Commentaries

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Stop writing about the poor rich folk

Kudos to David Cay Johnston who does a great job in The Audit taking apart The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times for their recent sob stories about how the rich are so much poorer these days.

Johnston, a former Times business reporter, faults both newspapers for running stories that speculate how much poorer the rich have become–even though there isn’t a lot of data to support the speculation. He goes on to question the data and facts that both papers relied on as support for their stories.

But what I like best about Johnston’s media commentary is his general puzzlement at both the Times and WSJ wasting so much ink on the fortunes of the rich.

These reports display a puzzling sympathy for the best-off in America, part of a trend that I believe has helped cost newspapers readers—identifying with the concerns of the comfortable, often without context about the woes of the afflicted.

Shock! Goldman favours big clients

Susanne Craig uses 2,200 words in today’s Wall Street Journal that state the obvious: Goldman Sachs treats big clients better than small ones.

In any other industry, a company giving favourable treatment to its best customers would stand accused of nothing more than sound business practice.

Tax Goldman

Goldman Sachs is entitled to make as much money as it wants from proprietary trading–that is trading stocks, bonds, currencies and bonds for its own account. But as long as Goldman benefits from bonds it sold with a government guarantee, it should pay an extra tax on those prop trading gains.

The Wall Street Journal editorial today proposed a tax along this lines and I think it’s a good idea. It’s not often I find myself in agreement with the WSJ editorial page, but the paper’s edit writers are right in calling for an “FDIC bailout tax.”

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