My Sunday morning reads:

• Ben Bernanke’s Secret Message to Congress: More Stimulus, Please (The Atlantic)
• Why Robert Khuzami Would Be a Terrible Choice to Head the SEC  Given Read (naked capitalism) see also ‘Whale’ Capsized Banks’ Rule Effort (WSJ)
• Obama Eyes $108 Billion Annual Asia Prize Vying With China Trade (Bloomberg)
• History lesson: Why the Bush tax cuts were enacted (Washington Post) see also Zachary Karabell: The bright side of the fiscal cliff (Reuters)
Nassim Taleb: My rules for life (The Guardian)
• Federal Power to Intercept Messages Is Extended (NYT)
• Greenland and Antarctica ‘have lost four trillion tonnes of ice’ in 20 years (Guardian) see also 2012 Arctic Report Card (Climate Watch)
• IQ ‘a myth,’ study says (The Star)
• Clout Diminished, Tea Party Turns to Narrower Issues (NYT) see also Is Fox Even Helping the Republicans Anymore? (Huffington Post)
• 6 Simple Rituals To Reach Your Potential Every Day (Fast Company)

What are you doing this New Year’s Eve?


Chinese growth faces a more sober economy in 2013

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.

17 Responses to “10 Sunday AM Reads”

  1. Orange14 says:

    Generally I find William Cohan’s pieces to be on the mark but not this one: Bernanke is acting because we have a dysfunctional Congress that refuses to do anything to help improve the economy. We have had extremely low inflation for some time now and with all of the new energy development (one of the biggest contributors to inflation when prices rise) I cannot see inflation being significant for some time to come. While I sympathize with those who are not collecting any interest on savings accounts or US Treasuries, I don’t think that there is any financial law guaranteeing high interest rates when there is no inflation and the economy is in the dumps. It would have been better if Cohan would offer some suggestion about how to get the economy moving again.

  2. Julia Chestnut says:

    BR, we’re doing the same thing we’ve been doing for 5 years on New Year’s Eve: hanging at a neighbor’s family party. The kind of Catholic family with 6 kids, 15 aunts and uncles (all married), so many cousins I’ve never gotten a good count – huge party. Everybody brings the older generation drinks when they run dry, and they sit in the front room and smoke and drink and just laugh. The teens, too young to drink, collect up all the keys at the start of the evening. They will drive home anyone who didn’t designate someone – or prop you up while you walk home. Everybody brings food, but there is always a ham and at least two kinds of meatballs. The tail end of all the Christmas cookies from everybody’s house get eaten, and there are usually WAY too many kids on the trampoline. Wouldn’t miss it.

  3. greydogg says:

    This is a great series by Iddhis Bing:

    Invisible Money, and How It Gets That Way by Iddhis Bing – Part 1:

    Invisible Money 2: Voyage to Luxembourg By Iddhis Bing:

    Invisible Money 3 by Iddhis Bing:

    Invisible Money 4: Of Luxembourg, London and Paris, and a Lady Named Merkiavelli by Iddhis Bing:

    Invisible Money 5 – The Cloud Factory Revisited Up The Ladder, Marius Kohl To Luc Frieden:

    The Finance Minister Speaks – An Interview with Luc Frieden, Finance Minister of Luxembourg:

  4. call me ahab says:

    “the Fed is telling us it will tolerate a bit more inflation, but it won’t create it. That’s as good an invitation as Congress is going to get to cut taxes or increase spending, at least until inflation is around 2.5 percent.”

    LAF . . .they can’t even agree to extend the tax breaks they have in place- let alone more tax breaks. Increased spending? How many more trillions I wonder will get the job done?

    Makes me wonder thought, due to the huge transition going on- with robots becoming the unskilled workers of the world (more manufacturing jobs? Robots win!) – if there is just not enough jobs to go around? Maybe more government jobs are necessity if the private sector can’t pull it off anymore?

  5. Jack Damn says:

    - Republican Senator: chances for “fiscal cliff” deal “exceedingly good”

    Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said on Sunday that chances for a small “fiscal Cliff” deal in the next 48 hours were “exceedingly good” and that President Barack Obama had won.

    “I think people don’t want to go over the cliff if we can avoid it,” Graham said on Fox News Sunday.

    “This deal won’t affect the debt situation, it will be a political victory for the president and I hope we’ll have the courage of our convictions when it comes time to raise the debt ceiling to fight for what we believe as Republicans, but hats off to the president, he won,” Graham said.

    No shock really.

  6. call me ahab says:

    from the IQ article:

    “People who play video games performed “significantly better” in terms of both reasoning and short-term memory.”

    I guess my two sons must be geniuses then . . .lol

  7. RW says:

    Robert Murphy’s Bet That Inflation Was Just Around the Corner Has Gone Absolutely Horribly Wrong

    It is generally not possible to conduct controlled experiments in the social sciences, at least since the days when most forms of human control became illegal, but every once in awhile the course of historical events gives you a reasonably clear result; even if not an unequivocal endorsement of Theory B, a rather unequivocal rejection of Theory A.

    The past few years have been a case in point: Substantial support for neo-Keynesian models at the zero bound, and for MMT as well, and a rejection of key variables and/or predictions of Supply-side and Austrian models.

    Getting folks who believed otherwise to accept the evidence and change their view is not any easier than it ever was however. Getting them to actually admit it is more difficult still …but a public bet helps.

    At some point, people really do need to mark their beliefs to market.

  8. wally says:

    “IQ ‘a myth,’ study says”

    And yet, it is easy to find people who are stupid. There is a logical disconnect somewhere here.

  9. swag says:

    NYT Mag does its yearly “The Lives They Lived” and includes Vidal Sassoon but omits Gore Vidal (who would have predicted this – he probably did). Anyway, there’s this worthy little blurb on Adam Yauch –

  10. James Cameron says:

    - Republican Senator: chances for “fiscal cliff” deal “exceedingly good”


    Yes, well, here’s a more recent one:

    ‘Major setback’ in fiscal cliff talks

    I think about the only thing that is certain is that at some point in the days or even week or two ahead something will be announced . . . but I think it highly likely that whatever is announced will have plenty of detractors on one side or another, or both. And for all this, we haven’t even entered into the debate over the debt ceiling . . .

  11. Jojo says:

    Watch More Than 2000 High-Quality Documentaries For Free
    Updated 28. December 2012 – 20:39 by rob.schifreen

    The web is full of top-quality documentary films that you can watch online for free. Trouble is, it’s difficult and time-consuming to find, grade and categorize them, so you often end up watching something that’s not up to scratch.

    Which is why is so handy. The guys behind this site have done all the hard work of locating, quality-checking and categorising everything and, as you can see from the partial list below in the screen shot, there are loads of topics to choose from. In total there’s more than 2000 videos online, all available to watch in your web browser.

    The site is free to use, too.

    My thanks to Will for suggesting this site, in a comment to a story about a similar site that I published earlier this year. That site, at is also still going strong too.

  12. RW says:

    U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook [image] : Valid December 2012 – March 31, 2013

    @Jojo, thanks for those documentary links.

  13. leveut says:

    With respect to the Bernanke Atlantic article, I am not sure I understand either the article’s reasoning or Bernanke’s actions.

    Sure one can opine that there is no inflation fear because the bond market does not have “inflation expected” rate requirments for federal debt. But isn’t that because the bond market recognizes that the current rates are low because of foreign buying as a safety measure, Federal Reserve buying and manipulation to prevent both interest rates from rising (buying increasing demand thereby lowering prices) and deflation from taking place (buying from primary dealers thereby injecting money into “the economy)? How long can the Fed keep doing that? Doesn’t doing that increase the certainty of “really bad” inflation later? When do Fed actions and Government stimulus finally hit the wall? Never? I doubt it.

    “The Fed is already buying $85 billion of bonds a month on an open-ended basis and has promised not to raise rates before unemployment falls below 6.5 percent or inflation rises above 2.5 percent. But it still thinks inflation will remain subdued, despite its bond-buying. In other words, the Fed is telling us it will tolerate a bit more inflation, but it won’t create it. ”

    If the legendary “bond vigilantes”, if any still exist decide enough is enough, won’t rates go high regardless of the inflation rate? And if that happens, what does the Fed do? If “inflation” goes above 2.5%, will the Fed be able to raise rates? If the Fed raises rates, what happens to the Federal “budget”, in terms of spending to cover interest payments (and the same question re the bond market “taking action”)?

    And what “inflation index” will the Fed use, one that actually measures inflation in the real economy or one specially constructed to avoid benefit program increases (CPI) or that is based on some theoretical economists “model” assuming what consumers substitute for other things (PCE)?

    And what unemployment rate? The U3 number? How realistic is that as a measurement of the economy?

    I don’t know, but I have a really bad feeling Bernanke and company, and those who believe in him and them, really don’t have much of an idea of what they are doing now. That they have wandered off the map into Terra Incognita with only their economists models based on economists assumptions, xref Long Term Capital Management et al., as their guides.

  14. VennData says:

    Unthinkable Cuts Almost a Reality

    “…The cuts, which members of both parties have referred to as a “meat ax,” are the product of a hastily designed 2011 law that required $110 billion in annual spending reductions over nine years to reduce the deficit. Their severity, representing close to 10% of annually appropriated spending…”

    While the right claims that the tax increases on incomes over 250K (who they also love to call “The Rich”) are a meaningless gesture not worth discussing, they refer to the as “Meat Ax” and “Unthinkable” over at Rupert Murdock’s news distribution abattoir.

    Are you starting to see why the right is being blamed? Not speaking with any arithmetic consistency is a minus with the educated. But hey, you’ll hold onto your base.

    Go GOP!

    My Party thee of Tea
    Sweet Medicare Part D
    Of thee I sing;
    Land where the gays from Maine
    Qualify for ‘ball and chain’
    Which makes me burst a vein
    Let innumerates reign.

  15. RW says:

    @Venndata, hence why Ezra Klein’s assessment of The Republican Party in one tweet is spot on:

    Today’s Republican Party thinks the key problem America faces is out-of-control entitlement spending. But cutting entitlement spending is unpopular and the GOP’s coalition relies heavily on seniors. And so they don’t want to propose entitlement cuts. If possible, they’d even like to attack President Obama for proposing entitlement cuts. But they also want to see entitlements cut and will refuse to solve the fiscal cliff or raise the debt ceiling unless there are entitlement cuts.

    You can see why these negotiations aren’t going well.

  16. Mike in Nola says:

    Tomorrow night, I’ll probably be watching the second half of Lawrence of Arabia after the wife goes to bed at her usual 9pm like every New Year’s Eve. Will also be drinking some home made egg nog. I watched the first half of the movie tonight for the first time in a while and it makes you realize what great moviemaking used to be about. No vampires, aliens, special powers or chase scenes. No special effects, just great photography, dialog and acting. Wonderful cast.

    During the day, I’ll be making red beans. Just got back from the grocery to get some so I could soak them overnight. I had bought some traditional black eye peas, but the wife want’s red beans and what Lola wants…. Will be using the bone from a spiral sliced ham I made for Christmas. If any of the Gentiles out there want to cook a spiral sliced ham, get the America’s Test Kitchen recipe. It’s clever and works well to allow you to heat the ham with a glaze without drying it out.

    Everyone have a good New Year.

  17. TacomaHighlands says:

    What am I doing on New Year’s Eve? Catching up on TBP (got behind on my reading) and taking down decorations. In bed with my honey by 9 pm PST. Sleeping will be on the agenda eventually. Whoo-hoo!