My morning reading:

• Five Things You Need to Know About Janet Yellen (Real Time Economics) see also Janet Yellen’s Historic Nomination For Federal Reserve Chairwoman (Daily Beast)
• 7 Unreliable Economic Indicators That Move Markets (Business Insider)
• The Most Likely Debt Ceiling Outcome (Pragmatic Capitalism)
• Why America Needs a Stock-Market Crash (Rational Irrationality) see also Market needs to plunge to force Congress to act (CNNMoney)
• Hank Greenberg’s narcissistic and deluded defense of Jamie Dimon (Columbia Journalism Review)
• Understanding Game Theory Being MisPlayed in Washington (Harvard Business Review)
• Americans are dumber than average at math, vocabulary, and technology (Quartz)
• Secrets of the Happiest Commuters (WSJ)
• Tea Party radicalism is misunderstood: Meet the “Newest Right” (Salon)
• New Report: Preventable Medical Mistakes Account for One-Sixth of All Annual Deaths in the United States (Mercola)

What are you reading?


Top Bankers Warn on U.S. Debt Proposal    
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.

26 Responses to “10 MidWeek AM Reads”

  1. RW says:

    That Salon piece on the main driving force of Tea Party radicalism was excellent. This faction may have served the purposes of the plutocracy well, at least for a time, but it helps to remember they do not really serve plutocrats, they serve their own regional chiefs and this is their purpose:

    …the package as a whole–from privatizing Social Security and Medicare to disenfranchising likely Democratic voters to opposing voting rights and citizenship for illegal immigrants to chopping federal programs into 50 state programs that can be controlled by right-wing state legislatures–represents a coherent and rational strategy for maximizing the relative power of provincial white elites at a time when their numbers are in decline and history has turned against them. …

    • bonzo says:

      I read that article. What it doesn’t explain is why things were different from say 1933 to 1980. That is, why did we have a redistributive tax system (steeply progressive income and estate taxes), civil rights, expansion of entitlements, growth of the federal government, etc? Southern whites were far more of a force in the United States as a whole in 1933 than they are now, and yet southern whites were unable to stop all these things. So something changed in 1933, then changed again sometime in the 1970′s.

      An obvious change prior to 1933 was the Depression. The ruling class realized they had to share with the workers or else there would be a revolution. Then after WWII, it became evident that keeping blacks as a permanent disenfranchised underclass made for very bad propaganda in the developing world, most of which is populated by non-whites, and so that led to the civil rights movement.

      What has happened sometime in the 1970′s is that the rich realized that they had given away to much to the workers, and that their fears of revolution and of competition from the Soviet Union were overblown. So they started then trying to take back what they had given away. They will continue to be successful in taking back, in my opinion, because the natural order of society is aristocracy, not egalitarian democracy.

      Egalitarian democracy was a passing phenomenon, driven by technology. In particular, cheap hunting rifles, which allowed guerrillas to challenged centralized states from the early 19th to mid 20th century, combined with industrialization, which opened up the option of making the pie bigger rather than simply dividing the pie up differently and put the rich in a position where any sort of civil disturbance was to be avoided, as bad for business, so that they were ready to compromise. Technology has progressed. Now, guerrillas are hopelessly outmatched by things like drones, so the rich don’t need to fear them. (The only reason guerrillas win in places like Vietnam or Afghanistan is the United States is concerned about world opinion, particularly the public opinion of the Europeans, Japanese, Canadians, Australians, and hence hesitates to act like God told Joshua to do in the land of Canaan. To wit, kill everything that moves.)

      Furthermore, in the past, uneducated lower-class humans were useful as beasts of burden and cannon fodder. Now, uneducated humans are just useless eaters. Racism and desire to preserve their way of life is NOT the driving factors behind the Tea Party. Rather the truth is much scarier. At a subconscious level they suspect (and rightly so, in my opinion) that most of the world’s population will be exterminated at some point, probably via a Katrina-like incompetent response to pandemics and crop failures. The only survivors will be the rich plus whatever technological workers are needed to keep the robots and other machines operating. The Tea Party members’ goal is to push their way into this elite group now, before it is too late.

      • Irwin Fletcher says:

        I found the Salon piece pretty weak. I live in the South. Not a member
        of the Tea Party.
        But being southern I can tell you the Tea Party has zero to do with Race.
        But this author walks the typical race line. Same stereotyping of people he
        does not like or agree with. In other words, “if someone disagrees with my progressive
        opinions, he’s a disguised racist and hates the poor”.
        I can sum up the Tea Party for anyone who is serious about wanting to know the truth, without any political crap. They just want the government to leave them the hell alone. It’s no more complicated than that.

  2. rd says:

    Main-stream press columns on safer alternates to Treasuries starting to show up:

  3. hue says:

    Are Search Engines & The Internet Wrecking Human Memory (Slate)

    Why Is The Monarch Butterfly Population Shrinking? (Latina Lista)

    A Confederacy of Dunces: Shutdown Shows the Civil War Never Ended (Salon)

  4. rd says:

    Dr. Strangelove is probably the best game theory analogy I can think of for the current debt ceiling discussions. The big difference between the movie and real-life is everybody has been told that a Doomsday Machine exists but one side doesn’t believe it actually exists.

    I hope this movie ends differently than Dr. Strangelove did.

    BTW – I think Peter Sellars would still be perfect to play the roles of Boehner, Reid, and Obama in the movie re-make. Make-up could handle the three very different skin tints required.

  5. denim says:

    Prioritizing the bills is an interesting issue.
    As long as every bill is paid on time, no prioritizing scheme would seem a basis for a legal damage claim against the Federal government. However, if some government official decides that after the government goes into a Congressionally mandated deadbeat mode, aka default, he can of himself (even the President) prioritize who is stiffed? Can’t the stiffed victim sue for immediate payment. I would think the the 14th Amendment re equal protection of the laws and no gov debt can be repudiated apply here. So it would be a Federal Court case even up to the SCOTUS.

    • denim says:

      Going further down the Constitutional (Obama is said to have studied it in college), no law is violated until it actually is. So the Debt Ceiling Law has to be violated before there is anything but a hypothetical “what if.” Now the President is charged with faithfully executing the Federal laws and defending the Constitution. So if Obama starts repudiating gov debts, is he not violating the highest law of the land: “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debtsincurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.” The President must call the Debt Ceiling Law unconstitutional and execute the law that allows Treasury to publicly auction off as many Treasury notes as needed to finance the execution of current laws. Since the Fed can buy them too, it would seem that a computer program between the Treasury and the Fed could be set up to execute a Fed buy at one nanosecond or less before the gov default was reached. Brinkmanship, no?

    • willid3 says:

      always wondered. if you dont set up a feature in the payments software, or test it (or pay for it since you never ever expect to do that), why do some think there is such a thing? and considering that those charged with knowing such things are furloughed, just who would you ask to check that it does exist, and it might actually work?

  6. swag says:

    Let’s go play:

    “The Securities and Exchange Commission created this website to promote better understanding of our equity markets and equity market structure through the use of data and analytics.

    Review current staff market structure research, use interactive data visualization tools to explore a variety of advanced market metrics produced from the Commission’s Market Information Data and Analytics System (MIDAS), download dozens of datasets to perform your own analyses, and further the dialogue through public feedback.”

  7. jeff in indy says:

    In showing my federal outlay naivette, I thought Social Security was a separate trust fund not included in the federal budgeting process.

    No matter how the allocation is parsed, it’s still a great graph on deficit spending.

    • RW says:

      You do not appear to be naive: The “unified budget” is a fiction and treating it as a fact renders one’s opinion null and void thereafter.

      Pro Tip for Charles Blahous: You Have Just Made One of the Misrepresentations That Makes Me Stop Reading…

      For historical reasons, the U.S. political system focuses on (i) budget accounts for the federal government trust funds individually, (ii) accounts for the entire federal government budget–including the trust funds–but does not focus on (iii) the accounts for the non-trust-fund part of the federal budget considered as a whole. …

      The fact that the U.S. political system does it this way means that complaints …that somebody is doing something wrong because their policies have effects on both (a) and (b)–i.e. both extend the life of the Medicare Trust Fund and affect the unified budget–cause me to stop reading immediately. …

    • LeftCoastIndependent says:

      Right Jeff, but the only investment the SS admin. can make legally is in US treasuries. And if the govt. does not pay off their bonds on time , then SS will be short funds to disperse. In reality, a persons SS check would be lowered about 30% because the other 70% comes from OPP (other peoples paychecks.) It is a pay as you go system for the most part. But we are the hostages in this battle , like hunters who want to go out on national forest land but are being denied. Whatever causes the most inconvenience to the American people is what the politicians want.

    • willid3 says:

      the trust fund is used to fund the benefit but the money to actually physically create the checks, is not the trust fund. or at least thats always been my understanding,. course if we dont pay the SS trust fund, are we in default/ i would think so. or if we dont create the checks, are we in default?

  8. GeorgeBurnsWasRight says:

    re: Bills, Bills, Bills

    My understanding is that the bill-paying software of the US government isn’t set up to allow manual decisions about which bills to pay and which ones to hold. (Presumably paychecks would be about the only area where there might be flexibility, and even there, there might be problems adjust non-hourly workers.)

    If this is the case, the chart is interesting rhetorically but of no practical application.

    • willid3 says:

      this would be seem to be case, as no one would pay to create a facility like that if they never expected to need it,. it would have been cut as wasteful spending. and the folks who could actually tell you if it could be done, are furloughed. and it might take weeks to actually figure it out if it could be done

  9. 4whatitsworth says:

    With a new bill government furlough is just a fancy name for paid vacation.

    Unfortunately, This debt ceiling thing is clearly not about managing out of control government spending.

    • willid3 says:

      well its a vacation. but unlike a vacation they dont get paid while they out. until the government is reopened, they dont get any money

      can you do without any money coming in for weeks at time?

  10. S Brennan says:

    John Stewart, speaks truth to power and asks the germane question, if ACA’s wording is writ in stone, why can Obama alter ACA after it passed congress and the Supreme Court, yes…why indeed.

  11. hoopsjunkie says:

    On the article “Americans are dumber than average at math, vocabulary, and technology”. I see these reports all the time comparing education, violence, etc… in America vs. other countries. What they don’t take into account when they compare the U.S. to places like Japan, Scandinavian countries, European countries, etc… is that the U.S. is a very different place demographically. The U.S. has taken on a huge amount of low income and uneducated immigration from Mexico the past 50 years of people that mostly came without even a high school degree. Additionally the U.S. has to deal with another 14% of it’s population that are the decedents of former slaves. None of the countries the U.S. is being compared to has a legacy of slavery or has taken in a huge amount of low skilled uneducated immigration (legal and not legal). They are all very homogeneous places without these factors (Japan, Scandanavia, etc…). These factors skew the averages in terms of test scores, etc… in the U.S. These reasons are not an excuse for the U.S. low overall averages in education and high levels of violent crime. But people should take them into account whenever we see these U.S. vs. Sweden comparisons.

    • bonzo says:

      If you look at those charts, what you see is that Italy and Spain also fair poorly. Southern Italy and southern Spain are like the American south. Plantation economies, where the elite have always wanted to keep the lower-classes stupid, since stupid people are useful as laborers (picking cotton or working in chicken packing plants in the US, tending vineyards and olive groves in Italy, Spain) and can’t organize themselves to vote for progressive tax systems which might hurt the elite. There are very few black people in Italy or Spain, so your racist argument fails.

      Japan, Finland, Netherlands, and other high-scoring countries mostly have limited natural resources and so must live by their wits. The elite of these countries have no interest in producing an underclass of uneducated dummies to work in the field or the mills, because there aren’t many fields and the mills that hire dummies have all been moved to developing countries.

      • hoopsjunkie says:

        Mine is not a “racist argument”. That is the classic political correct type of response I would expect. It is not someone’s race that influences their test scores, it is their *economic situation*. It just happens that in the U.S. Mexican immigrants and blacks tend to be poorer and have lower test scores that bring down the overall averages. It is very clear in California a very diverse state. In CA Asians rank #1 in test scores, whites #2, Hispanics #3 and Blacks #4. It’s the same across the U.S., the hard facts are that blacks and Hispanics on average have lower test scores. Those are hard objective facts that have nothing to do with racism., they are due to the lower income levels of these groups and educational levels of their parents. If you just took say a subset of just Asian American test scores in the U.S., the U.S. would probably rank near the top of the world in test scores. The problem in the U.S. is things are so politically correct you can’t mention anything about race or you are immediately branded a “racist”. No one wants to hurt anyone’s feelings any more. Therefore nothing ever gets done to help those that need help and what needs to be done to improve their school systems in poorer areas. My guess is if you just took out a subset of just Hispanic and Black test scores in the U.S., they would be lower then Southern Europe.

  12. VennData says:

    Michele Bachmann is selling all her real estate. Are you?

    I think you GOP have some kind of fabulous HR department.

  13. LeftCoastIndependent says:

    Nothing ends, it just starts over. Kinda like the market. Yea?

  14. willid3 says:

    hm. if the real reason for all of the hubbub on the debt ceiling and shutting down the government was to cut the deficit, then why are they doing these things since they will increase the deficit?

    maybe its just politics. nothing more than that.