Month-End Lipstick Effect

In the famous Tamil film, ‘Indian’ that was released in the 1990s, actor Kamal Hassan played the role of an aging ex-freedom fighter who kills corrupt officials and government servants.  In the movie, he chooses to kill a government doctor who refuses to treat his daughter with third-degree burns unless he is ‘taken care of’. […]

‘The First Thing We Do, Let’s Kill All the Beancounters.’

(With apologies to Shakespeare). Or, how political discourse in America is becoming more like that in Greece. I’ve been away in Europe for much of the last few weeks, and have heard plenty about the euro crisis (and US fiscal paralysis). And while I think the comparisons often made between the Greek and American fiscal […]

LPS Foreclosure Fraud Whistleblower Found Dead

Nevada notary Tracy Lawrence, who was due to be sentenced today to up to a year in jail for a single count of misdemeanor fraud, went missing from her sentencing hearing today and was found dead. Per the Associated Press (hat tip reader Scott): Las Vegas police say it could be weeks before investigators know […]

More Europessimism

I hate to beat a dead horse, but the situation in Europe is dire, and two issues crossing my desk this afternoon only add to my angst.  First, Karl Smith at Modeled Behavior sees that the ECB is losing all control of monetary policy: Based on entirely different indicators this looks to be the point […]

Managing the 99 Percent

“And that,” put in the Director sententiously, “that is the secret of happiness and virtue—liking what you’ve got to do. All conditioning aims at that: making people like their un-escapable social destiny.” – Huxley, Brave New World From: The McCourtny Consulting Group To: The Endowment for the Preservation of the One Percent Subject: Managing the […]

The Fear of the Printing Press

Good friend Ramana and batchmate from IIM-A days sent me the link to an interesting piece by Richard Evans on the historical background to the German aversion to inflation and their inflation phobia. Those who have read ‘Lords of Finance’ would be familiar with the contents of the piece by Richard Evans. Others would find […]

Will October’s Economic Momentum Last?

Consumer confidence rebounded strongly in November, the Conference Board reports. David Semmens, an economist at Standard Chartered Bank, opines that “the improvement in the labor market must be offering greater comfort to consumers.” The question, of course, is whether the labor market’s “improvement” can survive the sentiment attack blowing through the global economy via the […]

Judge Rakoff Whacks SEC Yet Again, This Time Over Citi CDO Settlement

Judge Jed Rakoff’s latest ruing, nixing a $285 million settlement between the SEC and Citigroup over a billion dollar fund that came a cropper, has broader implications than simply embarrassing the securities regulator (which given the fallen standing of the agency, and low standards in Washington generally, is harder to do than it ought to […]

Can the US Decouple from the Eurozone?

The OECD cut forecasts for 2012.  Via the Wall Street Journal: The Paris-based think tank cut its forecasts among its 34 members to 1.9% this year and 1.6% in 2012, from 2.3% and 2.8% in May. The OECD said it expects the euro zone’s economy to contract by 1% at an annualized rate in the […]

The IMF-ECB ‘Plan’ – Fig-Leaf Upon Fig-Leaf

Politics in the Eurozone has turned into a strange and tragic farce in the recent weeks and months. While the peripheral countries continue to judge successful economic policy on the amount of tax liabilities they can levy to smother their depressed economies, the big dogs play various games in which they try to hide their […]

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