Thursday, May 10, 2012

What We’re Reading, 5/10/12

Every morning, we poll the staff and round up their favorite economic, financial and political reads of the day. What we perused over lunch: Mitt Romney’s (tortured?) past, the recession’s “true lessons,” and the mysterious case of a $14 Picasso. 

"Mitt Romney’s Prep School Classmates Recall Pranks, but Also Troubling Incidents," by Jason Horowitz (Washington Post). Remember that “young Obama” story that Vanity Fair dug up last week? Now Romney is having his own unpleasant blast-from-the-past moment. As a high schooler, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee led a number of “pranks” against fellow students and teachers, including an attack on a classmate the Post suggests was gay. Romney has since apologized.

"Obama Evolves on Gay Marriage," by Doyle McManus (LA Times). President Obama publicly affirmed his support for gay marriage on ABC News yesterday afternoon — a move that, unsurprisingly, has people from the right and the left riled up. Looming large among the criticisms: Why did Obama do it now? McManus has a few ideas.

"The True Lessons of the Recession," by Raghuram G. Rajan (Foreign Policy). According to Rajan, the slow economic recovery has less to do with austerity and stimulus and more to do with unsolved structural issues. “Governments need to address the underlying flaws in their economies,” he writes. “In the United States, that means educating or retraining the workers who are falling behind, encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation, and harnessing the power of the financial sector to do good while preventing it from going off track.”

"The Woman Who Lived in a Shed: How London Landlords Are Cashing In," by Amelia Gentleman (The Guardian). And your friendly curator thought her rent was steep — desperate renters in London pay as much as $566 a month to live in sheds, shanties and walk-in freezers.

"Scamworld: ‘Get Rich Quick’ Schemes Mutate Into an Online Monster," by Joseph Flatley (Verge). In the age of internet marketing, “get rich quick” scams have evolved way beyond the point of fruitless envelope-stuffing and fake work-at-home jobs. Now national syndicates trick their victims out of tens of thousands of dollars before disappearing into the digital ether.

And in other news: Loews CEO James Tisch sings The Supremes,’s style editor analyzes the hidden meanings of Mark Zuckerberg’s Wall Street wardrobe, and an Ohio man accidentally buys a Picasso print at a thrift shop — then resells it for $7,000.

Happy reading, Tumblers!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

What We’re Reading, 4/4/12

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: Romney, income inequality and the so-called “war against youth.”

"Romney, Obama Get Ready to Rumble," by Jonathan Martin (Politico). Martin’s lede says it all: “It’s really, truly over,” he writes of the Republican primary battle that seems to have stretched on forever. Romney’s wins in Wisconsin, Maryland and D.C. last night effectively made him the nominee. 

"The Reckoning: Romney After Wisconsin," by John Cassidy (The New Yorker). The primary may effectively be over, but what happens next? “This is an interesting analysis of what the morning after is really looking like for the Romney campaign,” says Letter reporter Neema Roshania. Interesting and, dare we say, pretty down on Mitt.

"Income Inequality is Killing the Economy, Obama Says — Is He Wrong?" By Derek Thompson (The Atlantic). In a speech yesterday, Obama blamed income inequality for “drag[ging] down our entire economy.” Thompson handily rounds up the arguments on both sides.

"Paul Ryan Betrays His Own Views on Income Inequality," by Ezra Klein (The Washington Post). Speaking of income inequality, Rep. Paul Ryan’s recently passed budget plan proposes $5.3 trillion in budget cuts. But where are those cuts coming from — and what does that say about Ryan’s values? “Paul Ryan has been a champion of social mobility, but his budget plan encourages just the opposite,” says Kip’s social media maven Amanda Lilly. To quote Klein: “No millionaire’s child will find that Ryan’s budget ends her hopes of a college education. But plenty of lower-income children will.”

"We Need ‘Imported from Detroit 2.0,’" by David Kiley (The Huffington Post). We’ve all seen those gritty new Chrysler ads: the city scenes, the snowy sidewalks, the gleaming Chrysler cruising under a pro-Detroit voiceover. The ad campaign’s catchphrase — “imported from Detroit” — might say more than we think. “This is a nice exploration of Detroit’s complicated relationship with the car industry, written from a advertising perspective,” says digital director Doug Harbrecht. “Dave Kiley has covered both autos and advertising for decades.”

"Women Funding Women Opens the Door to Responsible Investing," by Alex Goldmark (Good). Here’s a novel take on socially responsible investing: Through the WIN-WIN initiative, women investors can fund women-owned businesses for as little as $20.

"The War Against Youth," by Stephen Marche (Esquire). Marche’s provocative essay breaks down the widening economic gap between the young and the old — and doesn’t shy away from assigning blame. Look no further than the sub-headline: “The recession didn’t gut the prospects of American young people. The Baby Boomers took care of that.”

"The Secret to Germany’s Low Youth Unemployment," by Eric Westervelt (NPR). Speaking of young people and prospects, maybe Marche would appreciate this approach: Germany’s medieval-style apprenticeship system has earned it the highest youth employment rate in Europe.

What are you reading today?