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from Rolfe Winkler:

Lunchtime Links 12-31

Bankers get $4 trillion gift from Barney Frank (Reilly, Bloomberg) David pours over HR 4173, all 1,279 pages of it. He finds some interesting nuggets. One of the bigger problems I see is the proposed insurance fund that would pay for resolving systemically dangerous banks. Talk about moral hazard!

Show some balls (Saletan, Slate) A colorful take on new TSA security procedures.

New jobless claims hit 17-month low (Kaiser, Reuters) Good news for the economy but, paradoxically, bad news for stocks (and gold). If the economy improves, the Fed will have to raise rates. That will hit equity values and strengthen the dollar. But don't count on strength lasting very long. As soon as the Fed meaningfully tightens, we'll head right back into debt deflation.....which is why many think the Fed is trapped.

The land of the rising bearish wager (Zuckerman/Slater, WSJ) Betting on a "sudden stop" in Japan. (ht Walker Todd)

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