Thursday, September 30, 2010

Where Are They Now?

Remember Lehman Brothers? Well, we're almost at the two year anniversary of their unfortunate demise, and though the company no longer exists, the pieces do. The Wall Street Journal ran an interesting article on what has become of Lehman's "assets," human or otherwise. How's this for irony? "The [Lehman Brothers] sign sold for $66,355 at Christie's on Wednesday."

As much time as the WSJ devotes to the futures of Lehman's employees, there may be more to this than just rearranging of jobs. The WSJ makes references to Drexel Burnham Lambert throughout, which I think is quite apt. The mistakes of Lehman Brothers did not generate out of thin air. It was the people in the firm who caused their crisis. Sure, it may not be everybody's fault, but certainly some of the top level people are responsible for some of the madness that ensued. The question is, is this the best way to cleanse Wall Street of the immoralists? Moving people around doesn't, obviously, bring in new ideas. Goldman may get some of the thoughts of Lehman, but clearly those weren't exactly great ideas. My point being, there needs to be a new generation. I realize that there are tons of budding investment bankers in every school around the country, but they're getting corn fed the same old bullshit (pardon my French). This is not the place to go into my moral views (maybe later), but if you think the companies going bankrupt, and their employees moving around, is the sign of change, think again.

Mazi's Link O' the Day

Nifty little summaries, with some good links to boot:

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Mazi's Link O' the Day

Very funny, and well played:

It's Been a While.

It's been a while since I posted here, new school year, excuses excuses. Mazi has been staying with it well. I don't have time for another diatribe on clean energy, but I can post this must-read link.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Friday, September 17, 2010

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Mazi's Link O' the Day

An attack on all the "experts" hired by Washington to diagnose and fix the economy:

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Blight of the Economy

This is courtesy of economicsroundtable. Need I say more than what the graph already shows? Pay close attention to the dotted line that represents the ACTUAL employment figures (i.e.- without temporary census employees). This may something of a normative statement, but I claim that unemployment is the greatest blight that can befall an economy. Some would argue inflation and perhaps other factors. However, the effects of unemployment are felt most acutely (obviously). First, we have people who have no jobs, and thus no incomes. I don't need to explain why having that group of people gain members is a bad thing. However, fewer jobs also means less production generally. Here's a graph from calculatedrisk that shows the correlation between real GDP and percentage change in payrolls:

Add on to all of this the societal effects of unemployment, and you've got yourself a nasty little stew. Even the employed see the effects of joblessness, and pessimism spreads.

Anyway, I think that's enough good news for now...

Mazi's Link O' the Day

Excellent article on the crisis. A fantastic summary of what transpired. I can't wait for the follow-up:

Friday, September 10, 2010

Mazi's Link O' the Day

A friend just showed me this site yesterday. Very entertaining, including lots of econ related stuff:

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Mazi's Link O' the Day

A study that shows the relationship between wage disparities and exports:

Monday, September 6, 2010

So Bloated

What is the first institutionalized "financial aid" program that comes to mind when you think of the word "disaster?" Social security? Try pensions. According to The Hill, "Randy Johnson, the Chamber’s senior vice president for Labor, Immigration and Employee Benefits, told The Hill the total shortfall for state pension funds could run as high as $3 trillion." So, how is that shortfall going to be made up? Many experts believe the next government stimulus is going to be directed at these pension funds. Of course, stimuli and bailouts don't emerge from thin air. In essence, taxpayers are going to need to prop up these funds.

How did this happen? Bad luck or bad planning? Some of the numbers behind these funds are beyond shocking. As New Geography reported, "In Orange County CA, lifeguards, deemed safety workers, retired with $147,000 annual pensions. The Orange County sheriff, recently convicted of witness tampering, will receive $215,000 annually while in jail. Bob Citron, the Treasurer of Orange County who pushed the county into bankruptcy in the 1990s, receives a pension of $150,000 per year." Not only are public employees being compensated too well, there's also just way too many of them. Many states have so many government agencies (California has over 200) that many of these agencies, inevitably, end up costing the state money without contributing a great deal. The first place, obviously, to start with this pension crisis is with the bloated public sector. Cut back.

Mazi's Link O' the Day

Despite phrases like this: "The US economy has slowed to stall speed: successive quarters of 5pc growth, 2.7pc, and 1.6pc (to be revised down), the worst recovery of the post-war era. Such is the crush of debt," the main message of this article is, "Don't give up, yet."

Friday, September 3, 2010

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Mazi's Link O' the Day

Remember the suicides in China at the beginning of the summer? Here's what'd starting to happen to the price of labor in the country.