Weil's View on Finance, Afternoon Edition

Jonathan Weil joined Bloomberg News as a columnist in 2007, and his columns on finance and accounting won Best in the Business awards from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers in 2009 and 2010.
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Good afternoon, Viewfinders. So you want to know what I'm reading today? Here's a look-see.

Another stop on Hank Paulson's book tour

The former Treasury secretary and Goldman Sachs chief gave an interview to Fortune magazine, where the subjects included how to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. "We need to make sure there is no implied government-backed guarantee on Fannie and Freddie corporate debt," he said. Of course, Washington politicians have been saying that for decades. Wonder if they will still be in conservatorship in another five years. Toss-up.

Blackberry's slow , painful death throes

Remember when we used to call these things crackberries? From the Wall Street Journal: "When Blackberry Ltd. Chief Executive Thorsten Heins was asked why he decided to start selling the company's new keyboard-equipped smartphone months after a new touch-screen device, he said it was because BlackBerry `owned' the keyboard phone market and could afford to wait. That decision appears to have backfired." And that last sentence was definitely an understatement.

This fellow thinks the Fed has trouble spotting bubbles

John Makin, an economist at the American Enterprise Institute, has a new paper titled "The Fed Needs a Bubble Watch." He writes: "Both the US stock market bubble burst in 2000 and the housing bubble implosion of 2008 contributed to the current situation, reinforcing the need for a Federal Reserve `bubble watch' program. If we could recognize patterns that lead to these bubbles, we could see them coming and adjust policy to protect wealth accumulation and the economy as a whole." I'm not sure about the premise here. Sometimes the Fed is oblivious, no doubt. Other times it looks like it's trying to inflate new bubbles to get us out of the mess from the old ones.

The corporate-bond market is upside down

From Bloomberg News: "Securities ranked in the CCC tier or lower by Standard & Poor's have gained 7.1 percent this year, compared with a 5 percent loss for AAA rated debt, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch index data." It's a flight to dreck. Strange times.

Great headline from Huffington Post

Here it is: "Join The Booming Dollar Store Economy! Low Pay, Long Hours, May Work While Injured." A nice piece of enterprise reporting by Dave Jamieson showing what it's like to work in America's booming dollar-store industry.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg View's editorial board or Bloomberg LP, its owners and investors.

To contact the author on this story:
Jonathan Weil at jweil16@bloomberg.net