The year is winding down, people are getting ready for the holidays, and I am working on my last few columns of the year for Bloomberg view. Since my first column on Nov. 4, you have been very welcoming and encouraging and stimulating. I am thrilled with this platform and its readers; Teaser: I have some pretty wicked things planned for 2014.
In the meanwhile, I have a few random thoughts that I like to share every now and again. These are 10 things that have me wondering, thinking and, generally, curious about.Read more »
I am a huge sucker for a clever piece of digital design. Given yesterday’s surprise taper, I wanted to direct your attention to a very interesting look at the Fed’s balance sheet.
The accompanying chart comes from J.P. Koning, who designs financial visualizations at Financial Graph & Art and blogs at Moneyness. Click here to be taken to the interactive version, where you can highlight any program to see the Fed’s actions:Read more »
Farewell QE, you have been a magnificent success: The moral contours of QE depend on your angle of vision. But would you rather be surrounded by mass unemployment? -- Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, the Telegraph, Dec. 18.
Outgoing Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke managed to thread the needle yesterday, announcing a modest monthly taper in quantitative easing of “only” $10 billion dollars, while leaving the remaining $75 billion in monthly bond purchases untouched. He also suggested the Fed will keep rates accommodative -- read very low -- for even longer than previously promised.Read more »
10 Midweek AM Reads
Here’s what I’m reading on the way to the office:
Yesterday, we looked at the benefit to McDonald's of having its workers subsidized by state and federal aid. Today, its Wal-Mart’s turn. Recall our discussion last month on the related subject of "How McDonald's and Wal-Mart Became Welfare Queens." We learned that employees of these two companies are often the largest recipients of aid in their states.
McDonald's recently found itself in the spotlight courtesy of its “McResource” line -- the company help line that helps its poverty-level, full time employees enroll in various welfare programs. A recording of that McResource line sparked outrage, driving this issue into public view.Read more »
For years I have been a regular reader of David Rosenberg's. Back when he was Merrill Lynch’s chief economist, to more recently at Canada’s Gluskin Sheff, I have enjoyed his daily “Breakfast with Dave.”
Sometimes, it is because we disagree, and I am looking for an intelligent challenge my pre-existing notions. Other times, it is to see where Dave and I agree. And sometimes, as with his missive yesterday, it is simply to see something different and interesting.Read more »
Last month, we discussed McDonald's and Wal-Mart as America’s biggest welfare queens. As it turns out, both giants are the beneficiaries of a surprising amount of federal aid: Their employees receive an inordinate amount of Medicaid, food stamps and other public assistance. This allows them to maintain very low wages, and keep profits relatively robust.
I wondered aloud at why profitable, publicly traded private sector companies were receiving so much taxpayer largess. With these corporations having their full-time employees’ paychecks effectively subsidized by taxpayers, I decided to do a little do more digging. What I found about minimum wages in the U.S. surprised me. I suspect it will surprise you, too.Read more »