Links 8/5/09

Driver’s escape from horse BBC

Chinese survey finds prostitutes more trusted than officials Raw Story (hat tip reader John D) I don’t see why this is surprising. With ladies of the night, you at least get what you pay for.

The Wrong Direction Michael Panzner

Goldman CEO Tells Employees to Tone Down Spending CBS (hat tip reader John D)

US prime borrowers fall behind on payments Financial Times.

Buffett’s Betrayal Rolfe Winkler, Reuters. Good analysis of how much money Buffett has garnered from various rescue programs.

American Incomes Head Down, Threatening Recovery in Spending Bloomberg and Gallup Daily: Consumer Spending (hat tip DoctoRx)

For Health Insurers’ Lobbyist, Good Will Is Tested New York Times, Bears the hallmarks of a planted story, and agnotology to boot, but I lack the energy to shred it.

Ben Bernanke’s failure at the Fed Dean Baker, Guardian

Fed to Strengthen Bank Examinations With Expert Teams Bloomberg

Who’s Modifying Mortgages? Dealbook, New York Times

China’s growth figures fail to add up Financial Times

Markets can be wrong and the price is not always right Richard Thaler, Financial Times

The debt-inflation myth, debunked by UBS FT Alphaville (hat tip DoctorRx) Today’s must read. Refutes the idea that governments can inflate their way out of debt deflation. Key sentence:

The idea that governments can readily inflate their way out of their debt problems is a misnomer — arising, perhaps, from confusion between the fate of the individual bondholder and the response of the collective market.

Antidote du jour (hat tip reader Gregory W):

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7 comments

  1. Kevin Smith

    Agnotology "the deliberate production of ignorance" …. a concept which contributed to the trying times were are going through now.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agnotology

    Yves has an amazing vocabulary!

  2. Anonymous

    i actually thought the buffett article should be today's must read. i posted on here months ago about how i thought it was strange the way buffett was promoting bailouts and the stimulus when he had personal interests in many of the companies involved.

  3. DownSouth

    @Rolfe Winkler "Buffett's Betrayal"

    So Buffett is a Welfare Queen dressed up in John Wayne drag?

    Maybe he's not all that much different from the rest of the pack after all.

  4. Dikaios Logos

    Another odd Chinese survey: http://www.sinofile.net/clients/amcweb.nsf/amcA/84234B1F3C3BFD4348257608000F1897?opendocument

    Turns out, most people there worry about being involved in a building collapse.

  5. attempter

    Here's my shredding of the NYT piece, which I posted on another forum:

    For Health Insurers’ Lobbyist, Good Will Is Tested

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/05/health/policy/05insure.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1&ref=business

    Yes, we nasty public interest advocates are testing this good woman's good will. How dare we peasants test our betters, when out of the goodness of noblesse oblige they have deigned to pretend to support the cosmetic simulation of "reform", and all just to put on a show for us.

    How dare we be such ungrateful louts!

    Since all lobbyists are parasites, and since the private health insurance pseudo-industry creates nothing, adds no social value, and should not exist at all, and is therefore itself nothing but an anti-social feudal parasite, it follows that a private insurance lobbyist is a parasite twice over. (A "synthetic parasite"? A "derivative parasite"?)

    Anybody familiar with the old "single light on late at night" from totalitarian hagiography?


    Unfailingly polite and painstakingly prepared by staying up late to read every page of the proposed legislation she will testify about the next day, she has worked hard to present the industry as supportive of change — as long as it doesn’t go too far.

    Hmm, I could be polite too if I were being paid $1.6 mil a year for my treason.

    Only late in the screed does the author get around to admitting that these parasites support only pseudo-reform, not real reform. But that's only a trivial detail as far as he's concerned.

  6. James

    Warren "Teflon" Buffett is never identified as the beneficial owner of Kirby Vacuums which sells its over-priced machines door-to-door.

    This ABC Prime Time expose managed not to mention his connection:

    http://abcnews.go.com/Primetime/story?id=132129&page=1

    Because of his principal ownership of Berkshire Hathaway Buffett personally benefits every time one of these sleazy salesmen manages to talk a poor person into a sale.

  7. Anonymous

    In the "deft-inflation myth" article from FT Alphaville, I think you have missed the true key sentence. It is the second sentence below:

    The problem with the idea of governments inflating their way out of a debt burden is that it does not work. Absent episodes of hyper-inflation, it is a strategy that has never worked.

    Although it is surely not the author's intent, I read this as practically a prediction that the coming inflation will inevitably metastasize into hyper-inflation.

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