My Sunday morning train reads:

• Europe’s Greater Depression is worse than the 1930s (WonkBlog) see also Markets Are Making a Sucker’s Bet on Europe (Bloomberg View)
• 8 Money Mistakes to Avoid on Your Way to Being Wealthy (Yahoo Finance)
• How One “Sack of Shit” Mortgage-Backed Security Came to Define the Financial Crisis (BuzzFeed)
• The Age of Meh (Reformed Broker)
• More Money Down Adds to U.S. First-Time Buyer Blues (Bloomberg) see also Manhattan Condos at Half Price Reshape New York’s Harlem (Bloomberg)
• Brokerages face exodus as advisers get better deal in indie firms (Reuters)
• Turning Policemen Into Soldiers, the Culmination of a Long Trend (The Atlantic) see also Forcing America’s Weaponized Police to Wear Cameras (The Atlantic)
• Snowden Fears Americans Will Get ‘NSA Fatigue’ (PBS)
• 10 places boomers and millennials are escaping from fastest  (Marketwatch)
• A newspaper fact-checks its own right-wing op-ed; hilarity ensues (LA Times)

What’s for brunch?



Jobless Claims Back Above 300k

Source: Bespoke Investment Group


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.

13 Responses to “10 Sunday Reads”

  1. RW says:

    Happy 79th birthday, Social Security! You still do your thing really well

    It’s popular these days to go around saying government doesn’t work, it’s all a big boondoggle, we fought the war on poverty and poverty won, and so on.

    No question, as I often stress on these pages, our current federal government has some serious functionality issues. But that was not always the case, and some of what we’ve put in place works exceptionally well.

    One of the best examples is Social Security, which turned a sprightly 79 years old on Thursday. As the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ Kathy Ruffing points out:

    • Social Security lifts the incomes of 58 million Americans, and for most of its elderly beneficiaries it’s the single most important income source, accounting for two-thirds of their income on average.

    • For more than one-third of retirees on the program, Social Security accounts for at least 90 percent of their income.

    • The figure below shows that were it not for Social Security benefits, over 44 percent of the elderly would be poor. With it, that share falls to 9 percent. What’s that again about government programs failing to reduce poverty? ….

  2. hue says:

    Being a Better Online Reader (The New Yorker) Bezos’ footprints: Amazon “buy it now” buttons inserted into WaPo stories (Pando Daily)

    The data on white anxiety over Hispanic immigration (WaPo)

    Shark Bytes: The Global Internet Is Being Attacked by Sharks, Google Confirms (Slate)

  3. > A newspaper fact-checks its own right-wing op-ed; hilarity ensues (LA Times)

    From Stephen Moore’s Heritage Foundation bio:

    “Because I’ve been a consumer of think tank material and policy research, I think I have a pretty good sense of what reporters want and how to get it to them in the way they want it,” Moore said. “Being timely — and not just offering opinion but giving them the facts and data is really critical.” (Heritage Foundation)

    Yeah, even super critical.

  4. RW says:

    The Mystery of Lofty Stock Market Elevations –Robert J. Shiller

    In the last century, the CAPE has fluctuated greatly, yet it has consistently reverted to its historical mean — sometimes taking a while to do so. Periods of high valuation have tended to be followed eventually by stock-price declines.

    Still, the ratio has been a very imprecise timing indicator: It’s been relatively high — above 20 — for almost all the last 20 years, with the exception of 20 months, mostly in the recession of 2007-9, when prices tumbled and it fell as low as 13.32.

    In other words, the ratio is saying the stock market has been relatively expensive for years. And that raises a question: Are there legitimate factors behind high stock prices that might keep them elevated for decades more?

    NB: Have no idea how long elevated equity prices will last but suspect it will be about as long as elevated high-quality bond prices last. Einstein is supposed to have riffed on Occam’s Razor by commenting, “everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler,” so doubtless there are sociological or behavioral factors involved but as a plain fact it seems clear there are an insufficient quantity of safe assets available for even normal commerce, collateral and savings never mind those engendered by fear so supply/demand factors alone suggest quality bond prices are likely to remain high (and real interest rates low to negative). This doesn’t leave much opportunity for enhanced returns unless equity risk is taken on.

    Parenthetically I used to occasionally wonder if deficit hawks, inflationistas, austerians and related ‘deep thinkers’ ever paused long enough to consider how absolutely essential government debt creation is — that without a sufficient supply of safe assets the system of global commerce and savings would freeze — or reflected that a national government balancing its budget effectively removes more safe assets from the system. I don’t wonder any more, just ascribe it to a kind of madness.

  5. rd says:

    Re: The Age of Meh

    Usually I can figure out when Josh Brown is being sarcastic. This one has me puzzled though as it comes across as very tone deaf. I think the statistics on wealth and income have made it quite clear over the past decade that the top 10% are doing fairly well, the 1% is doing extremely well, and life for the top 0.1% is fabulous. However, it goes downhill quite quickly from there as you move down the food chain. By the time you get to just median level, the hope seems to be that great (but expensive) cable TV options will make up for the other ways that they are falling behind. 15% of the country is still in poverty which roughly matches the 20% of Americans who have not saved anything for retirement.

    Another example: What does it matter if the president is black but unarmed black are in danger of being shot for walking down the street?

    I think this particular post is a excellent exhibit on how various types of inequality either remain in place from the past or are being exacerbated today. I have seen some research recently where $75k is the point at which happiness plateaus with increasing income. However, more and more of the country has falling real income with the median well below the $75k mark so it should not be a surprise that the number of Americans who feel the country is on the wrong track is growing.

  6. barbacoa666 says:

    Brunch is an egg scramble followed by a moderate session on my rowing machine. Catching up on activities in Ukraine:
    Some insight into Russian thinking:
    What’s Putin’s game?
    Obama’s strategy:
    Ukraine makes gains, but reinforcements from Russia on the way:

  7. rd says:

    Re: Common Core Curriculum

    My wife teaches in one of the upstate NYS urban school districts listed in the article below. The roll-out of the Common Core Curriculum rivaled the roll-out of the federal Obamacare website for ineptitude and delays. The vast majority of the new tools and tests were not ready at the beginning of the school year. As a result, teachers were frequently getting teaching materials concurrently with the students supposed to be learning the material (sometimes afterwards). Baseline testing sometimes occurred after the children were taught new material. This isn’t an issue about money, just administrative competence. The teachers have enough headwinds against them with the number of children coming from poverty and dysfunctional families so dysfunctional administration just make matters worse.

  8. VennData says:

    Snowden took more than “Civil Liberties” documents

  9. Jojo says:

    Some evangelicals in Republican Party are feeling left out, see no standard-bearer
    By Sebastian Payne
    August 16, 2014

    LITTLETON, Colo. — Perched on the edge of his chair in a study overflowing with books, Pastor Gino Geraci reels off the Republicans he no longer believes in. His friend Mike Huckabee is an “odd bird” who couldn’t win a general election. Sarah Palin doesn’t inspire him with her “cliched responses to difficult questions.” Rand Paul is “fascinating but frustrating.”

    Of all the Republicans weighing a bid for president in 2016, the only one who puts a smile on Geraci’s face is doctor-turned-conservative-media-darling Ben Carson. And yet, Geraci concedes, Carson is “not in the mainstream” and has little chance of ever being elected.

    The assessment from Geraci, the founding pastor of Calvary South Denver, a sprawling evangelical church with several thousand congregants, reflects a broader sense of despair among white evangelicals about the Republican Party many once considered their comfortable home.

    Many social conservatives say they feel politically isolated as the country seems to be hurtling to the left, with marijuana now legal in Colorado and gay marriage gaining ground across the nation. They feel out of place in a GOP increasingly dominated by tea party activists and libertarians who prefer to focus on taxes and the role of government and often disagree with social conservatives on drugs or gay rights.

  10. Jojo says:

    Transplant Brokers in Israel Lure Desperate Kidney Patients to Costa Rica
    AUG. 17, 2014

    RAMAT GAN, Israel — Aside from the six-figure price tag, what was striking was just how easy it was for Ophira Dorin to buy a kidney.

    Two years ago, as she faced the dispiriting prospect of spending years on dialysis, Ms. Dorin set out to find an organ broker who could help her bypass Israel’s lengthy transplant wait list. Only 36, she had a promising job at a software company and dreams of building a family. To a woman who raced cars for kicks, it seemed unthinkable that her best days might be tethered to a soul-sapping machine.

    For five years, Ms. Dorin had managed her kidney disease by controlling her diet, but it had gradually overrun her resistance. Unable to find a matching donor among family and friends, she faced a daily battle against nausea, exhaustion and depression.

    A broker who trades in human organs might seem a difficult thing to find. But Ms. Dorin’s mother began making inquiries around the hospital where she worked, and in short order the family came up with three names: Avigad Sandler, a former insurance agent long suspected of trafficking; Boris Volfman, a young Ukrainian émigré and Sandler protégé; and Yaacov Dayan, a wily businessman with interests in real estate and marketing.

    The men were, The New York Times learned during an investigation of the global organ trade, among the central operators in Israel’s irrepressible underground kidney market. For years, they have pocketed enormous sums for arranging overseas transplants for patients who are paired with foreign donors, court filings and government documents show.