Prieur’s readings (November 3, 2009)

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This post provides links to a number of interesting articles I have read over the past few days that you may also enjoy.

• Vito Racanelli (Barron’s): The easy money has been made, November 2, 2009.
The choppy action last week suggests the going gets much tougher from here. In a year in which the market has jumped far off its lows, the bull has so far talked the talk of earnings growth. It’s time to walk the walk.

• Edward Harrison (Credit Writedowns): Bullish data, recoveries, crashes and the psychology of forecasting redux, November 2, 2009.
Is a double dip or crash a baseline scenario? No, not necessarily – but it is increasingly likely. So, as bullish as I believe the data are, I am more worried about a bad outcome, not less.

• Andy Kessler (The Wall Street Journal): Galleon and the trouble with insider trading, November 1, 2009.
On any given day, someone will have an edge, but all investors can do well thinking long term.

• Paul Krugman (The New York Times): Too little of a good thing, November 1, 2009.
The good news is that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, aka the Obama stimulus plan, is working just about the way textbook macroeconomics said it would. But that’s also the bad news – because the same textbook analysis says that the stimulus was far too small given the scale of our economic problems. Unless something changes drastically, we’re looking at many years of high unemployment.

• Fabius Maximus: Another crack in Republic’s foundations: not the size of the debt, but when it’s due, October 30, 2009.
There are so many fractures in America’s foundations it’s easy to lose track.  One is subtle, not likely to cause problems – but in a crisis it could became a major or even terminal factor:  the maturity structure of the Treasury’s debt.

• Dylan Ratigan (The Huffington Post): Why keep Geithner, November 2, 2009.
I think we must ask if U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is still the right person for the job. It has become clear recently that, back in his previous role as New York Federal Reserve Governor, he unnecessarily gave billions of dollars of US tax money to banks and insurance companies with few strings attached. And it is now becoming clear that his lack of meaningful action is helping many of these same banks steal more by legalizing their most economically dangerous, socially destructive and self-enriching practices.

• Edmund Phelps (Financial Times): A fruitless clash of economic opposites, November 2, 2009.
Flawed readings of Keynes and Hayek have lulled analysts into the false sense that, one way or another, a full recovery lies ahead.

• Mark Whitehouse (The Wall Street Journal): Crisis compels economists to reach for new paradigm, November 3, 2009.
The pain of the financial crisis has economists striving to understand precisely why it happened and how to prevent a repeat.

• Irwin Stelzer (Times Online): Why is America gloomy when the news is good? November 1, 2009.
It has been a long time since the economic data have been flashing positive signals, and an equally long time since consumers, businessmen and occupants of the White House have been so gloomy. It’s worth considering why this disjunction of fact and perception is dominating the economic news.

• James Lieber (Dallas Observer): No justice: We’ve bailed out the banks. When do we go after the crooks behind our financial collapse? October 29, 2009.
Where did our wealth go? How do we claw it back? And when are we going to punish the culprits?

• James Kwak (Baseline Scenario): Do smart, hard-working people deserve to make more money?
There is the obvious fact that a person’s income as an adult is highly correlated with his or her parents’ income. But beyond that, we all owe a tremendous amount of whatever fortune we have to luck, pure and simple.

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