Baum's View on Money
Happy Friday. Before those of you in the U.S. head out for a three-day weekend, please take a glance at some of the articles I've selected for you today. I'll be back Tuesday with more.
The " Swedish model " used to be shorthand for the ultimate welfare state.
No more. Now Sweden combines "a social welfare society with a free-market economy and a high degree of government efficiency," writes C. Fred Bergsten in today's Washington Post. After a real estate and financial crisis in 1991, Sweden reduced public expenditures and social welfare spending, cut marginal tax rates, reformed its banking system and deregulated markets. Here's the best part: Nearly two-thirds of Swedes confirm by phone that the tax form prepared for them by authorities is correct. Imagine the boost to U.S. productivity if April 15 were just another day.
Did you know Larry Summers is brilliant ?
No profile of the economist seemingly destined to be nominated as the next Federal Reserve chairman excludes that adjective. The twist in this profile by Bloomberg News' Michael McDonald is that Summers, as president of Harvard, used interest-rate swaps to lock in a low rate for financing a science complex. Now Summers may be the one setting interest rates! Janet Yellen's stamp collection doesn't offer the same opportunity for artistic license.
An insider at the Fed sets a horrible precedent.
Reuters' Felix Salmon says Summers would be the most political Fed chair in living memory. "Greenspan was bad," Salmon writes, referring to the former Fed chief's political nature. But Summers "has been one of Obama's closest economic advisers" and has spent most of the past five years "doing everything in his power to shape and advance Obama's agenda." If this really is about installing his own man at the Fed, I hope Obama realizes that what Summers does next year will bear fruit when the current President is writing his memoirs.
If you're going to invest in a hedge fund , make sure it exists.
The 2012 JOBS act (Jumpstart Our Business Startups) eased various securities regulations to make it easier for small businesses to fund themselves. It also allowed hedge funds to advertise, opening the door to fraudsters courting individual investors with get-rich-quick scams, according to Institutional Investor. What's the solution? There's no substitute for due diligence, which is something mortgage lenders forgot in their haste to make, and sell, subprime loans.
The New York Times tops blog rankings .
Onalytica lists the "Top 200 Influential Economic Blogs" for August. How does it define influential? "Influence is the capacity of a publication, an organization or an individual to impact the viewpoints, actions or opinions of others over whom they do not hold power." (You can read the technical definition here.) OK, I'm getting to the good part. The five top-ranked blogs are: Conscience of a Liberal (Paul Krugman's New York Times blog), Economix (also the New York Times), FT Alphaville, Vox and Marginal Revolution.
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