Labor Day Links

September 7, 2009

(Reader note: Just a reminder for those who wish their links to open in a new tab, you can either right click the link and select “open in new tab” or click the scrolling wheel and it will happen automatically)

Wall St. pursues profit in bundles of life insurance (NYT) Securitizing mortgages is dead, so Wall St. needs a new financial product to package and sell to investors. According to this article, they may have found the product in life settlements, though Felix notes this may be much ado about nothing.

The Global Financial Crisis, pothole or mountain? (Steve Keen) “…the confidence that the vast majority of economists have that the [Global Financial Crisis] is now behind us, and the “normal” trend rate of growth will resume, is fundamentally based on the belief that credit and debt dynamics do not matter. I beg to differ. Though the enormous government stimulus has attenuated the immediate impact of debt deleveraging, it has done nothing to reduce the outstanding level of private debt. Instead even sub-par growth has become dependent on continuing government stimuli, and whenever those stimuli are removed, the economy will falter.” That’s not an argument in favor of never-ending government stimulus, of course, which wouldn’t be possible even if we wanted it to be. Eventually the bond market will cut us off.

They left Fannie Mae, but we got the legal bills (NYT) Gretchen Morgenson notes that when taxpayers took over Fan and Fred, we also took over their legal obligations, which includes paying the substantial defense lawyer fees of former executives being prosecuted for accounting fraud…

No Exit (Doug Noland, ht PM) Scroll down to the bottom of the post. And then go back to the top if you want to know more.

The coming reset in state government (WSJ) Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels pens this op-ed: “What we are being hit by isn’t a tropical storm that will come and go, with sunshine soon to follow. It’s much more likely that we’re facing a near permanent reduction in state tax revenues that will require us to reduce the size and scope of our state governments. And the time to prepare for this new reality is already at hand.”

China pushes silver and gold investment to the masses (Mineweb) This article is thinly reported, so take it with a grain of salt. If it’s true, it has plenty of interesting implications. For instance, could the Chinese gov’t be pushing individuals to buy precious metals in order to ease its transition out of dollar-based assets? Something to ponder…

VIDEO: Giant rat found in “lost volcano” (BBC) …”But Wesley, what about the ROUSs?” “Rodents of Unusual Size? I don’t think they exist”… Coming to an NYC subway near you …

Why swimming in the Congo river is prohibited (hqvia) Speaking of giant scary animals…

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Pennsylvania man fires cannon, hits neighbor’s house (AP)

VIDEO: Best surfing move ever? (Swell, ht JL) Surfers out there will appreciate how difficult this is.

Music video featuring Christopher Walken (oldie but a goodie)

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