Daily Digest 5/29 - Ritholtz On The Crisis, The Syria Dilemma, U.S. Winds Down Unemployment Benefits
- Barry Ritholtz on the Crisis: Causes, Cures, Corptocracy, and Suggested Reading
- The Syria Dilemma
- Public Pensions Faulted for Bets on Rosy Returns
- New York Has Some Prisons To Sell You
- U.S. Winds Down Longer Benefits for the Unemployed
- The War on Coal: A Lie Invented by the Coal Industry
- A Tiny Florida Outpost Divides Over Getting on the Power Grid
- Making a Big Stink: Is That a Landfill or a Gold Mine?
The world isn’t black and white. We can’t just say, “The butler did it.” There were many causes, lots of poor judgements. If you look in the centrefold of my book, , we try to depict everything in a visual form. It’s a great infographic by Jess Bachman that shows all the different factors that came together to cause a big collapse. The Federal Reserve was a significant element. But if you want to do it chronologically, you may want to go back further into the history. The bailout of Chrysler in 1980 set the stage. The rescue of Long Term Capital Management (LTCM) in 1998 encouraged a lot of moral hazard.
The Syria Dilemma (jdargis)
The horrors in Syria are symptoms of a tangle of political crises that present no clear course of action for the United States, or its allies, or any other constellation of the international community. The Arab League and the U.N. jointly appointed former Secretary-General Kofi Annan to negotiate with Assad. The Syrian President, playing for time, agreed to a plan to establish a ceasefire; demilitarize the cities and towns; oversee the release of arbitrarily detained people; insure freedom of movement for aid groups and the press, and freedom of assembly and association for peaceful demonstrators; and foster conditions for political dialogue.
In addition to lowering the projected rate of return, Mr. North has also recommended that the New York City trustees acknowledge that city workers are living longer and reporting more disabilities — changes that would cost the city an additional $2.8 billion in pension contributions this year. Mr. North has called for the city to soften the blow to the budget by pushing much of the increased pension cost into the future, by spreading the increased liability out over 22 years.
New York Has Some Prisons To Sell You (jdargis)
The state has a glut of vacant correctional facilities because of lower crime rates, new programs that allow early release for nonviolent offenders and the dismantling of its strict drug laws. The situation in New York reflects changing national attitudes toward criminal justice policy: the number of state prisoners nationwide declined in 2009 and 2010 for the first times in at least three decades, according to the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics.
The federal extension of jobless benefits has been a contentious issue in Washington. Republicans worry that it prolongs joblessness and say it has not kept the unemployment rate down, while Democrats argue that those out of work have few alternatives and that the checks are one of the most effective forms of stimulus, since most of it is spent immediately.
The Economic Policy Institute projects that the mercury standard will actually have a “positive net impact on overall employment – likely leading to the net creation of 84,500 jobs between now and 2015.” The jobs created by the standard, however, would not just be limited to certain industrial sectors. EPI’s study projects that “8,000 Jobs would be gained in the utility industry itself,” along with the over 80,500 jobs that would be created to build pollution control equipment. While dirty coal companies claim that the mercury standard will cause massive unemployment, EPI notes that “only 10,600 jobs would be displaced due to higher energy costs.” Richard Morgenstern, a former Reagan and Clinton EPA official, predicts that the new standard will have “no net impact” on employment.
“It’s the Hatfields and the McCoys here,” Dave Eaken, 41, a longtime resident who wants commercial power, said about the split on the island. His father, Bob, has waited decades for public electricity, which he said he was promised when he first bought land on No Name Key in the 1960s. “I don’t look at those people. I don’t talk to them, and I don’t want to talk to them.”
The United States isn't doing so well on the energy front. High oil prices raise costs on virtually every industry, while stymied efforts to access resources in North America offer little relief. Hydraulic fracking has come under considerable scrutiny due to issues with groundwater contamination, non-disclosure of the used chemicals, and even increased geological activity. With American solar companies increasingly losing ground to low-cost alternatives from China, even alternative power is feeling a pinch. But there's a great resource out there... Garbage. Mountains and mountains of garbage.
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