 401(k) Is a $240 Billion Waste “

    no doubt – as is the mortgage interest deduction

    people will save and people will still buy homes (but won’t have have the luxury of factoring in the deduction to justify leveraging up on a bigger home) with or without a deduction

    added benefit for getting rid of the tax free retirement savings- Uncle Sam is not in your pocket for an extra 10% (why the penalty on your own money?) for taking money out early- I know a few folks that got stuck in that trap (trying to keep things afloat) by cashing in some retirement funds

    so not only do you pay the tax due- you hand Uncle Sam a staggering 10% premium for access to your own money-

    what a deal!

  2. rd says:

    Re: 401k articles

    It looks like the 1% want employers completely out of the retirement funding game. Several points:

    1. The 401k and 403b is the vehicle that employers used to replace pension plans. I don’t think that the rules are structured to allow simple employer contributions to IRAs or other savings accounts without complex contracts like the typical CEO has. Presumably this drumbeat is being started to provide a reason why employers can completely eliminate any costs for employee retirement. this is a deiscussion that should be done directly, not through surrogate arguments.

    2. The litigous nature of the US meant that for many years employers did not want to mandate automatic enrollment in 401ks or to provide investment advice as to which fund the default fund should be for fear of being sued. Providing provisions to eliminate that risk means that many more employers are now doing auto enrollment into Target Date or similar funds. This is very recent, so there will be little data now on the long-term impact of this move – I expect it will be quite positive.

    3. The US (as usual) makes retirement saving extremely complex with an alphabet soup of different savings plans with many different rules. The average person is not a tax accountant. There is definitely huge room for simplification and normalization across platforms. An example: if you leave a company after 10 years of service, then you can withdraw funds from the 401k at age 55 without penalty as long as you do not roll it over into an IRA. If you do roll it over, then you would owe the 10% penalty on the withdrawn funds until age 59-1/2..

    4. Many of these plans are tax-deferred, so while there are some apparently obvious subsidy aspects to the rule, in the end the IRS gets a pretty good cut in the long-term. The Bush tax cuts actually built in a fairly large tax penalty of its own for non-Roth accounts because there is a big difference between capital gains and dividend tax rates compared to ordinary income that applies to the withdrawals in the retirement. so the tax deferment in a non-Roth account could easily result in double the taxes paid on a long-term capital gain cashed out at the same time. Since you need to have the tax deferral on the original income to make up for that difference in tax rates, does it really count as a subsidy or just a good incentive to save? the Roth accounts, which would really eliminate that difference in the tax rates are generally unavailable for higher income-earners who would most benefit from them, so clearly that particular subsidy is not provided for the upper middle-class.

  3. romerjt says:

    Does this qualify as a Black Swan, Peter King calls Grover a “lowlife”? How long does it take grasp that Grover enjoys his perch way more than principle or even ideology would suggest. He is increasingly revealing that any self-respecting Republican is going to seriously embarrassed by having pledged their allegiance to this twerp. A favorite line from a Leonard Cohen song, “there is a crack, a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in”. hear it here

  4. Mike in Nola says:

    Apple fires guy deemed responsible for maps fiasco:

    Apparently the other one was canned just cause his is a _____. (Insert expletive of choice.)

  5. Jack Damn says:

    Ah, I love that “The fiscal cliff is a lie” article on Salon. Good stuff. Thanks for that.


    - The greatest Google Mail feature you may not be using

    “There’s a wonderfully powerful and subtle technique in Google Mail that can be used to enhance every reply you make to a mail: if you select an area of a message and then hit Reply only the selected text will be quoted in the response.”

  6. James Cameron says:

    Google has had some miscues with the release of its lovely Nexus 4 device . . . two weeks ago it sold out within minutes in the US, leaving a lot of frustrated customers in the dark regarding when it would become available again. This morning the company announced the phone would be available at 12 noon PST . . . but within minutes it was sold out again and customers were left with yet another several week delay:

  7. “…Peter King calls Grover a “lowlife”…”

    “Trashing the Messenger to ‘Trash’ the (other) Message..”

    The Electronic Communications Privacy Act – Are Your Emails and Cloud Documents Protected?
    Monday, November 26, 2012 1:42 PM | Digital Liberty
    Americans for Tax Reform and the American Civil Liberties Union published a joint editorial in The Hill’s Congress Blog regarding the Electronic Communica… More


    “…The Federal Communications Commission has consistently overstepped its bounds with regard to regulation of the Internet. Without Congressional consent, it has attempted to expand its own jurisdiction to regulate Internet traffic. For a federal agency of unelected bureaucrats to attempt to control this amount of economic activity without the consent of Congress is more than disconcerting. Thankfully, there are many elected officials who agree.

    The Network Neutrality rule would give the federal government, through the FCC, the power to regulate how Internet service providers manage data traveling across their networks. While proponents claim this would ensure the equal treatment of online data, in reality it would result in slower Internet speeds, network congestion, and the creation of a legal foundation for further government regulation of the Internet…”

  8. S Brennan says:

    In the Alphaville “Brain Drain” a commenter writes:

    “The only important thing is for the developed countries to directly compensate the developing countries for the educational investment lost (~ $200K per graduate).”

    Just slightly off, the company hiring the “state financed training recipient” should directly compensate the country that did the financing. The “private” company is paying the “state financed training employee” less because that employee has a free education and has no need to pay off student loans, whereas an American citizen has to pay for theirs. The “private” company is the state welfare recipient…let them pay.

  9. RW says:

    Anchor Accuses Top House Progressive Of Tanking Markets By Appearing On CNBC

    Michelle Caruso-Cabrera throws her bra in the ring for the Stupidest Person Alive award by accusing Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) of crashing the market by refusing to throw sick and old people under the bus but he manages to prevent his head from exploding. Other CNBC anchors are clearly not giving up pursuit of the prize but whether any of them including the inimitable Caruso-Cabrera can overcome the commanding lead of Dick Morris, Peggy Noonan, George Will, et al in predicting a Romney landslide victory remains doubtful.

    This isn’t the The Onion, just Poe’s Law and Corollary being confirmed once again.

  10. Mike in Nola says:

    Halloween lights is done even better:

  11. gman says:

    401k, mortgage interest, state and local deductiblity, none of these really matter much to oligarch! Carried interest & cap gains do matter, which is why they will stay at 15% for Mitt & Sheldon. Being a working stiff in a high tax area with an expensive home it looks like my effective burden is going to 40%+.

  12. gman says:

    Looks like the massive frown shaped incidence of tax burden is set to increase even more. As Krugman and Gordon Gekko/say “the player will be protected at the expense of the wall street working stiff”

  13. VennData says:

    Durbin to progressives: Taxing rich won’t solve our problems,0,3123621.story

    “He never said that. He said that we need French-like 75% tax rates on everyone, and take their guns and burn their flags. Who do you trust, me, or those Chicago guys?”

    – Jack Welch.