Evening Links 5-13

May 13, 2010

Snippets from Goldman Sachs the Musical (New Yorker) Very clever. The lyricist has a strong grasp of what happened.

Paul Volcker just saved the bankers…and now he owns them (Scheiber, New Republic) Interesting thought. Volcker killed Blanche Lincoln’s bill to get commercial banks out of the derivatives business entirely. Bankers are happy for that, but not to see the “Volcker rule” itself go into effect.

Abu Dhabi hotel installs gold vending machine (AFP) This blog remains a bull on gold over the long-run. At the very least, it makes sense to hold a bit of it to hedge the risk that central banks overstimulate to the point of destroying fiat currencies. That said, this sure looks like the sign of a bubble!

Companies using transfer pricing to avoid billions in taxes (Drucker, Bloomberg)

Wall Street probe widens (WSJ) Everyone was manufacturing CDOs. Here misery loves company. If everyone’s under investigation, there will probably be an omnibus resolution not unlike the settlement reached after the .com bubble exposed Wall Street analysts as shills for their investment banker colleagues…

Senate acts on credit rating agencies (Herszenhorn, NYT) Credit rating agencies deserve all the bad press they get for the role they played during the credit bubble. That said, I don’t think moves like this will really change anything. So long as the Fed is holding rates at 0%, investors will chase yield…

Ten easy lessons for cooking the books (Alphaville) One of my favorite financial writers, Howard Schillit, was spotted at CFA Institute’s annual conference in Boston.

A call to ban the burqa in Australia has been countered with a call to ban speedos (Australian Times)

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Gold….I just don’t see it. If things get so bad that all currencies are worthless what the hell good will gold be? Gold would have no value in a world where there was no money. If we actually ever found ourselves in a Mad Max type world barter would be far more important than gold. You can’t eat gold and I doubt any farmer in apocolyptic times would have any desire for it either.

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