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What We Read Today 15 March 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 included.

Today there are 15 articles discussed 'behind the wall'. The last 5 are about bitcoin.

  • Closing the Door on the Great Financial Crisis (Steve Keen, Business Spectator) Steve Keen has contributed to Global Economic Intersection. Steve presents a graph that demonstrates that private sector deleveraging is ended for the U.S. and Australia, but probably not yet for the UK. He concludes that we have learned a valuable (but not a new) lesson: "So this crisis has proved the old adage that history teaches that we learn nothing from history.


  • The Financial Sector Is the Greatest Parasite in Human History (Ben Strubel, New Economic Perspectives) The article has a graph which shows the dimension of the parasitic action. The total (gross) rent for the FIRE (financial,insurance and real estate) sector is more than double the net rent, which is proportional to the net investment in the economy. The difference between the red line and the blue is proportional to the rent siphoned by FIRE in excess of the rent derived from supporting production if real goods and services outside FIRE.


  • Smart Tax Trick for Clients' Land (Donald Jay Korn, Financial Planning) Pairing a big land donation tax deduction with a large traditional IRA to Roth conversion can make sense.
  • Former Napfa Chair Spangler Gets 16 Years For 'Complete Betrayal' (Raymond Fazzi, Financial Advisor) The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) is the professional association of fee-only financial planners. The organization is comprised of "financial professionals who meet the highest membership standards for professional competency, client-focused financial planning, and Fee-Only compensation." Former chairman of NAPFA, Mark Spangler, has been sentenced to 16 years in federal prison for stealing millions from clients.


  • Treasuries Rise As Gundlach Says Yields Will Fall; Gross Sells (Bloomberg, Financial Advisor) Two bond gurus, two different opinions and both are playing with real money to back their opinions. Jeffrey Gundlach (DoubleLine Capital LP) says bonds will move higher (lower interest rates), while Bill Gross (PIMCO) is selling treasuries.
  • S&P 500 fails rally attempt (Lido Isle Advisors, Futures Magazine) The most interesting part of this article is the chart for wheat. Apparently Ukraine is still the breadbasket of Europe and unrest there driving wheat futures up sharply.



  • Buffett blasts bitcoin as 'mirage': 'Stay away!' (Alex Crippen, CNBC) Bitcoin is an electronic ledger, comparable to a checkbook or a money order, with anonymity as a feature. It is not an asset any more than check paper or money order paper is an asset.

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