10 Monday AM Reads

Start the workweek — and the beginning of earnings season — right with our hand-curated morning train reads:

• The $9 Trillion Short That May Send the Dollar Even Higher (Bloomberg)
• Wall Street Banks’ Mutual Funds Can Lag on Returns (NYT)
• Diversification: The “Impossible Trade” is working (TRB)
• Mourn the fall of the mall: The symbol of US consumerism, the shopping mall, is crumbling. (Aljazeerabut see Americans Are on a Shopping Spree (Bloomberg View)
• What Causes Recessions? (Bloomberg View)

Continues here


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  1. rd commented on Apr 13

    House Republicans want a return to the time of landed aristocracy and noble families that retain wealth over many generations, just like 18th century Britain.


    I understand the arguments about low tax rates for people who make their own fortunes as an expression of the American Dream. However, I don’t think that this right should be bequeathed down to offspring who simply won the genetic lottery. That threatens to disrupt the American Dream for other people who will have to overcome an established aristocracy who have bought political influence to protect the status quo. If I recall, there was a war fought over something like this……

    • RW commented on Apr 13

      Alexis de Tocqueville had a useful perspective on hereditary wealth; e.g., Chapter 18 of Democracy in America:

      “No great change takes place in human institutions without involving among its causes the law of inheritance. When the law of primogeniture obtained in the South, each family was represented by a wealthy individual, who was neither compelled nor induced to labor; and he was surrounded, as by parasitic plants, by the other members of his family, …who led the same kind of life as himself. …

      No sooner was the law of primogeniture abolished than fortunes began to diminish and all the families of the country were simultaneously reduced to a state in which labor became necessary to existence; several of them have since entirely disappeared …. Wealthy individuals …no longer constitute a compact and hereditary body, nor have they been able to adopt a line of conduct in which they could persevere and which they could infuse into all ranks of society. …”

      NB: That was then (1835), this is now, and the wealthy have succeeded in fully resurrecting their status and power through corporate, estate and trust law. They even get a bonus of sorts because divisibility of modern financial assets now allows lesser scions of the new nobility access to the same legally protected, intergenerational trough that was once only available to firstborn.

      de Toqueville was clearly impressed that the United States, in effectively outlawing primo geniture, fee entail and other habits of aristocracy, appeared well on the way to avoiding the kind of social stratification and policy biases that rendered Europe sclerotic and conflict ridden. I doubt he would be impressed at all now.

    • VennData commented on Apr 13

      Spoken like someone with poor parents.

      Everybody knows the only way to incentive Republican children is to give them big inheritances.

      It’s a plain as the white, upturned nose on my face.

    • willid3 commented on Apr 13

      well i always thought they wanted to go back to the US gilded age. which probably was a take from the English.

    • howardoark commented on Apr 13

      Primogeniture was the rule that the first born male child got everything (subsequent sons went into the Army or Church and daughters got married off) which assured there would be a squire with the founder’s last name running the estate into perpetuity. Romney already has 20 grandchildren so his fortune is unlikely to result in a landed aristocracy. The Clintons, on the other hand, will probably die out in a few generations so no landed gentry there either. The Bushes are likely to be with us forever, but I can’t see them keeping up the lifestyle of the Duchess of Windsor given their innate talents.

      I haven’t got a big problem with people leaving money to their children as that’s one of the perks of being successful (also winning the genetic lottery, but you get some good with the bad).

      Romney’s 401(k), on the other hand, is a huge problem for me. How is that legal?

  2. hue commented on Apr 13

    Unlike Hillary Clinton, the entire GOP field is either obscure or unpopular (vox http://bit.ly/1aJYfAp ) the 90s reloaded standing by her man (youtube http://bit.ly/1yow4SQ)

    Thomas Jefferson’s secret reason for sending Lewis and Clark West: to find mastodons (vox http://bit.ly/1zafxwz) Mr. Mastodon Farm (cake http://bit.ly/1Hk9Z9v )

    Parents in trouble again for letting kids walk alone (usa2day http://usat.ly/1FOauql) One in Four Colleges Say They’re Pressured to Rig Admissions (bloomberg http://bloom.bg/1GDDl3D)

  3. RW commented on Apr 13

    WaPo Column Asks: “Should Mitt Romney Be Able to Use Fund Managers’ Tax Break to Buy Filet Mignon?”

    No, that actually is not what the column asked. The question was instead whether people on TANF or food stamps should be able to buy steak or spend their money in other ways that politicians consider lavish.

    It seems that if we think the government has a right to dictate people’s spending habits based on giving them $1,600 a year in food stamps (the average benefit per recipient), there should also be a case for dictating their spending habits if we give them thousands of times as much in tax breaks, as would be the case with the fund managers’ tax break. ….

  4. VennData commented on Apr 13

    Obama request for Islamic State fight lacks House backing says top Republican


    If he’d only go have a beer with them.

    Nothing those rural state GOPers want more than a photo op with the Prez.

    He’s so weak on defense. Sequestering it He’s so go-it-alone. Doing things foreign policywise without proper approval. The World’s on Fire. He doesn’t support our troops! He doesn’t support our allies! Beau Bergdahl!

  5. rd commented on Apr 13

    California probably has more than enough water for current conditions if it was planned for and simple measures implemented, along with more rational market pricing of water. Its odd that we hear the constant bleat for “free market” when it comes to regulating the financial sector but dead silence when it comes to the water sector. Increased efficiency in this wealthy market could provide the impetus to extend it to developing nations where actual lives could be saved.


    • willid3 commented on Apr 13

      course that makes one wonder exactly what non VA hospitals are doing

    • ilsm commented on Apr 13

      Congress appropriated a few billion dollars for VA to “send” patients downtown. The program is a dismal failure too few vets are willing to leave the VA system. I used to go to military clinics, now we have TRI-CARE. Who said socialism is bad?

  6. Willy2 commented on Apr 13

    – “The $9 Trillion Short That May Send the Dollar Even Higher (Bloomberg)”

    – The USD going higher ? Agree, but NOT in a straight line. I personally expect a short term pull back.

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