My Sunday morning reads:

The intertubes were abuzz yesterday: Harvard Professor Niall Ferguson Says Keynes Economic Theories Are Wrong Because He Was Gay (Financial Advisor) see also “There’s wrong, there’s very wrong and then there’s Niall Ferguson.” (Washington Monthly)
• Berkshire Cash Hits Record $49.1 Billion as Profit Climbs (Bloomberg)
• How Many HFT Firms Actually Use Twitter to Trade? (Businessweek)
• Corporations Find a Friend in the Supreme Court (NYT) see also Corporate America’s secret political affairs (
• Felix: Understanding the painfully slow jobs recovery (Reuters)
• iPhone remains top US smartphone, while iOS gains a bit of ground on Android (Gigaom) see also Maybe the Low-End iPhone Is Really a Mid-End iPhone (All Things D)
• How 30-Year Mortgages Saved the Housing Market (Bloomberg)
• Guys Like This Could Kill Google Glass Before It Ever Gets Off the Ground (Wired) see also Photoshop this: Google Glass throughout history (The Verge)
• How Austerity Pushed American Colonists to Revolt (Echoes)
• The Comment Paradox (BuzzFeed) see also BILE (Paris Lemon)

What are you reading?


April NFP Report: 165,000 Jobs, 7.5% Unemployment Rate EmployRecApril2013
Source: Calculated Risk

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.

19 Responses to “10 Sunday Reads”

  1. Chief Tomahawk says:

    With Berkshire’s performance, Doug Kass has his work (making the bear case at today’s confab) cut out for him.

    Kass should start off with the scene from “Heat” where De Niro, robbing the bank, tells everyone to stay calm and don’t do anything stupid because they’re taking the bank’s money, not the customer’s, because their money is insured by the government… “Neil McCauley: We want to hurt no one! We’re here for the bank’s money, not your money. Your money is insured by the federal government, you’re not gonna lose a dime! Think of your families, don’t risk your life. Don’t try and be a hero!”

  2. RW says:

    Niall Ferguson was a flash in the intellectual pan who has become something of a pest and media whore while striving to maintain his 15 minutes of fame. He appears to have misjudged the media response in this case however and his apology for the Keynes remark was suitably abject, acknowledging that he got his history wrong on top of his psychology; i.e., Keynes not only demonstrated in multiple ways that he cared deeply about “the long run” he was also not a ‘gay’ in the modern sense, at least if one can judge by the fact that he apparently lived the last two decades of his life happily married to a woman he loved deeply.

    The woman appears to have also been one of the most famous dancers of her time, a genuinely fascinating character who clearly fascinated Keynes, who was said to have been devastated when their child was stillborn.

    Bloomsbury Ballerina: Lydia Lopokova, Imperial Dancer and Mrs John Maynard Keynes

    NB: It is of course irrelevant that Ferguson disagrees with Keynes economic theory because Ferguson has amply demonstrated that he does not understand it and cannot even state it correctly.

  3. econimonium says:

    I think the original intent of blogs (in particular) was to foster community…a “publication” where people weren’t talking AT you, as in traditional media, but throwing ideas out and talking WITH you. A more immediate “letter to the editor”. I find it passing strange that people who use this form of publication discovered that humanity is a broad scope that includes people who not only have divergent opinions, but can also be quite unhinged. That’s humanity. I also wonder what the effect of turning off comments is on readership, not such much in numbers but in a genuinely not “sucking your own exhaust” sort of way, instead inculcating a sycophantic readership. I mean there’s nothing wrong with that, Limbaugh has been doing it for years and got quite rich. But a publication that doesn’t engage with the reader is a dead one, as is one who’s message is out of step (again, see Limbaugh’s advertising numbers dropping like a brick now), Blogs are also mostly opinion pieces (or opinion slants of their publisher) not neutral reportage. I know how you feel, Barry, seeing some of the comments here, but you certainly have me thinking about the issue in a larger way. Thanks!

  4. theexpertisin says:

    Back in the days of cash, a job. societal values and personal responsibility, the thirty year mortgage was a brilliant idea. Those that received this instrument were deserving.

  5. VennData says:

    GOP Finds Criminal Chinese spies imbedded in Obama’s government!!!

    Thank GOD the GOP is there to watch Obama and his Snake pit of leakers!

    And made false statements (aka LIES!)

    It doesn’t matter that it was all about his adult pictures. This is typical of Obama’s Leakers! Liars! and Lechers!

    We must spend whatever it takes to keep adult pictures form getting in to the hands of our sworn enemies!!!$$$

  6. DeDude says:

    What is it with these Harvard economists? First we had a pair that appeared to need taking a “science 101″ course to straighten out correlation and causation. Then we get one that need to take a “logic 101″ course to understand ideas stand or fall on their merits (not the messenger) and that not all humans are sociopaths but there are quite a few who cares about more than their own self-interest. I know Harvard as a premier university is supposed to have diversity of opinions and people, but does that “diversity” really have to also include morons?

    • rd says:

      Its not really a Harvard problem.

      The main issue is tat Harvard economists are paid attention to while most others are not. By definition of the sorry state of economics, there is no shortage of economist idots out there; but are you really an idiot if nobobdy is listening to you?

  7. toddie.g says:

    Niall Ferguson’s embarrassing and ignorant statements aside, who should give a rat’s ass about what his economic opinions are, other than being a reverse indicator. When an economist repeatedly makes awful prognostications about the economic future, why does the media continue to cover his opinions, and why does he get invited to conferences to state his opinion? I suppose there is value in what he has to say as a reverse indicator – whatever Niall Ferguson says, take the opposite trade and make a killing.

    Joe Wiesenthal penned a piece last year putting on display all the patheticly wrong calls Ferguson has made.

  8. hue says:

    Dire Straits. Money for nothing. Love over Gold

  9. DeDude says:

    Krugman nails Osborne. Even if there was such a thing as confidence fairies and bond vigilantes, they don’t matter. In a depressed economy interest rates on national debt are set by central banks, not by markets. And central banks do not allow those rates to go up unless an unhealthy amount of inflation is in the making. That does not happen until you approach full employment.

  10. between this..

    “…California’s State/Local Governments Confront $1.0 Trillion in Debt

    A study released earlier today by the California Public Policy Center entitled “Calculating California’s Total State and Local Government Debt” has estimated that state and local government debt is somewhere between $848 billion and $1.12 trillion. This is the first attempt we’ve ever seen by anyone to provide an estimate.

    Small wonder. If Californians understood that their local city councils, school districts, redevelopment agencies, special districts, county supervisors, and state legislators had managed to put them on the hook for over $80,000 of debt per household, they might vote down the next new taxation or bond measure that appears on the ballot. Imagine how much debt this equates to per taxpaying household…”


    “…Via: 10 News ABC:

    An inside source gave Team 10 a picture snapped inside the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) showing plastic bags, masking tape and broom sticks used to stem a massive leaky pipe.

    San Onofre owner Southern California Edison (SCE), confirms the picture was taken inside Unit Three, but did not say when. The anonymous source said the picture was taken in December 2012.

    Unit Three is the same unit that leaked radiation in January 2012. SONGS has been shutdown since then as a precaution.

    “[Staff] identified a small leak in the water box and will perform maintenance per our scheduling process,” SCE spokeswoman Maureen Brown wrote in a statement. “In the meantime, plastic is in place to direct the water from the small leak to a drain.”…”

    I, personally, would love to see Ohman’s, no doubt, Incisive, two-Panel ‘Political Cartoon’..

    • bear_in_mind says:

      @Mark E. Hoffer:
      Using ‘total outstanding debt’ or compiling all liabilities over the next 50 years is nothing more than a fear-baiting tactic used to bolster support for austerity. Could you imagine what the tax liabilities someone born in 1910 would have faced over the following 50 years? It would have been staggering… but it also would have been one of the most product epochs in American history.

      Mish’s work is not unlike Reinhart and Rogoff: he cherry-picks data to make the argument: Taxes = Bad // Horatio Alger = Good. Granted, it’s entertaining, but hard to categorize it as non-fiction.

      By the way, seems the austerity campaign is now seeking to eliminate the 40-hour work week and overtime pay (via H.R.1406), because heaven knows, hourly-wage Americans are positively destroying corporate profits.

      • b_i_m,

        with this..”…Could you imagine what the tax liabilities someone born in 1910 would have faced over the following 50 years?…”

        really? @1910 ‘rates’, or the ones that, actually, occurred?

        understand, I hold no brief for “Mish”, though, from what I ken, of his message, He’s asking a similar Q:…
        “…Quoting from the study’s summary, here are the categories of government debt confronting Californians:

        When, along with the $27.8 billion “Wall of Debt,” long-term debt incurred by California’s state, county, and city governments, along with school districts, redevelopment agencies and special districts are totaled, the outstanding balance is $383.0 billion…”
        (of, current, Total Indebtedness, no?)


        “…The officially recognized unfunded liability for California’s public employee retirement benefits – pensions and retirement health care – adds another $265.1 billion. Applying a potentially more realistic 5.5% discount rate to calculate the unfunded pension liability adds an additional $200.3 billion. All of these outstanding debts combined total $848.4 billion. By extrapolating from available data that is either outdated or incomplete, and using a 4.5% discount rate to calculate the unfunded pension liability, the estimated total debt soars to over $1.1 trillion…”

        to your ‘what if?’…though, note, If ‘the Rules’ do Not change…

        He expounds..
        “…There is cruel hypocrisy at work here. Low interest rates mean people saving for retirement cannot hope to amass a nest egg big enough to earn a risk-free return sufficient to live on. Yet the government worker pension funds engage in massive risk in a desperate attempt to earn 7.5% per year, so government workers can enjoy pensions that a private sector worker would have to save millions to match. If they fail to get that 7.5%, taxpayers make up the difference.
        Hypocrisy abounds. Unions representing public educators train their members to teach their students that capitalism is the problem, that “corporate greed” is why their parents struggle to make ends meet. Yet without corporate profits, the pension funds – whose 7.5% per year annual earnings guarantee them an early retirement with an income that dwarfs what private workers get from social security – would implode…”

        from what I gather, of his ‘message’, is that there, simply, too many Claims outstanding, and, our ‘understanding’, of them, is warped/non-existent..

        though, maybe, you would (re-?) read that piece, in full (??)

        as always, I may be mistaken..~

  11. Willy2 says:

    Charles Biderman (of Trim Tabs) posted a very interesting video in which he explained why tax revenues have gone up. And he’s far from convinced that the US economy will grow.

    • You should be aware that Biderman has been terribly wrong this entire cycle

      • Willy2 says:

        Agree. He e.g. blew it in march 2009. But he certainly is spot on by looking at a number of indicators. But he overlooked a number of other indicators. And he certainly didn’t anticipate that China would attempt to print “its way to prosperity” in 2009 & 2010.

        I also thought the whole “kit caboodle” would come crashing down in e.g. 2010 or 2011. But now the indicators I am looking at, are worse than in 2010, 2011 & 2012.

        Biderman’s info also gives a clue why tax revenues are going to be “dismal” in 2013. As a result of the “fiscal cliff” corporations have paid their 2013 dividends in 2012. But those dividends will be lacking in 2013. Hence lower tax revenues. So, prepare yourself for lower US tax revenues going forward.

  12. rd says:

    It appears that families are beginning to be concerned that spending $250k on a B.A. in philosophy that leads to a stellar career as a barrista is not a good investment:

    Also, it appears that China desparately needs to have the GOP set up a franchise there. The natives are actually demanding Environmental Impact Statements before projects are built now. Next thing you know, they will be demanding to have an Environmental Protection Agency that actually tries to protect the environment. This must be nipped in the bud, for their own sakes, before they are turned into leftist, commie pinkos.