Tuesday, May 1, 2012

What We’re Reading, 5/1/12

Every morning, we poll the staff and round up their favorite economic, financial and political reads of the day. On our radar for Tuesday: News Corp., Occupy Wall Street, and the prospect of running a Goldman Sachs Tumblr.

"U.K. Report Condemns News Corp.," by Paul Sonne and Jeanne Whalen (Wall Street Journal). The U.K. parliamentary committee investigating last year’s News of the World phone-hacking scandal released its final report today. One line pretty much sums it up: Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch is “not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company.”

"Occupy Wall Street Plans Global Protests in Resurgence," by Henry Goldman and Esme Deprez (Bloomberg). The Occupy movement has planned big protests in hundreds of cities around the world today — but don’t call it a comeback. Violence already broke out in San Francisco last night. And our colleagues at the Kiplinger Letter report the movement is essentially too radicalized to go on.

"The Legendary Paul Ryan," by Jonathan Chait (New York). Mitt Romney may be the de facto GOP presidential nominee, but this guy’s the real face of the Republican party. That could have a profound impact on the budget, the GOP agenda, and — if Romney is elected — the tenor of his presidency. Writes Chait: “To find a parallel to the way Ryan has so thoroughly seized control of the Republican agenda and identity, you have to go back at least to Gingrich in his nineties heyday, or possibly to Reagan.”

"The Purpose of Spectacular Wealth, According to a Spectacularly Wealthy Guy," by Adam Davidson (New York Times magazine). Your friendly curator eagerly anticipates this week’s money-themed New York Times mag, which will drop on Sunday. But here’s a sneak preview: This killer long read from Planet Money’s Adam Davidson profiles a former Bain Capital partner who “aggressively argues” in favor of income inequality.

"The Death and Life of Detroit," by Barry Yeoman (American Prospect). Detroit, widely considered one of America’s most blighted cities, may be experiencing a grassroots economic resurgence. (Related, in media business news: The American Prospect announced yesterday that it’s in the red and will fold without a grassroots resurgence of its own.)

"U.S. Economy Behaved Predictably in Crisis," by Christopher Payne (Bloomberg Government). The economic recovery may seem slow, but according to this new analysis from Bloomberg Government, it’s actually in line with historical crises.

And in other news: Charles Wheelan pens some great — if unconventional — advice for 2012 grads, running social media for Goldman Sachs might be the toughest job in finance, and Vulture has a rundown of the ways theater-owners might try to lure you into theaters.

Happy reading, Tumblers! 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

What We’re Reading, 4/10/12

Every morning, we poll the staff and round up their favorite economic, financial and political reads of the day. Making the office rounds this morning: the Buffett Rule, Instagram, and Budweiser as luxury beer.

"White House Makes Case for ‘Buffett Rule,’" by James Politi (Financial Times). The Obama administration has begun to push in earnest for a 30 percent tax on millionaires, but don’t expect the rule to make it into the tax code. “It’s an effort to demonstrate to voters how out-of-touch Mitt Romney and the GOP are with the middle class,” says Letter editor Ken Bazinet. “About two-thirds of Americans say they want to see the rich pay more, but that won’t stop the GOP-controlled House from blocking the bill.” Related reading: “The Numerical Weak Spot of Obama’s ‘Buffett Rule.”

"In Praise of Crowdfunding," by Andrew Leonard (Salon). The JOBS Act has been roundly criticized by reform-minded liberals like Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibi, who recently wrote that it “couldn’t suck worse.” But not so fast, says Leonard: the law’s crowdfunding provision could provide enormous opportunity for small businesses. Kickstarter, anyone?

"Health Care Law Will Add $340 Billion to Deficit, New Study Finds," by Lori Montgomery (Washington Post). Well, there’s a headline that speaks for itself. The study, released today, comes from conservative policy analyst Charles Blahous. 

"It’s Time to Accept the Existence of a Social Media Bubble," by Rebecca Greenfield (The Atlantic). Instagram sold to Facebook for a whopping $1 billion yesterday, just weeks before Facebook’s much-anticipated (and highly valued) IPO. How is Instagram possibly worth $1 billion? Greenfield argues that “speculative mania” is driving up valuations for Internet companies — and that investors suffer when the bubble bursts.  

"The Amazing Matzo Stimulus," by Adam Davidson (New York Times Magazine). Magazine reporter Susannah Snider has been eating a sad lunch of matzo and brussel sprouts all week — perhaps why she flagged this story. “Can a company thrive on a product that 2% of the population is forced to buy one week per year?” She asks. Apparently, yes!

And finally, in lighter news: a tweet is worth a tenth of a cent (a Yelp review or Foursquare check-in, considerably more); New York City income inequality, as graphed by its supermarkets; and Budweiser as a luxury — in China, anyway.

What are you reading?