10 Sunday Reads

Avert your eyes! My Sunday morning look at incompetency, corruption and policy failures:

Palm Beach Is Having a Category 5 Identity Crisis: The aura of a sandswept playground of like-minded people of means. The appeal of a mild winter. (Annual average: more than 230 days of sunshine.) Lower taxes. The promise of a pandemic-era refuge from all the COVID restrictions up north. The presumed immunity from the daily horrors of life in all those messy blue-state towns—in favor of a supposedly safe, sheltered community in a state that sells itself as a last bastion of “individual freedom.” Together, these draws—and the bright, if tarnished, brand of a local resident named Trump—have proved a powerful magnet for MAGAs with money and the nouveau riche of all stripes. (Vanity Fair)

The Brutal Reality of Plunging Office Values Is Here: Commercial-property deals in the US are starting to pick up — at deep discounts that are forcing lenders around the world to brace for souring loans. (Bloomberg) see also A $560 Billion Property Warning Hits Banks From NY to Tokyo: Lenders face debt maturities, lower values after thaw in deals Multifamily also a focus following change in New York rent law (Bloomberg)

You paid more in income taxes last year than a corporation with billions in profits. Working Americans, for the most part, pay federal income taxes. Salaried workers have a portion of their pay withheld for federal income taxes every pay period. Small business owners and independent contractors are required to submit payments to the federal government throughout the year based on their projected income. These federal taxes amount to a significant percentage of workers’ earnings, an effective tax rate of ~13.6%. But some massive corporations with billions in profits have a much different experience. (Popular Information)

He Grew Up in the Shadow of the ‘Wolf of Wall Street.’ Then He Got Into Debt Settlement. Ryan Sasson built a business that reaped hundreds of millions of dollars in fees for helping people negotiate down their debts. But former clients — and prosecutors — say it was exploitative. (New York Times)

The Life and Death of the American Mall: The indoor suburban shopping center is a special kind of abandoned place. (Atlas Obscura)

Is the Media Prepared for an Extinction-Level Event? Ads are scarce, search and social traffic is dying, and readers are burned out. The future will require fundamentally rethinking the press’s relationship to its audience. (New Yorker)

Kara Swisher Is Sick of Tech People, So She Wrote a Book About Them: Silicon Valley’s top pundit dishes on her memoir Burn Book, immature billionaires, and whether she’s actually mean. (Wired)

GoFundMe Is a Health-Care Utility Now: Resorting to crowdfunding to pay medical bills has become so routine, in some cases health professionals recommend it. (The Atlantic) see also The Albatross Around America’s Neck: How health-care opacity neutralizes competition and fuels a corporate race to corner health-care markets. Purchased influence has led to regulatory capture, shaping legislation to consistently favor the health-care industry’s interests. (Health Care Un-Covered)

The Legal Coup: New Documents Reveal How Trump Lawyers Sought ‘Chaos’ to Force SCOTUS, or Whoever Else, to Anoint Trump. (TPM)

• Why Americans Suddenly Stopped Hanging Out: Too much aloneness is creating a crisis of social fitness. (The Atlantic)

Be sure to check out our Masters in Business this week with Bill Dudley, former president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, where he also served as vice chairman and a permanent member of the Federal Open Market Committee. He was executive vice president of the Markets Group at the New York Fed, where he also managed the System Open Market Account. Previously, he was chief US economist at Goldman Sachs (the firm’s first) as well as a partner and managing director.


Real estate agents are less busy

Source: Torsten Slok, Apollo Global



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