Saturday, May 15, 2010


How transfer funding allows U.S. companies to avoid taxes (estimated $60 billion/year).

Do residential tourists ruin neighborhoods? (Some great points here, but also some unfortunate nostalgia here too, e.g. the suggestion that New York in the 60s, 70s and 80s was “crazy” in a good way.)

How Kagan embraced political expediency in advising Clinton on the crack cocaine-cocaine sentencing disparity.

Las Vegas is building more houses:
Home prices in Las Vegas are down by 60 percent from 2006 in one of the steepest descents in modern times. There are 9,517 spanking new houses sitting empty. An additional 5,600 homes were repossessed by lenders in the first three months of this year and could soon be for sale.

Yet builders here are putting up 1,100 homes, and they are frantically buying lots for even more.

Las Vegas is trying to recover by building what it does not need. It is an unlikely pattern being repeated in many of the areas where the housing crash was most severe.

Is unemployment more cyclical or structural? Relatedly, a lament for the class of 2010.

Trichet/Euro follies:
But a senior German finance official said Saturday that he is comfortable with the current value of the euro. Steffen Kampeter, German parliamentary state secretary in the ministry of finance and a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union, told a conference in Bahrain that the euro "is a success story."

ECB officials won't say how much money they intend to spend on the debt-purchase program, or how they will divvy up the purchases among countries. They've promised to drain equal amounts of money from the banking system so that the program doesn't increase the money supply, a process known as sterilization. But apart from some vague references to options like term deposits, the ECB hasn't specified exactly how it intends to accomplish this.
This is so soothing. It’s also difficult to see how well the U.S. can recover if the Euro stays flat/falls—that’s fewer exports, which means it’s harder to rebalance the American economy.

How Bear Stearns falsified information provided to ratings agencies.

The Senate is considering an amendment to give brokers a fiduciary duty towards their clients.

Have we discovered a cure to alcoholism?

Things aren’t going well in Afghanistan, according to a Pentagon report.

A profile of Cass Sunstein (good.)

Mohamed El-Erian engages in what I’ll call backseat driving: he lofts several correct and justified criticisms at the European economic policy at the moment, yet offers no solution that he’d prefer and merely says that it’s "hard to change course."

More about GM crops not doing a good enough job with pests.

China’s undocumented migrant problem. A WSJ essay talks about the sort of “inner party” of the Communist Party that effectively rules China; in contrast, this Los Angeles Times article talks about efforts of citizens to influence their local governments.

A slideshow of Paris in the 30s and 40s. If you’re a Francophile as I am, well, then this is the slideshow for you.

For the Stanford football fans in the audience:

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