Links, 1/22/10

  • Megan McArdle, “The End of Moral Hazard?” – on the administration’s banking proposal. From the article: If we do choose this “something”, Americans should probably be clear that this is going to deal a major setback to New York as a world financial capital.  Many of the rules that were undone in the last two decades were got rid of because they were making it too hard for American banks to cope with foreign competition.  If we do this, America’s financial sector will shrink, and our banks will lose a lot of business to foreign firms.  That means, among other things, that we are going to lose big chunks of tax revenue, because bankers are very disproportionate contributors to federal coffers.  It also means that New York’s renaissance will probably slack off–and the people who complain about the bankers will discover how many city services those banker salaries paid for. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it.  I think finance has taken on an outsized role in our country, and as we’ve seen over the past year and a half, that hasn’t been a healthy state of affairs.  But this means a substantial change to the American financial system, and as with all change, we won’t like every single thing that follows.
  • Joan Houlihan, “The Tell-Tale Line” (h/t aldaily.com) – some excellent and withering reviews of poetry here.
  • Also, via aldaily: Rebecca Solnit, “Covering Haiti: Where the Media is the Diasaster” – from the article: Media outlets often call everything looting and thereby incite hostility toward the sufferers as well as a hysterical overreaction on the part of the armed authorities.
  • Mary Katherine Ham, SCOTUS Rolls Back Corporate Campaign Spending Limits: from The Weekly Standard, so there’s a definite viewpoint, but also lots of excerpts from the ruling.
  • Jessa Crispin, “The Foreign Service” – from the article: It is impossible to write about such a book as Best European Fiction 2010 without also writing about America’s disinterest in such a book. Neither Zadie Smith nor Aleksandar Hemon could do it — and they’re the author of the introduction and the editor of the anthology. It’s a well worn angle by now: the fact that only three percent of literature published in the U.S. is work of translation, the fact that most of that work is being published by small independent presses and university presses.

2 Comments

  1. I agree with you.

    However, you know, the banks aren’t helping their image with the people for at least the following reasons:

    1) They continue to use the Fed to borrow funds at .25% and purchase Treasuries at 2.75 percent, thus making a profit on the spread, INSTEAD of lending to small and medium sized businesses.

    2) The banks are now paying back TARP money with other funds made available through the Fed, thereby freeing themselves from the conditions of TARP, and declaring profits that only happened because the American tax payer bailed them out. It’s all perfectly legal but absolutely obnoxious.

    3) The bonuses, oh the bonuses. They are using tax money to pay back TARP, and then declaring victory, awarding themselves huge bonuses that they have never earned.

    What Obama is saying is that most of the people who work in New York are there because of nespotic kinds of relationships.
    They are the children of other bankers and dealers with a network of friends on the Street. They make their money by betting with other people’s money. As Warren Buffet said, “If they were betting their own money, then, yes, pay them bonuses. But, for them to take huge risks with other people’s money and have only the loss of a job be the down side to making millions for themselves is insane.”

    That is what Obama is reacting to, and that is what the public is reacting to.

    The child of a bus driver from Cleveland isn’t going to be given an opportunity to make an average $379,000 this year as a salesman for a bank on the Street. It’s always the same faces with the same backgrounds.
    .-= beth charette´s last blog ..New Product: BRIO 33478 Transportation Station Two Track Train Depot 1996 =-.

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