Michael B. Duff

Lubbock's answer to a question no one asked

links for 2010-09-08

  • No investment bank owned by its employees would have levered itself 35 to 1 or bought and held $50 billion in mezzanine C.D.O.’s. I doubt any partnership would have sought to game the rating agencies or leap into bed with loan sharks or even allow mezzanine C.D.O.’s to be sold to its customers. The hoped-for short-term gain would not have justified the long-term hit.
  • In the two decades since then, I had been waiting for the end of Wall Street. The outrageous bonuses, the slender returns to shareholders, the never-ending scandals, the bursting of the internet bubble, the crisis following the collapse of Long-Term Capital Management: Over and over again, the big Wall Street investment banks would be, in some narrow way, discredited. Yet they just kept on growing, along with the sums of money that they doled out to 26-year-olds to perform tasks of no obvious social utility. The rebellion by American youth against the money culture never happened. Why bother to overturn your parents’ world when you can buy it, slice it up into tranches, and sell off the pieces?
  • The three-level space is impressive, with power outlets at every seat (your receipt comes with a Wi-Fi password) and a massive video screen that projects, among other things, recent tweets and public Foursquare check-ins to the venue. When 4food opens in the second week of September, there will be a half-dozen iPads for self-service orders, as well as iPad-equipped employees walking around to speed things up.
  • The truth is that the Obama administration is pretty much out of options. Any major new effort would be blocked by Republicans, who have few alternatives of their own. "What we would all love to find – the inexpensive magic bullet to our economic troubles – the truth is it almost surely doesn't exist," Romer admitted.
  • Romer had predicted that Obama's stimulus package would keep the unemployment rate at 8 percent or less; it is now 9.5 percent. One of her bosses, Vice President Biden, told Democrats in January that "you're going to see, come the spring, net increase in jobs every month." The economy lost 350,000 jobs in June and July. This is why nearly two-thirds of Americans think the country is on the wrong track – and why Obama's efforts to highlight the end of U.S. combat in Iraq and the resumption of Middle East peace talks have little chance of piercing the gloom as voters consider handing control of Congress back to the Republicans.
  • It is risky to hire new employees if you do not know whether, a few years hence, it will be legal to fire them. It is risky to build a new factory, in any industry where energy is a major cost, if you do not know whether next year's legislation will sharply raise the cost of energy—better to wait to choose your design until you have a clearer idea of what your costs are going to be. It is risky to choose a profession, or change professions, when you do not know whether the growth field is going to be health care or bankruptcy law. Multiply such considerations many fold, and you may have an explanation of why the recovery from the initial shock, in both cases, was so slow.
    (tags: economics)
  • Jeffrey Goldberg, a national correspondent for The Atlantic magazine, asked if Cuba's economic system was still worth exporting to other countries, and Castro replied: "The Cuban model doesn't even work for us anymore" Goldberg wrote Wednesday in a post on his Atlantic blog.
  • Well, at least now somebody's admitted it.

Written by Michael B. Duff

September 8, 2010 at 23:01

Posted in Uncategorized

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