Hank Blaustein/Grant’s Interest Rate Observer

Financial Follies: Cartoons in Grant's Interest Rate Observer

  1. Grant’s Interest Rate Observer
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    Grant’s Interest Rate Observer

    “Sometimes people will start asking me questions about the financial world,” says Hank Blaustein. “I say, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa. I just draw the pictures.’ ” For 30 years, Blaustein’s cartoons have run on the front page of Grant’s Interest Rate Observer—bits of whimsy in a publication that costs $1,025 a year and is known for the bearish insights of its founder, James Grant. That gives Blaustein, 76, a cult following among the small and ardent Grant’s readership; fans include hedge fund titan Paul Tudor Jones and former Bank of England Governor Mervyn King. Since 1983 the biweekly cartoons have evolved from uncaptioned sketches to financial satire. “Any publication called Interest Rate Observer needs a little leavening,” Grant says.

    Hank Blaustein/Grant’s Interest Rate Observer
  2. Dec. 29, 1986
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    Dec. 29, 1986

    “The ideas are Jim’s, by and large,” Blaustein says. Grant calls the morning before he goes to press; Blaustein submits by the afternoon.

    Hank Blaustein/Grant’s Interest Rate Observer
  3. Feb. 25, 1994
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    Feb. 25, 1994

    Blaustein avoids asking Grant for investment advice. “It wouldn’t feel right, somehow. We have this particular bond. I guess there’s a pun in there.”

    Hank Blaustein/Grant’s Interest Rate Observer
  4. Dec. 7, 2001
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    Dec. 7, 2001

    Each panel pays $200. “It’s a handshake. There are paranoid friends of mine who say, ‘You don’t have a contract?!’ Sometimes you have to trust.”

    Hank Blaustein/Grant’s Interest Rate Observer
  5. Sept. 5, 2008
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    Sept. 5, 2008

    “Certain people have said to me that everything else [in Grant’s] stinks, except for the cartoons,” Grant says. “I can’t say where we’d be without them.”

    Hank Blaustein/Grant’s Interest Rate Observer
  6. Nov. 4, 2011
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    Nov. 4, 2011

    Political panels, such as this one on Occupy Wall Street, don’t necessarily reflect Blaustein’s views. “My personal ethos says there should be a little more equality in the world.”

    Hank Blaustein/Grant’s Interest Rate Observer
  7. March 7, 2014
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    March 7, 2014

    Blaustein is upfront about not grasping financial esoterica. “I don’t know what a Bitcoin is! Could you tell me, in language I could understand?”

    Hank Blaustein/Grant’s Interest Rate Observer