What to make of the discussions within Goldman Sachs about splitting the jobs of chairman and CEO? Lauren LaCapra has the story:
It should come as no surprise that the Damien Hirst retrospective at Tate Modern has caused editors across the UK to run articles about what it might mean for the Hirst market. After all, Hirst, more than any other artist, is famous in large part just because he’s expensive.
Andrew Ross Sorkin has a mildly corrosive column on NetJets’ tax issues today:
At a time when the government is desperately looking to raise revenue, it is understandable that the I.R.S. would seek to wring additional dollars out of the private jet industry, but there has to be a better way than to do it through reinterpreting arcane rules in court. If Congress wants to apply the transportation tax to private jet owners — which would probably be applauded by many people — it should pass a clear law that says so.
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Today’s story from Gretchen Morgenson, about Goldman Sachs and short selling, is notable for two things. One one front, it fails to deliver: Morgenson seems to be trying to make a case that Goldman might be guilty of naked shorting, but she doesn’t really come close. On a second front, however, it’s a great leap forwards for Morgenson.
Everybody’s favorite transportation geek, Charles Komanoff, has a fascinating new paper out on the economics of New York’s new Tappan Zee Bridge. The old bridge is decrepit, and needs to be replaced — everybody agrees on that. And the replacement is now in the works, at a cost of $5.2 billion. But does it need to cost that much? Komanoff makes a strong case that it doesn’t.
The best bit about wine is drinking it; the worst bit about wine is buying it. You walk into a wine store, or a supermarket, and you see hundreds of different bottles, most of which you’ve never heard of. And you’re then expected to somehow pick exactly the right one, in the knowledge that if you get it wrong, both your meal and your wallet are likely to suffer the consequences. So it’s hardly surprising that most people go with what they know, and end up buying something adorned with a well-known brand.
You don’t need to be a conspiracy theorist to find this worrying: a 1kg gold bar, certified as 99.98% pure by XRF (X-ray fluorescence) tests, turns out to have been drilled out and largely replaced with tungsten. This bar was discovered only because it was 2 grams lighter than it ought to have been: the forgers failed to add quite enough gold to the outside of the bar to make up for the weight lost when they replaced gold with tungsten. But if they’d gotten the weight right, it would probably still be circulating today.