Wednesday, May 9, 2012

What We’re Reading, 5/9/12

Every morning, we poll the staff and round up their favorite economic, financial and political reads of the day. On our agendas for this afternoon: moderate Republicans, CEOs, and unpaid interns.

"Moderate Republicans Fall Away in the Senate," by Nate Silver (New York TImes). In case you missed it, six-term Indiana Senator Dick Lugar was defeated by a Tea Party-backed challenger in primary elections yesterday. (He went on to write a fascinating 1400-word screed about partisanship.) The Times’ Nate Silver ran some numbers and found that Lugar’s race, while dramatic, is by no means unique: Moderate Republican Senators have an attrition rate of 78 (!) percent.

"CEOs: Don’t Raise Taxes on Dividends" (Politico). The CEOs of 18 major corporations — including UPS, Verizon and Xcel Energy — penned a Politico op-ed re: Obama’s proposed tax hike on dividends and capital gains. An excerpt: “Dividend-paying stocks offer investors a bright spot in a challenging financial marketplace … The threat of looming tax increases on dividends and capital gains could also increase volatility in the stock market this year.”

"Private Jobs Increase More with Democrats in the White House," by Bob Drummond (Bloomberg). If you believe Bloomberg’s latest analysis, almost two-thirds of private sector job growth occured under Democratic presidents over the past 50 years.

"Morgan Stanley’s Grimes Is Where Money and Tech Meet," by Evelyn M. Rusli (New York Times). Silicon Valley’s “banker of choice” wears leaf-print ties, knows computer science, and helps tech companies like LinkedIn, Groupon and Facebook go public.

"How to End This Depression," by Paul Krugman (New York Review of Books). Krugman goes long on austerity, stimulus and the “moral imperative” of getting people back to work. 

"Why College Football Should Be Banned," by Buzz Bissinger (Wall Street Journal). As if that Krugman essay weren’t controversial enough, Friday Night Lights author Buzz Bissinger is tackling the economic consequences of college football. “College football has no academic purpose. Which is why it needs to be banned,” he declares early on. “A radical solution, yes. But necessary in today’s times.” 

And in other news: Sacha Baron Cohen “endorsed” Mitt Romney, The Billfold weighs the cost of various summer blockbusters, and The Atlantic collects stories from unpaid interns.

Happy reading, Tumblers!

Monday, April 2, 2012

What We’re Reading, 4/2/12

Every morning, we poll the staff and round up their favorite economic, financial and political reads of the day. What we’re talking about on this nice Monday morning: seniors’ student debt, deficit reduction and the odd persistence of pennies.

"Senior Citizens Continue to Bear Burden of Student Loans," by Ylan Q. Mui (The Washington Post). According to new research from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, seniors owe $36 billion in student loans — and more than 10 percent of those loans are delinquent. “What a disconcerting picture,” says magazine reporter Susannah Snider. “Student debt really is an inescapable ball-and-chain.”

"New York Tops London as City with Most Global Clout," by Henry Goldman (Bloomberg). A Bloomberg analysis of the business, cultural and political activity in 66 urban centersranked New York first among global business hubs. It came right ahead of London, Paris and Tokyo; L.A., Chicago and D.C. also crack the top ten.

"No Deal: Why Last Week Might Have Killed Deficit Reduction for the Year," by James Kwak (The Atlantic). Supreme Court arguments and the Ryan budget drowned out the Simpson-Bowles vote last week. But the decisive, bipartisan defeat of the latest deficit-reduction plan indicates something important, Kwak writes: “There is no apparent political path that leads to a solution to our long-term deficit problems.”

"How Billionaires Destroy Democracy," by Linda McQuaig and Neil Brooks (Salon). Had it come out a few months earlier, McQuaig and Brooks’ takedown of the super-rich — excerpted from their forthcoming book, “Billionaires’ Ball” — might have been a text for the world’s Occupiers. Instead, it’s a withering look at how the wealthiest Americans manipulate the government and the economy.

"Penny Dreadful," by David Owen (The New Yorker). Canada’s recent decision to pan the penny got us wondering why the U.S. hasn’t done the same. To wit, a 2008 New Yorker article that seeks to answer the question — “why do pennies persist?”

"A Long View: Goldwater in History," by Richard Hofstadter (New York Review of Books). While we’re pulling from the archives, senior political editor David Morris sent in this story from — get ready, Mad Men fans — 1964. “I’m captivated by a piece of political writing nearly 50 years old,” he says. “Hofstadter writes about conservative Barry Goldwater’s attempts to reinvent himself as a more moderate general election candidate in that year’s race against President Johnson. The strategy is playing out again in the 2012 campaign, but Hofstadter portrays Goldwater as the original Etch-A-Sketch candidate.”

What are you reading today?