What We’re Reading, 4/9/2012
Every morning, we poll the staff and round up their favorite economic, financial and political reads of the day. On our radar this fine Monday morning: more on jobs, patent trolls and executive perks.
"U.S. Job Figures Become a Fickle Political Football," by Robin Harding (The Financial Times). Economists and finance writers always note the monthly jobs reports — but now campaign strategists pay attention, too. “The challenge for President Barack Obama and his all-but-certain Republican rival Mitt Romney is to tell a story about jobs that holds true with every report,” Harding writes. (Unrelated challenge: When the Financial Times says “football,” does it actually mean soccer?)
"Federal Funds to Train the Jobless Are Drying Up," by Motoko Rich (The New York Times). 12.7 million people are still looking for jobs, but federal funding for work force training has dropped to historic lows. Both employers and employees suffer.
"For Big Companies, Life is Good," by Scott Thurm (The Wall Street Journal). New jobs report got you down? New analysis from the Journal finds heartening growth elsewhere — among large corporations, which are leaner and more profitable than they were pre-recession.
"The Troll Toll," by Ray Fisman (Slate). ”Patent trolls” buy up huge numbers of patents for the express purpose of litigating. That’s a hassle for small businesses, obviously. But a new study by MIT economist Catherine Tucker indicates a greater problem — patent trolls may actually stifle innovation. (Required listening on this subject: This American Life’s “When Patents Attack!”)
"The Truth About Ric Edelman," by Caren Chesler (Financial Advisor). We’re getting a bit insidery here, but bear with us — FA’s April cover story is an intriguing personality profile of a guy once called “Suze Orman before there was a Suze Orman.” Edelman, who has written a mountain of books and hosts a weekly radio show, is arguably one of the country’s most controversial financial planners.
"A ‘Fat Cat’ With the President’s Ear," by Robert Frank (The Wall Street Journal). While we’re talking profiles, this one’s a must-read: Robert Wolf, the president of UBS’s investment bank, was one of President Obama’s top fundraisers in the last election. The so-called “Pied Piper of Wall Street” might step back in 2012.
"In Chief Executives’ Pay, a Rich Game of Thrones," by Natasha Singer (The New York Times). Apple CEO Timothy Cook makes $42,000 an hour. Enough said.
What are you reading today?