10 Friday AM Reads

The week is over already? How did that happen so soon! No worries, we have your artisanal morning train reads:

• The Strong Dollar Is Weighing On Major U.S. Exporters (Real Time Economics) see also The Crashing Euro Is Great for American Tourists. But What About the American Economy? (Slate)
• On its 1 year anniversary, Michael Lewis Reflects on Flash Boys (Vanity Fair)
• Have Oil Prices Hit Their Floor? (WSJ)
• Who is the biggest Fed basher of them all? Ben Bernake! (The Money Illusionsee also Giving QE is Easy – Taking it Away is Hard (Cassandra Does Tokyo)
• Why words are the new numbers (Capital Ideas)

Continues here

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    • rd commented on Mar 13

      This is what the coastlines looked like when the sea level was 350 to 450 feet lower than today 20,000 years ago at the peak of the last ice sheet advance.

      The irony is that most of the loudest voices denying climate change are the ones that are going to be the most heavily impacted. Most refineries are along coastlines just a few feet above sea level. Entire refineries are going to simply vanish assuming sea level rise fits the average to worst case assumptions. Those refineries are owned by oil companies. Some governors may see sizable percentages of their states disappear. Most of the major financial centers in the world could go underwater.

      On the bright side, there will be a whole new group of people who will get nice waterfront property. Many of those current land values are quite low, so they will get sizable capital gains.


  1. rd commented on Mar 13

    BTW – it appears that the US is a nation of slackers who won’t get off the couch (or out of the crib) to work. Sounds like we should have an amnesty for all of those people who do want to work and would be willing to pay taxes if allowed.


    Seriously though, this is an interesting look at the unemployment statistics. I will also point out that it is probably not coincidental that the overall rise and fall of home prices roughly paralleled the increase and decrease in the percentage of the population that was employed. Many people went to work largely to afford a bigger house. That didn’t necessarily work out too well for many of them.

    • VennData commented on Mar 13

      These people only work for the money. It’s left wing tax policy that prevents us from wanting big houses, big cars, and rapper video bling. Shaming people who want lots of stuff is what guilty liberals do best. Go anywhere else in the world with lower taxes and see how they are kicking the crap out of America in all the Economist rankings!

    • willid3 commented on Mar 13

      and cant forget big guns!

    • Jojo commented on Mar 13

      Besides the BLS not counting people as unemployed who haven’t looked for work in the last 4 weeks, it seems that independent contractors are not included either. And a large number of companies employ many independent contractors as companies look for ways out of paying benefits and being responsible for unemployment insurance.

      Even using the BLS hokey numbers, if IC’s were included the unemployment number would be higher than it currently is.

    • Jojo commented on Mar 13

      Contract Worker or Employee? Tax Liability Rests on the Difference
      MARCH 13, 2015

      Tax time can be particularly taxing for families who pay an in-home caregiver or housekeeper.

      If the worker is considered an employee — rather than an independent contractor — you, as the employer, are responsible for paying payroll taxes and reporting the details to the Internal Revenue Service. They’re often called “nanny taxes” but they can apply to other workers, like caregivers for elderly people, too.

      How can you tell if a worker is your employee?


    • willid3 commented on Mar 13

      or at least the classify them as contractors. or try. see Uber and Lyft.
      course it does seem to not be working so well …some times
      they also dont want to have to have workers comp either

    • rd commented on Mar 13

      I know some people who have the choice of pissing off their employer by filing a labor board grievance because they get “Independent Contractor” boxes checked on 1099s when they should be classified as employees; or just accepting it and paying the additional “self-employed” FICA tax themselves.

      Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

    • Jojo commented on Mar 13

      There ARE benefits to being a true IC.

      You can deduct business expenses, like computer stuff needed for your work, home office space (as long as it is not shared), “commuting” costs if you contend that your home office is your base and so forth. You can also deduct health insurance costs.

      On the downside, you lose employer benefits like paid vacation, unemployment when you lose your job, etc.

      The IRS and sate govs go after companies classifying people as IC’s because true IC’s only pay their taxes on a quarterly basis and often, their calculations of what they owe are not accurate. Usually, it is on the low side and sometimes, they don’t pay what they owe because they have become unemployed.

      The government tax collection agencies prefer to get the money auto deducted from your paycheck so they can borrow against it immediately. [lol]

    • rd commented on Mar 14


      Unfortunately, a large portion of the ICs aren’t really running a small business with costs that can be deducted. They are just working for somebody who doesn’t want to classify them as an employee so they can avoid paying the employers tax and benefits. Also, deductions don’t mean much if you are only making $20k.

    • Jojo commented on Mar 15

      @RD – It doesn’t matter. If you are getting paid as a 1099, then you ARE a business owner and can deduct everything necessary to fairly and actively conduct your business. Depending on how much you make, it is possible to have negative earnings after deductions.

      If companies classify a worker incorrectly (discovered by the worker complains or the company gets audited), then the company can be assessed some stiff fines, have to pay all the taxes that the misclassified contractor was liable for and if they let the contractor go, be liable for his unemployment payments (as an employee) also.

      The financial risk isn’t generally worth it for big companies, so what they do these days is contract for workers through a body shop that gives them someone they can easily get rid of when they want. But that doesn’t come cheap. Most of those farm companies rent their “employees” to the big companies for double (or more) of the amount they pay the contractor/employee. So a $25/hr employee contractor would probably bill at $45 to $60/hr actual.

  2. VennData commented on Mar 13

    Alan Greenspan mug was on lamenting the government policies “preventing” more investment.

    Yeah, if Congress would dump the Reagan loophole of stashing profits overseas that have had little to no tax collected we would have two trillion to invest or disperse as dividends.

    The press needs to call out these bloviators.

  3. Jojo commented on Mar 13

    Now anybody can use Robinhood, the no-fee trading app backed by Snoop Dogg and Marc Andreessen
    Portia Crowe
    Mar. 12, 2015

    It’s sleek. It’s easy to use. It’s designed to give first time, small-scale investors a leg up on Wall Street hotshots.

    And after months of waiting, it’s now open to anyone who wants to join.

    Robinhood, a zero-commission brokerage app for iPhone that launched in December to a 700,000-person waitlist, is now available to the general public.

    Here’s why Robinhood is unlike any existing stock market app.



  4. Jojo commented on Mar 13

    Koch brothers refuse to cooperate with climate research funding probe
    Billionaire libertarians say they won’t cooperate with Senate investigation into corporate funding of climate skeptics

    March 11, 2015
    by Renee Lewis

    The multinational corporation run by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch has said it will not cooperate with a Senate investigation into whether the corporation has paid for research skeptical of climate change.

    Koch Industries Inc., which operates refining, chemical and pipeline companies, was among 100 fossil fuel businesses and organizations that were sent letters by three Democratic senators seeking information on whether they had backed research into global warming.

    Koch general counsel Mark V. Holden replied in a March 5 letter to Senators Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., and Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press.

    Holden said that disclosing the information would impinge on the Koch corporation’s First Amendment right to participate in public policy debates.


  5. VennData commented on Mar 13

    Tech Nuisances:

    Texts: Why does the Verizon MotoX think I want my txt messages right justified? Is this some secret plot to slowly make us Arabic? Who focused grouped this? And no Return Key use! You drones make my love haiku’s look like run on sentences.

    Mouse use: give me a key to hit. My fingers curl at all the mouse maneuvers you make me do.

    Screens: why all the mass of space on the right an left and up above then a tiny font that doesn’t adjust?

    Bloomberg: their inverted huge fonts take up the screen. Look, I clicked the link. Why repeat the headline so that I have to pgdn to get content? I use Bloomberg ten percent of what I used to.

    Video: you have a short thing to say and put it in a two minute video of your ambitious content star after a thirty second pre roll. Do you think I’m coming back to your site? Nope.

    Click Bate… And Click Bate elippses….

    Isn’t it great how you can’t cut and paste photos into mobile emails. They must have spent millions on that.

    Mobile sites: when I too back to the Wikipedia site by checking request desktop and THEN have to edit the URL too! Ahh!

    Google email pagination: See Mouse. How about a keystroke to go to the next page Sergy?

    Pictures next to new headlines. WASTE OF SPACE Business Insider, I am talking to you!

    Google Store first, but in some dead, abondended UK mining town. Are you kidding?

    Service provider overlays on Android and apps you can’t remove, demand updating and are always at the top of the list. I don’t care about Samsun “apps” either

    Big Cable: you want no net neutrality, but you include every channel I never want and every movie etc from every channel I never want in a search!? In a pre-Mario Brothers UI! You guys deserve to be driven out of business.

    Governments who refuse to use easy payment systems and/or charge you.

    Google news: you can’t move the boxes, fit more in a screen, remove but sites like newsmax, get New York times without…. Wait for it MOUSE CLICKING a little arrow every time to get to the New York Times. And you either get all the sports scores or none.

    Phone: no way to block a number on a smart phone!

    Picasa: no way to upload pictures without reloading Google Plus so all those creeps from High School find me.

    Bring the money back from the Cayman Islands and spend it on user testing!!!

    • Jojo commented on Mar 13

      [lol]. You need your own blog VennData!

  6. willid3 commented on Mar 13

    even if we have health insurance. we probably wont. cause a lot of people cant cover the co pay. so we end up skipping going to the doctor at all. and some employers only offer the high deductible health insurance.

    course i can relate to that. my wife and i went on a vacation last month. on the flight home (was an 8 hour flight. flying east. dark about the whole trip. but i collapsed when i stood up in the isle. they told me my eyes were open, but i didint really see any thing, but after some timer, i came too, as luck would have it , there was a doctor and a nurse on the flight. might have some thing to with why i wasnt out longer.

    but i wouldnt have ems check me out (they do charge for that now), nor have an ambulance come get me. and i didnt go to my doctor. and that is becoming more the norm. maybe not the best choices, but its the choices i can afford

    • rd commented on Mar 13

      So if JP Morgan is following the Enron playbook, does that make Jamie Dimon, Ken Lay or Jeff Skilling?

      I wonder if that means JP Morgan also hired Enron’s accountants?

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