Welcome to the first weekend reads of the new year — these are our favorite longer form reads from over the past week (or so). Pour a cup of coffee, settle into the comfy couch, and enjoy:

Kevin Drum: America’s Real Criminal Element: Lead (MoJo)
• How Great Companies Think Differently (Harvard Business Review) see also Hartmut Esslinger’s early apple computer and tablet designs (designboom)
• Less, Please (Commonweal)
• Why Workers Are Losing the War Against Machines (The Atlantic)
• The Rise of the Third Coast (New Geography)
• A Pickpocket’s Tale: The spectacular thefts of Apollo Robbins (The New Yorker)
The Data Vigilante: Students aren’t the only ones cheating—some professors are, too. Uri Simonsohn is out to bust them (The Atlantic)
• The NRA’s hidden power (Los Angeles Times)
• The culture of the copy (The New Criterion) see also Monopoly Is Theft (Harper’s)

What are you up to this weekend?


How Much Will Your Taxes Jump?   

Source: WSJ

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.

15 Responses to “10 Weekend Reads”

  1. mathman says:


    “An interesting article came to my attention via a referral from The Big Picture. The economics editor of the Sydney Morning Herald, Ross Gittins, has written an article, The four business gangs that run the US, which is a review of Jeffrey Sachs book, The Price of Civilisation. Sachs should have entitled his book ’The Price of Capitalism’. In order to protect corporate interests, the exploiters will always use their wealth to bribe the political system (such as campaign contributions and promises of lucrative positions in the private sector after leaving government posts). We are all familiar with feedback loops in terms of climate change, but there also exists one within our socio-economic system which is extremely destructive. ”

    (the article goes on and is worth the read, if you aren’t convinced that capitalism is the greatest invention of mankind)

  2. PeterR says:

    Hilarious that the “Less, Please” article would require so many words to make its point!

    ” . . . we have moved away from a properly human ideal of a good life.”

    John Mauldin’s new letter about the end of Ponzi financing worldwide is disturbing IMO.


    Have a good weekend.

    PS — OT site comment — when I bookmark the desktop home page on my iPad Mini, the next time I open it I get the new mobile home page. When you do the new desktop home page can this switch be prevented? Thanks as always for a great site!

  3. decaturbob says:

    there is so much that needs to be done with the taxcode and probably why nothing ever is done.

    1. corporate tax and tax policy to address retained earnings so business can not sit on billions. Make the choices simple, set a defined period before they are taxed each year until its spent or distributed
    2. limit corporate stock buybacks to a given percent.
    3. review stock options, why should corporate management be given such outlandish compensation packages

  4. spooz says:

    Sad about Iceland. Michael Hudson was talking about the vulture funds back in 2011:


  5. jenkins says:

    Taibbi’s latest,


    You might have posted this already. Nothing new, per se, but a decent encapsulation of where we still are with our financial system. A nice reminder of the rot all around us with some shiny wallpaper over it.

    A good way to start the weekend fired-up/depressed.

  6. ilsm says:

    Teddy Roosevelt had some ideas on corporations out of control/monopoly and trust busting.

    “Our aim is not to do away with corporations; on the contrary, these big aggregations are an inevitable development of modern industrialism, and the effort to destroy them would be futile unless accomplished in ways that would work the utmost mischief to the entire body politic. We can do nothing of good in the way of regulating and supervising these corporations until we fix clearly in our minds that we are not attacking the corporations, but endeavoring to do away with any evil in them. We are not hostile to them; we are merely determined that they shall be so handled as to subserve the public good. We draw the line against misconduct, not against wealth.”

    NRA hidden powers: attract people who prefer killing some “bad guy” to giving up their stuff…………….. Many of them probably watch the AMC zombie series and identify. They used to do hunter safety and hold target shooting matches for folks wanting to shoot the WW II M-1 Garands. Now .30 cal is just too much on the shoulders.

  7. RW says:

    A couple thoughtful pieces from Paul Krugman today, less ticked-off than usual: not that I mind that since, even when pissed, he still gets things right more often than not (which is possibly why a lot of folks get pissed off at him).

    Monetary Rage

    Every once in a while I either publish an op-ed or make a blog post that induces incoherent rage in a certain number of readers. …Oddly, the writings that elicit such responses tend *not* to involve political commentary. Instead, they’re most often straight economic analysis, based in many cases on perfectly ordinary applications of IS-LM type reasoning.

    Ideology and Economics

    [panel discussion]…here’s how I read the Gordon and Dahl results: what they show is that most of what economists do is indeed fairly objective and non-ideological; business-cycle macro, although it’s not at all like that, is a small enough part of the academic field that their data don’t pick it up.

    Unfortunately, while business-cycle macro may not be a large part of what economists do, it’s a field that matters a lot – especially with the world still facing its worst economic crisis in three generations. …

    NB: I read Mauldin because his target audience is primarily conservative, rich folks and insight into where that audience seems likely to put their money and/or exert their political influence is quite useful as Josh Brown pointed out (ht TBP). Some of the analysis is good in its own right too if you keep that slant in mind; e.g., this issue makes some solid points WRT private debt but then commits the common error of treating government debt in essentially the same terms.

    I really do believe investment analysts, even those who don’t particularly focus on macroeconomics, could improve their game if they took a course in national accounting or at least understood the differences between national accounting and business accounting …come to think of it, a course like that ought to be mandatory for Congress critters.

  8. VennData says:

    Obama says U.S. can’t afford more showdowns over debt, deficits


    Boehner couldn’t pull together his plan B, so we went back to Obama’s plan A, at the nation’s request.

    Then Boehner tried to create a hammer to use on Northeastern Congressmen by delaying the vote on Sandy Aid, at the nation’s request.

    Next if they can’t come to an agreement any any GOP say they want to shut down gov’t, Obama will say you didn’t the last umpteen times we needed to raise the debt ceiling, grow up, and , at the nation’s request they will raise it.

    Are you seeing a pattern here? Wouldn’t it be fun to be in the room when the GOP sees the same pattern?

  9. DRR says:

    The Rise of the Third Coast

    The Third Coast will be to the Millennials what the East/West Coast was to the Boomers-the place to make your economic place in History.

  10. Jojo says:

    The Fiscal Cliff Deal and the Damage Done
    By Peter Coy on January 02, 2013

    Ordinarily we call a deal in which neither side gets what it wants a victory for democracy. Shared sacrifice produces moderation and probity. But any process in which the Speaker of the House tells the Senate Majority Leader “Go f-?-?- yourself,” as John Boehner instructed Harry Reid at the height of fiscal cliff madness, deserves just a bit of examination.

    The Jan. 1 deal, which Wall Street cheered, moderates tax increases and spending cuts that would have amounted to more than $600 billion in 2013. It’s worth noting, though, that the fiscal cliff was the mooncalf monster-child of Congress itself. The automatic spending cuts (“sequester”) were invented by an act of Congress a mere 17 months ago after the 2011 debt ceiling showdown. To praise this new deal as an accomplishment is to praise an arsonist for extinguishing his own fire.

    Congress voted to permanently preserve the Bush tax cuts for roughly 99 percent of taxpaying households, but the rate increase for the 1 Percent has infuriated antitax purists, who vow to exact more spending cuts in a couple of months, when the U.S. faces the triple threat of a debt ceiling, postponed automatic spending cuts, and expiration of the law that keeps the government funded. The arsonists now have a new box of matches.

    Why have Americans been sentenced to this years-long cycle of pettiness, delay, and zero-sum gamesmanship? You could argue it’s a crisis of leadership–that our elected representatives are examples of our worst, most partisan selves. That seems unlikely. Rather, the budget conflict, at its essence, is a clash over something that rarely lends itself to compromise: morality.


  11. petessake says:

    Thanks for the lead – crime causation article.
    It may be instructive taking the research 2 steps forward: 1) shooting atmospherics; and 2) ingestion, to analyze lead ingestion affects on the routine shooting and hunting public, and thus, any increased causation for criminal activity.

    The vast majority of shooting projectiles are lead. The violent expulsion of lead from a barrel, the contact with the lans, etc., causes miniscule lead atmospherics both at the muzzle and the breech. This is masked by the greater atmospherics of the burnt gunpowder. It would interesting research ascertaining the long term effects of this localized atmospheric lead ingestion among routine shooters and causal criminal behavior.

    Studies exist on lead oral ingestion from hunting – but the article provided alludes that more research is needed. Folks eating lead-killed meat ingest lead through direct ingestion of lead pellets (used to kill game birds, waterfowl, and some small mammals (rabbits, etc.)). (Studies show that waterfowl become lead poisoned from field ingestion of spent lead pellets and similarly condors poison themselves by ingesting lead from deer carcases.) Also the minute spalling or microscopic break-up of lead bullets contaminates great areas of a carcass inches, sometimes more than a foot from the entry or exit wound. X-raying packaged venison, elk, etc., reveals the extent of the lead contamination in meat processed for human consumption.

    Too many in the hunting community and their lobbyists foolishly protest efforts to restrict or ban leads’ use in pellets or bullets – arguing the minimalist harm, which according to the article provided is old science. A causal link to criminal activity may be what it takes for these folks to finally pay attention.

  12. Chad says:

    Yeah, the lead article is well worth a read. Scary statistics. I’m not sure I would ever buy an old house, if I had kids, after reading this. I wonder if there are lead concentration in soil maps for all major cities? If anyone stumbles on them they should post the links here.