Good Memorial Day morning. It looks to be a lovely day, so before heading out to the beach or lake or picnic or where ever you may be off to, have a look at my roundup of found interesting items:

• What Type of Financial Investor Are You? (Howard Lindzon)
• Goldman pushes hedge funds for your 401(k) (Fortune) see also Rob Arnott: Most hedge funds disappoint (Fortune)
• How to Spot the Next Short Squeeze (MoneyBeat)
• The Falling-Bridge Lesson: The U.S. Infrastructure Failure Is Still Totally Inexcusable (Atlantic) see also Bridge Collapse in Washington State Sends Cars Into River (Bloomberg)
• What All Classical Economic Thinkers Can Agree About (Forbes)
• Europe’s Lost Keynesians (Project Syndicate) see also The banking crisis as a giant carry trade gone wrong (Vox)
• Nikkei 225 Deformed as Japan Yardstick by Fast Retailing’s Rise (Bloomberg)
• Reminder: Shit Gets Better (TRB) see also California Faces a New Quandary, Too Much Money (NYT)
• Yes, Silicon Valley, You Are as Exactly as Vain as They Say (Valley Wag)
• Battle of the Beach (WSJ)

What are you reading?


Earnings Not Yet a Viral Sensation
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.

25 Responses to “10 Monday Reads”

  1. Mike in Nola says:

    Saw you tweeted stuff getting better. About the California situation. Was an obvious result of BB’s Housing Bubble2(TM). Higher property prices (values?) = more revenue. Skeptical whether it lasts.

  2. rd says:

    The first big fiscal mistake was the unabated deregulation starting in the late 90s that allowed large bubbles to form and then pop in 2007-09.

    The second big fiscal mistake was pretending that wars don’t need to be paid for (leaving out the whole argument about whether or not the war should be fought at all).

    The third big fiscal mistake was viewing the 2009 recession as this little one-off 12 month thing instead of a long, grinding, painnful recovery. As a result, the politicians burbled on about quick spending on shovel-ready projectws that could never have existed. As a result, we tossed some bucks at paving roads and painting signs, but missed a huge opportunity to really kick-start the economy over a five-year time frame by funding rational public works bills with timelines of 5 to 10 years.

    EIS reports and NEPA reviews take several years for new projects. These are streamlined for replacement projects (like replacing an existing bridge). The earlier you start on this process, the earlier you can actually build something which is where 90% of the spend and jobs are.

    Design will typically take 1 to 3 years, even on a very expedited basis. Public procurement of construction, in order to manage graft and corruption, will typically take 6 to 12 months. It is basically not possible to start building anything major in less than 2 to 3 years. Construction takes another 1 to 5 years depending on the size of the project.

    Some real foresight by the politicians (possible oxymoron?) would have been setting us up with significant construction projects that would already be underway with more in the pipeline. Sinkholes in major cities due to breaking waterl lines and sewer lines would be reducing, fewer bridges would be in danger of collapsing, schools and other public buildings could be reinforced to provide better safety to occupants in tornadoes, hurricanes, etc. And unemployment would be 1% to 2% lower with median income rising.

    You structure funding the easy stuff (replacement of infrastructure) first while you fund planning the infrastructure you really need for the future to occur in that timeframe, so it is ready to go as the replacement stuff finishes up. A 10-year infrastructure for the future push would essentially eradicate much of the depression part of this generational adjustment thing we are in.

  3. RW says:

    Accurate and Inaccurate Ways of Portraying the Debt-and-Growth Association

    The way data are represented matters …a lot; most ways of representing the data set Reinhart and Rogoff (RR) used reveals nothing like their conclusions even if all error is removed. RR didn’t just make technical mistakes, they made choices, and this branch of their work was not just research, it was a policy argument. So an legitimate question then becomes: Is this true of the rest of their work also?

    • Petey Wheatstraw says:

      I believe R&R’s work was not simply sloppy, it was politically motivated and intentionally kept from the peer review process. Darlings of the ‘austerity for the masses, wealth for the few’ cabal.

      Nice way to have your bucket filled by trickle down wealth, if no one checks your methodology.

  4. lrh says:

    The infrastructure article in The Atlantic had some worthwhile facts, valuable comments and a great link to review.

    Numbers, data, some balanced conclusions… It’s a good start.

  5. PeterR says:

    At least the Washington I-5 bridge collapse had a known immediate cause in the semi’s over-sized load.

    Ditto to rd’s points about infrastructure planning and lead time. If the war spending had instead gone to infrastructure, starting many years ago (GWB administration), perhaps the recent recession would not have happened?

    Halliburton (etc.) could have still been the recipient of the spending, but it might have benefited us all mo’ bettah domestically?

    Enjoy this great day.

  6. Re: What are you reading?
    I found this list entertaining to stare at it for a few minutes:

  7. dyspeptic says:


    The blog has become my first check in the morning but I am sometimes unsure if you link to things ironically. Nathan Lewis article in Forbes is a steaming pile. I don’t even have to get into the economics theory. A brief review of history uncovers: an 1893 run on gold fueling the greatest depression in US history; a currency crisis in 1895 which requires JP Morgan to loan the US government gold in order to stabilize the currency and and the Panic of 1907, which was largely a liquidity crisis. 3 at-the-brink financial crises in 20 years is not exactly ‘working exceptionally well’

  8. VennData says:

    U.S. House votes to repeal Obamacare in 37th symbolic act

    Why haven’t they tried so hard to repeal their Medicare part D fiscal boondoggle first?

  9. Jojo says:

    Silicon Swagger: Tech Titans Embrace Big Architecture in Staggering New HQs
    By Jimmy Stamp

  10. Jojo says:

    Concert Industry Struggles With ‘Bots’ That Siphon Off Tickets
    The New York Times
    Published: May 26, 2013

    As the summer concert season approaches, music fans and the concert industry that serves them have a common enemy in New York. And in Russia. And in India.

    Ticketmaster hired John Carnahan, an expert on machine learning, from Yahoo in late 2011 to lead its anti-bot effort.

    That enemy is the bot.

    “Bots,” computer programs used by scalpers, are a hidden part of a miserable ritual that plays out online nearly every week in which tickets to hot shows seem to vanish instantly.

  11. Jojo says:

    The end of food shopping? When will be able to print a complete menu from soup to nuts?
    NASA funds 3D food printer, starts with pizza
    A 3D food printer prototype could print pizza for astronauts after receiving grant funding from NASA.
    Published: May 21, 2013 at 12:28 PM

    A 3D food printer could feed astronauts during long-distance space travel, Systems & Materials Research Corporation, just got a six month, $125,000 grant from NASA to create a pizza-printing prototype.

    Anjan Contractor, who founded the company, developed a food printer would use cartridges of powders and oils — shelf-stable for up to 30 years — to create customized, nutritionally-appropriate meals from sugars, complex carbohydrates, protein and other basic building blocks

    • Jojo says:

      Oh and this is yet another example of technology advancement leading to the further displacement of human jobs. How many jobs in today’s USA economy are dependent on food in some way or another – creation, delivery or service? What happens when we have the equivalent of a Star Trek food creation machine at home and in the workplace?

      No one is really looking at the “big picture” of technology impact.

  12. RW says:

    Y2K: Much ado about nothing?

    As someone who worked on a related project back then — a mere few hundred thousand lines of COBOL code (un-commented of course) — the Y2K bug was quite real and so was the effort to deal with it but the ‘ado’ grew into something a lot bigger than that, eventually developing into a classic American Doomsday panic, which is probably why a lot of folks convinced themselves afterwards that the whole thing was a nothingburger. As a couple of the commentators in this video intimate, you often get little credit for forestalling a disaster and typically none at all when no one understands what it is you did; that’s the way it was, FWIW.

    • Jojo says:

      I agree. As someone who worked for a company that helped create the whole Y2K repair industry, it was a definite problem with a lot of potential for creating massive problems. Luckily, that didn’t happen because most people actually started believing and worked to mitigate the problem.

    • willid3 says:

      me too. its was real the only reason it didnt turn out bad was the work and money spent to avoid it. i suppose some thing that missing the car in front of them means the wreck that might have happened wasnt going to be bad (even if it was head on at 59 miles per hour)

  13. Bob A says:

    Imagine. Healthcare policy that actually encourages employers to promote better health instead of promoting more doctor visits…

    Cummins has already switched employees to plans with deductibles as high as $6,000 for a family and is working with health coaches to educate employees on the dangers of high sodium present in processed food, for example, as a way to start reducing the expense of treating chronic diseases like high blood pressure. “There’s a lot of savings there,” said Dr. Shurney. “It’s not only good for us, but good for employees.”

    Well, the California bids are in — that is, insurers have submitted the prices at which they are willing to offer coverage on the state’s newly created Obamacare exchange. And the prices, it turns out, are surprisingly low. A handful of healthy people may find themselves paying more for coverage, but it looks as if Obamacare’s first year in California is going to be an overwhelmingly positive experience.

  14. debrabradley says:

    One article is about crumbling , out dated roads and bridges. One about California having too much money. What is the chance the extra $$ will be used on infrastructure……..? Zero. Even when 270,000 people cross the Bay Bridge A DAY and its reported to be unsafe.

  15. VennData says:

    Now PETA Wants to Sue People Who Leave Anonymous Comments

    I for one welcome our new pet-owning overlords.

  16. VennData says:

    Tennis pro show photographic evidence to line judge of his wrong call.

    Line judge ignores the data.

    Does this sound like a certain political party in the US?