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!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

What We’re Reading, 4/24/12

Every morning, we poll the staff and round up their favorite economic, financial and political reads of the day. Making the round this morning: Social Security, youth unemployment, and health insurance “hustlin’.”

"Social Security Heading for Insolvency Even Faster," by Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar (Associated Press). We, like most of the Internet, are still reeling from the new government forecast that predicts the Social Security Trust Fund will run dry in 2033, three years earlier than previously predicted. The Medicare prediction stayed steady at 2024. (Politics editor David Morris emailed with this comforting note: “The payroll tax from employers and employees would still bring enough to pay 75 percent of the full benefit at that point, even if no changes are made between then and now. So a benefit cut, yes, but not a benefit elimination. The problem will be fixed, at some point. It always is. Too risky politically to let the reduction come about, and still plenty of time to fix it.”)

"Report Finds Wave of Mexican Immigration to U.S. Has Ended," by Paloma Esquivel and Hector Becerra (LA Times). America’s sluggish economy hasn’t just impacted its homegrown workforce. A new report from the Pew Hispanic Center finds that Mexican immigration has slowed to a “standstill,” largely because of the economic downturn.

"53% of Recent College Grads Are Jobless or Underemployed — How?" By Jordan Weissman (The Atlantic). A recent AP analysis found that one in two young college graduates are out of work or underemployed. Mitt Romney seized on the report as evidence of Obama’s failure on economic policy. But Weissman has another take: He argues that, economically speaking, college just isn’t for everyone.

"Of the 1%, By the 1%, For the 1%," by Joseph Stiglitz (Vanity Fair). An unusually lyrical look at what income inequality means now — and how it could topple the economy in the future. Regarding the Middle East protests, Stiglitz writes: “As we gaze out at the popular fervor in the streets, one question to ask ourselves is this: When will it come to America? In important ways, our own country has become like one of these distant, troubled places.”

"No Sympathy for the Creative Class," by Scott Timberg (Salon). On the economics of making it as an artist. (They’re not great.) And on that note…

"Out of Work, Out to California," by Rachael Maddux (The Billfold). A music critic reflects on the time she spent unemployed after her magazine folded.

In other news: Some state governments save money by legalizing fireworks, one Good writer goes to extraordinary lengths to make it without health insurance, and Forbes has some interesting advice for job-seeking young men. (Your friendly curator likes number two: “Don’t be a bro.”)

What are you reading?