My longer form reads to start your weekend:

• Indecision is sometimes the best way to decide (Aeon)
• Most Germans don’t buy their homes, they rent. Here’s why (Quartz)
• The Techtopus: How Silicon Valley’s most celebrated CEOs conspired to drive down 100,000 tech engineers’ wages (Pando Daily)
Swedroe: The Sad Truth About Hedge Funds (Index Universe)
• On Breaking One’s Neck by Arnold Relman (New York Review of Books)
• The death of pop: don’t blame it on the download (Spiked Online)
• Segregating Bitcoin’s value systems (Dizzynomics)
• New Old Keynesianism (Crooked Timber)
• “Marriage promotion” is a destructive cargo cult (Interfluidity)
• How to Read A Book (Farnam Street)

What’s up for the weekend?


America’s Relatively Small Tax Burden

Source: Data Mine

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.

24 Responses to “10 Weekend Reads”

  1. rd says:

    Interesting article on indecision. However, it did not address the “Expense Report Syndrome” exhibited by many senior managers.

    I have seen numerous examples of great indecision regarding whether or not a $50 charge on an expense report is appropriate or not. This can often lead to lengthy e-mail trains with the occasional conference call. Yet, the same people will sit down and make weighty decisions on a new proposal regarding a major marketing strategy or acquisition in the same amount of time or less. I would think that some indecision on some of these latter items by allocating the time spent on the $50 issue to the $50 million issue could actually reduce some of the major disasters that have come out of those decisions over the years.

  2. hue says:

    Why We Procrastinate: We think of our future selves as strangers (Nautilus)

    The White Ghetto: In Appalachia the country is beautiful and the society is broken (National Review) The real problem with the American right: Aging, white radicals (Salon)

    Stop Saying ‘Do What You Love, Love What You Do.’ It Devalues Actual Work. (Slate)

  3. Molesworth says:

    Best weekend reads ever. Always wondered about Germans renting v owning. Not surprised about the tech heads pact but had not seen that they are under investigation. Will there be real consequences? Farnum Street is a treasure. Thank you BR.

    • Iamthe50percent says:

      Yes, the German housing story was illuminating. I think there is another factor at work also. In the USA workers are obsessed with having their house paid off by retirement because of fear of homelessness in old age. German workers have good pensions (without inflation fears as pointed out in the article) and pay nothing (no 20% Medicare co-pay) for medical costs. They can afford to rent in retirement because of this security.

  4. Molesworth says:

    One more thought re SV price fixing: Isn’t “Don’t be Evil” Google’s motto? What happened?

  5. rd says:

    Apparently Los Angeles sunshine and weather makes it hard to have NFL-quality outdoor ice. I would never have guessed that this would be an issue. Outdoor ice always struck me as a perfectly normal thing to find in LA (as long as it was in a glass).

  6. howardoark says:

    If you add in the 18% of GDP we spend on healthcare (and subtract out the half of that paid by governments with tax dollars), we’re right there with the OECD average only we do it in the least efficient way possible.

    Parkinson explained the $50 vs. $50 million thing only he used the example of board meetings where as much time would be spent on whether to buy coffee for the secretarial pool as whether to make the $50 million capital investment. Everyone has an opinion on whether the secretaries should get free coffee (of course they should) but hardly anyone has the expertise to know whether the capital investment is a good idea or not.

  7. Jojo says:

    So sad when someone making $375k in NYC just can’t make ends meet… [sniff] :)
    Partner in a Prestigious Law Firm, and Bankrupt
    JAN. 24, 2014

    Anyone who wonders why law school applications are plunging and there’s widespread malaise in many big law firms might consider the case of Gregory M. Owens.

    The silver-haired, distinguished-looking Mr. Owens would seem the embodiment of a successful Wall Street lawyer. A graduate of Denison University and Vanderbilt Law School, Mr. Owens moved to New York City and was named a partner at the then old-line law firm of Dewey, Ballantine, Bushby, Palmer & Wood, and after a merger, at Dewey & LeBoeuf.

    Today, Mr. Owens, 55, is a partner at an even more eminent global law firm, White & Case. A partnership there or any of the major firms collectively known as “Big Law” was long regarded as the brass ring of the profession, a virtual guarantee of lifelong prosperity and job security.

    But on New Year’s Eve, Mr. Owens filed for personal bankruptcy.

    According to his petition, he had $400 in his checking account and $400 in savings. He lives in a rental apartment at 151st Street and Broadway. He owns clothing he estimated was worth $900 and his only jewelry is a Concord watch, which he described as “broken.”

    Mr. Owens is an extreme but vivid illustration of the economic factors roiling the legal profession, although his straits are in some ways unique to his personal situation.

  8. Jojo says:

    One step closer to Skynet and fighting Terminator machines.
    U.S. Army Considers Replacing Thousands of Soldiers With Robots
    Posted 22 Jan 2014

    Last week at the Army Aviation Symposium, in Arlington, Va., a U.S. Army officer announced that the Army is looking to slim down its personnel numbers and adopt more robots over the coming years. The biggest surprise, though, is the scale of the downsizing the Army might aim for.

    At the current rate, the Army is expected to shrink from 540,000 people down to 420,000 by 2019. But at last week’s event, Gen. Robert Cone, head of the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command, offered some surprising details about the slim-down plans. As Defense News put it, he “quietly dropped a bomb,” saying the Army is studying the possibility of reducing the size of a brigade from 4,000 soldiers to 3,000 in the coming years. To keep things just as effective while reducing manpower, the Army will bring in more unmanned power, in the form of robots. From the Defense News story:

  9. Jojo says:

    It’s still January, so this short from last week SNL should still be good to go. :)
    SNL Resolution Revolution

  10. Willy2 says:

    - German banks are indeed very conservative. A home owner needs to make a downpayment of 20% when he/she wants to have a mortgage.
    - Germans always need to pay both interest & pay down on the principle every month, whereas the UK & US there’re the socalled “Interest only” mortgages.
    - UK mortgages are predominantly “floating rates” but german mortgages are at fixed rates.
    - Germany ran (large) Current Account Deficits in the 1990s. But the german government implemented in 2000 a policy that created Current Account Surplusses after 2001. That meant that household income rose much slower than corporate income. So, the german people were much less able to afford mortgages and therefore were forced to continue to rent.

  11. VennData says:

    Wealthy Businessman Compares Treatment Of The Rich To The Holocaust

    Whose who finances those GO candidates you vote for GOP voter.

  12. chartist says:

    Wage fixing isn’t just occurring in silicon valley. You think they pay all auto plant workers $12 per hour is just some sort of strange coincidence? Here’s where it’s going to get interesting in auto worker land where they set up the plants in rural areas of right to work states: The turnover is so high they’ve run through all the available hires in some areas. They don’t dare do drug testing for fear of losing half their workforce in an afternoon.

  13. carchamp1 says:

    As to marriage promotion remember that this was attempted as recently as the 1990s during the push for welfare reform. Anna Igra discusses this in the introduction of her book “Wives Without Husbands”. Since the latest marriage push, marriage has continued its decades-long descent.

    Pretty good article on marriage except that, as usual, it’s told from the feminist perspective. Marriage can be bad for women? Sure, but when was the last time a woman got taken to the cleaners? Or had her children taken away in divorce? It happens, but the real victims of marriage are men.

    See jojo’s post above about the bankrupt lawyer.

  14. Blissex says:

    «Most Germans don’t buy their homes, they rent. Here’s why»

    The reasons given in the article are pretty superficial, because they can be summarized as “the regulatory environment is not favorable to house price speculation”.

    In the UK for example house prices and rents before the Thatcher government were also moderate because it was policy to counter the possibility of house price speculation with a bit of credit rationing and controls on other lending.

    But a conservative think-tank discovered that even given the same income and class homeowners (and owners of stocks and cars) were far more likely to vote for conservative policies.

    Possibly as result of that the Thatcher governments removed any restrictions on mortgages, removed regulation that discouraged HELOCs, sold huge discounts to potential conservative voters most public housing stock, and forbade local governments to build more (they also distributed or sold at huge discounts government shares in public companies, and undermined public transport).

    Credit driven housing bubbles are a political strategy, not a consequence of random national situations: when there is a strong political will to help financial executives make a lot of money selling loans, and to steer voting patterns to the right, they are the consequence of political decisions.

  15. [...] On the upside of indecision.  (Aeon via Big Picture) [...]