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What We Read Today 12 February 2014

Econintersect: Every day our editors collect the most interesting things they find from around the internet and present a summary "reading list" which will include very brief summaries of why each item has gotten our attention. Suggestions from readers for "reading list" items are gratefully reviewed, although sometimes space limits the number accepted.

There are ten more articles listed, summarized and/or excerpted 'behind the wall'.


People keep asking why no senior executive has gone to jail for the misdeeds that produced the financial crisis-and cost the United States more than $6 trillion, or $50,000 per household, in lost economic output. The usual answers are that no one did anything wrong (oh, come on) or, more realistically, that it's too hard to convict individuals in complex financial fraud cases.

At the same time, however, the U.S. Attorney's office for the Southern District of New York-the district that includes Wall Street-has amassed a 79-0 record in insider trading cases...

Now, despite the 79-0 record (which includes guilty pleas), insider trading is not necessarily the easiest thing in the world to prove, especially in a criminal action. Insider trading is a violation of SEC Rule 10b-5 ...

Now guess what? Rule 10b-5 is also one of the ways to go after someone for the kind of securities fraud that helped produce the financial crisis.

So the only difference is that insider trading is done by guys with less political power and influence than banksters who break the same fraud laws?

Wu Jinglian, an 84-year-old scholar whose views often clash with those of the country's leaders, told fellow economists at a forum in Beijing on Monday that the government had to deal with the rise of "dead companies'' - state-owned enterprises with high debt levels that depended on subsidies to survive.

  • CBO's Deficit Projections (James Hamilton, Econbrowser) James Hamilton contributes to Global Economic Intersection. The declining deficits are unsustainable according to Prof. Hamilton and must start rising again with current policies.


  • Toward a Simpler Palate (Adam Butler, Mike Philbrick and Rodrigo Gordillo, Gestalt U) Hat tip to Doug Short, Advisor Perspectives. Adam Butler and Mike Philbrick have contributed to Global Economic Intersection. Maturing from complex models toward "simplicity and coherence" is the authors' formula.
So, for today, taper isn't tightening. It's hot money risk on and yesterday's EM crisis is today's buying opportunity. Let's see what happens as more taper actually transpires.
Clearly the traditional unemployment rate benchmarks are inadequate. The "activity" measures such as participation are driven by multiple factors, some of which are not directly related to the health of the economy.


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