Weil on Finance: Easy Money, Death and BlackBerries

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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Greetings, View fans. It's time for your annotated morning links. Have a great day.

The excitement never ends at JPMorgan Chase

Ben Protess and Jessica Silver-Greenberg have a good roundup of the various government lawsuits and investigations JPMorgan Chase faces, including a new suit by federal prosecutors in California that may be filed as soon as today. "The onslaught of investigations has fueled some resentment within JPMorgan, where executives and board members are questioning whether the bank has become something of a punching bag for the government," they write. I would put it differently: It's more like the company taped a big sign to its back that says "kick me."

Too much easy money chasing too much garbage

Felix Salmon of Reuters is on fire with this post about nonsense crowdfunding schemes and the effects of the Fed's zero interest-rate policy. "Today's a big, exciting day for anybody who has found it simply too difficult, to date, to throw their money away on idiotic gambles," he says. "There's something of an alternative-investment bubble right now: just look, for instance, at Saatchi Online's truly insane `invest in art' project, which takes unknown artists and tries to sell their work as something which could be worth millions in a few years' time. Five years of ZIRP will do that: first the bond markets get inflated, then the stock markets, and then, eventually, the really crazy stuff." Speaking of which, I would be extremely interested in selling my art collection -- you know, the stuff I drew myself. A great investment for you. Paypal only, please.

Sel l your BlackBerry shares while you can

So says Rolfe Winkler, one of the Wall Street Journal's Heard on the Street writers. It's far from certain that Fairfax Financial's proposal to buy BlackBerry will be completed. Fairfax needs financing. And it's unlikely any rival bidders will emerge: "What is easy to see is that with its latest generation of devices failing to excite consumers, the BlackBerry is fast becoming the next PalmPilot."

The view from Australia on the Fed's taper plans

David Llewellyn-Smith, editor of the Australian economics website MacroBusiness, asks if the Fed will ever taper. He concludes that "nobody really has a clue" any longer and that "the confusion is systemic and is the new normal." He gets it.

The salmon was delicious, and the conversation was to die for

From Shannon Pettypiece of Bloomberg News: "Over the past month, hundreds of Americans across the country have organized so-called death dinners, designed to lift the taboo around talking about death in hopes of heading off conflicts over finances and medical care -- and avoiding unnecessary suffering at the end of life. It's a topic that is resonating as baby boomers, born from 1946 to 1964, deal with the passing of their parents, even as they come face-to-face with their own mortality." Worth a read.

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