Weil on Finance, P.M.: Rise of Yohovians
Good afternoon, dear readers. It’s time for more annotated links on finance. Here you go.
Ever hear of a Yohovian before?
I hadn’t until I read this post by American Enterprise Institute blogger James Pethokoukis. No, a Yohovian isn’t one of those animatronic characters from the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disney World who sings “Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me.” Named for U.S. Representative Ted Yoho of Florida, a Yohovian is a Tea Party Republican who believes that a U.S. default would bring stability to global financial markets. Seriously. Anyway, our man Pethokoukis is no fan of Yohovians, notwithstanding his headline: “Debt ceiling crisis would be a catastrophic success for GOP,” which he meant tongue-in-cheek, although you have to read deep into his post to figure that out.
If investors are worried about a U.S. default, this is a funny way of showing it
This is great. Congress remains deadlocked over raising the debt ceiling. So the prices of Treasury bonds go up, and yields go down. I know, I know, this makes all the sense in the world, because the benchmark is the 10-year Treasury (not the ones due this month), investors rush to safety in a crisis, and the markets don’t seem worried much about a U.S. default anyway. But still, you have to appreciate the irony. The 10-year Treasury yield was down 3 basis points to 2.61 percent this afternoon.
Here is what a housing bubble looks like
I missed this article when it came out Friday, and it’s a doozie. Financial Times reporter Christian Oliver returned to London after nine years as a foreign correspondent and went looking for a home. Now he dreams of moving to Sweden. Here’s how he describes an open house he attended: “It was as if bloody bucketfuls of chum had been cast into the shark tank. Couples were huddling on the stairs and in the driveway to confer about their offers. The chirpy estate agent warned me that three people had pledged to offer the asking price. Figuring that I was watching a rerun of the South Sea Bubble, I sloped back into the rain to buy a packet of consolatory crisps. I wish the prime minister had been there to witness the frenzy. David Cameron says he is trying to make life easier for first-time buyers by bringing forward the second raft of his Help to Buy policies to Monday. But my experience over the past few months is that we haggard first-timers are becoming more neurotic and competitive as steroids are being injected into the market. Essentially, you have to rush to get an offer in now before prices become even more astronomic.” Been there, done that, doing it again.
George Soros on the euro and Angela Merkel
The hedge-fund titan writes that Merkel’s re-election as chancellor was a Phyrrhic victory: “The eurozone status quo is neither tolerable nor stable. Mainstream economists would call it an inferior equilibrium; I call it a nightmare – one that is inflicting tremendous pain and suffering that could be easily avoided if the misconceptions and taboos that sustain it were dispelled. The problem is that the debtor countries feel all the pain, while the creditors impose the misconceptions and taboos.”
(Jonathan Weil is a Bloomberg View columnist. Follow him on Twitter.)