Good Sunday morning. Some reads to round out your weekend:

• Default Doubters Repudiated by Republican Economists   (Bloomberg)
• Living in a low return world (Abnormal Returns)
• China’s Hunger for Gold Triggers Speculation About Reserves (Real Time Economics)
• Something Wicked This Way Comes (Above the Market)
• U.S. Rethinks How to Release Sensitive Economic Data (Yahoo Finance)
• The shutdown’s enforcer-in-chief (Dana Milbank)
• The Final Insult in the Bush-Cheney Marriage (NYT)
• An App That Saved 10,000 Lives (Bits) see also From the Start, Signs of Trouble at Health Portal (NYT)
• Feeling superior about your political beliefs is a bipartisan issue (Ars Technica)
• These Are Some of the Most Amazing Lego Projects Ever Built (Wired)

What are you having for brunch?



Shutdown Stirs Investor Anxiety
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.

17 Responses to “10 Sunday Reads”

  1. ilsm says:

    From the default article @Bloomberg;

    “And they’re going to count on Treasury bureaucrats to manage this phenomenal sleight of hand. I don’t believe it.”

    Departments’ budget and finance officials do this kind of drill all the time, the usual question is: “what can you do with an XX% reduction……..?

    Or during for the pentagon with Reagan and Bush II: “how fast can you throw the cash out the door?”

    The treasury does not send out checks to contractors, that is done in the departments. If the US cash receipts are ’round’ figures $100 a month and needs to pay out $10 interest, and the total cash budget is to pay out $120 then the departments remove “cash” in the amount of $30 from their expenditure accounts, that would mean “terminating contracts” and in the very short term sending invoices back as “unpayable” under the ‘anti deficiency act’. An officer of the government cannot “expend” funds the office does not have.

    The hard part is deciding which contractors do not get paid.

    • KeithOK says:

      The anti-deficiency act prohibits “making or authorizing an expenditure from, or creating or authorizing an obligation under, any appropriation or fund in excess of the amount available in the appropriation or fund…” It’s purpose is to prevent the executive branch from engaging in spending not authorized by Congress.

      Sending back an invoice as non-payable does not protect you from violating the anti-deficiency act. Once the expense has been incurred, the government is obligated to pay. If that obligation exceeds the amount appropriated, the anti-deficiency act has been violated whether the invoice is paid or not.

      But that’s a appropriations issue rather than a debt limit issue. The debt limit issue is one of the treasury borrowing beyond the limits set by Congress to pay the bills. If they are not allowed to borrow enough to pay valid obligations they’ll have to return the invoices for “insufficient funds” rather than “anti-deficiency act.”

    • rd says:

      The party screaming that government is incompetent and the deficit is an immediate dire problem because the country is bankrupt is simultaneously assuming that a bunch of supposedly incompetent Treasury bureaucrats toiling in a basement will be able to manage the most complex book-keeping project in the world on a just-in-time basis because there will be enough cash coming in to pay the bills.

      Monty Python would have struggled to have come up with such a ludicrous script. The House GOP appears to have turned into the Ministry of Silly Talks.

  2. rd says:

    Taking some time off from negotiating multi-billion dollar settlements from his banks mis-behavior against clients, Jamie Dimon reflects on life and realizes that he and JP Morgan really are equal to the US government:

    The ironies here are so multiduninous that they are virtually impossible to enumerate.

    It is nice to be TBTF with the full faith and credit of the US government behind you even when it appears determined not to have full faith and credit.

    I wonder how his shareholders will feel when Dimon discovers that the Tea Party members of the House really are deadbeats.

  3. texan dan says:

    Your charts are missing the easing of market default concerns that occurred during the last few days, e.g. VIX to 15.7, S&P 500 to 1703.

  4. RW says:

    The advice in Something Wicked is good as far as it goes — economic forecasting is useful and even fun but large bets on a given forecast are rarely either — but thinking one must lead to the other is the same kind of error folks make when they mistake weather for climate; the former is an event, the latter an environment.

    Speaking of which:

    The Business End of Obamacare

    The U.S. likes to think of itself as friendly to small businesses. But, as a 2009 study by the economists John Schmitt and Nathan Lane documented, our small-business sector is among the smallest in the developed world, and has one of the lowest rates of self-employment. One reason is that we’ve never had anything like national health insurance. In a saner world, changing this would be a reform that the “party of small business” would celebrate.

    “Say what you will about America, it’s a place where any child, if he’s stupid enough, can grow up to wreck the world economy.” -Andy Borowitz

    • RW says:

      If acting on a specific economic forecast often turns out wrong, acting on a WSJ editorial probably leads to brain cancer.

      Andrew Puzder Gives Alternative Reality on Obamacare at Wall Street Journal

      …Pudzer’s whole story rests on the growth in part-time employment from January to July as measured by the Bureau of Labor Statistics household survey. …

      A serious analysis would look at an average level of employment over a series of months, for example comparing the first six months of 2013 (when the employers thought the sanctions would be in effect) with the first six months of 2012. My colleague …and I did this analysis. We found a small decline in the percentage of workers who were working less than the 30 hour cut-off that makes employers subject to the mandate.

  5. Jojo says:

    Discover magazine
    What You Need to Know About the Toxins in Your Groceries

    This collection of stories investigates low-dose arsenic contamination in rice and other risks to food safety like toxic algal blooms, E. coli in raw meat, BPA in plastics and poisonous honey.
    By Deborah Blum, Veronique Greenwood, Tasha Eichenseher, Kate Gammon|Friday, August 30, 2013

    A Trace of Arsenic
    The cans of baby formula invaded Brian Jackson’s Dartmouth College lab late in 2010. His team picked up an armful of popular brands at the food co-op in Hanover, N.H. Then another armload. Eventually Jackson had a cabinet full of the brightly labeled canisters. Today, he still keeps a few in his office. Not as clutter – that’s not his style. He just likes to keep his toxicology evidence close at hand.

    A 47-year-old analytical chemist with sandy-gray hair and blue eyes, Jackson has a chemist’s passion for the picky details of analysis, the skill his colleagues tapped when they asked him to investigate a disturbing possibility: that baby foods and formulas made with rice might contain arsenic, a known carcinogen. Ingested even at the trace levels the scientists suspected, devastating health outcomes could result.

    In a first round of tests, arsenic levels in all the products Jackson’s group studied fell within the 10 parts per billion safety limit the EPA sets for water. (There is no limit for arsenic for most foods.) But a short time later, while shopping at the co-op, Jackson noticed two brands of toddler formula, both high-end organic products, that his team had missed on the first sweep.

    This time, to the team’s surprise, the arsenic readings flew off the chart.

    “My first thought,” Jackson says, “was that I’d better reanalyze these samples in case I’d screwed up.”

    His second thought, after confirming the readings, was to wonder: What made the arsenic levels spike in those two cans? In answering that question, Jackson traced not just the story of the metal-loving rice plant, but also the tangled and troubling path of a notorious poison through our past and present.

  6. Jojo says:

    Here’s an old but interesting article tied into yesterday’s football concussion story. Any reasonably hard blow to the head can cause brain damage.
    Discover Magazine
    The Brain: What Happens to a Linebacker’s Neurons?

    A blow to the head can change the neural architecture of the brain from elastic to brittle, with devastating consequences.

  7. rd says:

    Josh Brown has a small little example about what the job-creating class is doing with their Bush tax cut, ZIRPed, and QEed money to stimulate the American economy:

    • DiggidyDan says:

      That has nothing to do with the economic policies you are citing. It is merely a marketing gimmick, a $1.25 Million viral advertising campaign based on the outrageousness to be able to spread via word of mouth to gossip outlets that would be the prime medium for those who buy the end product ($25 and $30 bottles of premium nail polish) to see. It’s quite ingenious actually. Think of it more like Budweiser spending $1.25 Million on a SuperBowl commercial to utilize the prime medium to reach a bunch of beer guzzling sports fan dudes most likely to buy their 12 packs at $11 a pop.

  8. Lyle says:

    This raises a question, how many of us had brain hits when kids due to normal kids activities. I know I had on falling off a bike. (I was out for a bit then, but back then it was just make sure he does not get sleeply to the teacher). I wonder if there is some regeneration possible in kids? I suspect that everyone has some such events in their childhood, the issue is likley the number and the spacing of the events that cause the problem.

  9. rd says:

    Shiller, Fama and Hansen just won the Nobel Prize for Economics for showing that stock market prices are impossible to predict but longer-term trends and returns can be.

    Their work has been very valuable for the small invesgtor. I wonder when John Bogle will get his Nobel Prize?