Monthly Archives: May 2007

Top 25 Censored Stories

To clarify: this list of “censored,” meaning seriously underreported, articles is for 2007 and covers stories from roughly July 2005 through June 2006. I call you attention to it primarily because it’s important, but secondarily, because we actually discussed a few on this blog (they appear to continue to be underreported), despite the fact that […]

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It No Longer Pays to Be a Good Borrower

CFO.com, in “S&P Junks Investment-grade Ratings,” tells us that that ratings agency is of the view that investment grade borrowers aren’t getting enough of a cost advantage for it to be worth it to them to keep a good bond rating: “Borrowers have taken advantage of the cheap money by increasing leverage to finance dividend […]

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The Breakdown of the Post War Social Contract

An article in the New York Review of Books, “The Specter Haunting Your Office,” discusses three books, one by Louis Uchitelle, The Disposable American, meaning the disposable employee; one by Greg LeRoy, on the way corporations play states and muncipalities to extract economic concessions; and one by John Bogle, on “managers’ capitalism” and how it […]

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Even the National Journal Can’t Abide the Wall Street Journal’s Editorial Page

When a stalwart member of the right disassociates itself from the Wall Street Journal’s editorial policies, you know things are bad. Thanks to Brad DeLong for this item. From the National Review’s blog, The Corner: ….the Wall Street Journal editorial conference…. I was… well, no, not foaming at the mouth, but gaping in wonder at […]

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Half the Corporate Bonds Now Junk-Rated

Thanks to Felix Salmon for pointing this tidbit out to us. Due to leveraged buyouts (notice how the press has started to use that 1980s term once again?), there has been a surge in junk issuance. But since below-investment-grade issuers pay only about 180 basis points more than investment grade issuers, there is virtually no […]

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Real Wages Falling Despite Productivity Gains

One of the elements of the American Dream is that each generation will enjoy a better standard of living than its predecessors. As this article, “Not Your Father’s Pay: Why Wages Today Are Weaker” in the Wall Street Journal makes clear, that is no longer true: American men in their 30s today are worse off […]

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A Rare Moment of Candor from the National Association of Mortgage Brokers

From “Mortgage Brokers: Friends or Foes?” in the Wall Street Journal: The National Association of Mortgage Brokers, the main nationwide trade group for brokers, argues that brokers work neither for consumers nor for lenders. Aha. If the mortgage broker worked for the borrower, they’d have to make sure he got the best deal. If they […]

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Professor Who Warned of Residential Securities Risk Sounds Alarm About Commerical Real Estate Bonds

We have Mark Thoma to thank for pointing out this story on research by Nancy Wallace at the Haas School (UC Berkeley). She found serious deficiencies in the risk models used by banks to evaluate residential mortgages and predicted widespread problems a year before the subprime meltdown. She and her colleagues have just completed a […]

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"Snapping Point?"

As I have mentioned before, this blog relies a bit more than I’d like on the Financial Times because its writers have a greater understanding of the inner workings of the financial markets and take a jaundiced view of recent developments. One has to wonder if the two traits are linked: if you have a […]

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Roubini (via Martin Wolf) on Global Imbalances

I’m a bit late to get to this item, a predictably good article by the Financial Times’ Martin Wolf on Nouriel Roubini’s observations about why Asian countries became so willing to finance our deficits (short answer: they decided to keep their currencies cheap after the 1997 emerging markets crisis) and whether this situation is sustainable […]

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