There’s no way you are actually accomplishing work this week, is there? Here’s some really good wonk stuff I’ve read recently online:
– Felix Salmon makes a list of the Fed’s regulatory errors after reading this excellent Washington Post piece. It’s amazing to me how much the current ideas behind the Frank bill codify the problems Felix points out: “Overreliance on internal bank risk officers…” is the living will concept, “A touching belief in securitization and triple-A credit ratings” is still there and the Fed’s new methodology of risk states for the largest institutions is strikingly similar to that original ratings style, “A feeling that banks had to be able to compete…” is the argument for returns to scale (and the implicit justification behind the fact that the largest institutions are now getting bigger as a result of government action).
– Ezra Klein responds to Jane Hamsher’s 10 reasons to kill the bill, the critique of the Health Care bill from the left. I’m excited to get the Health Care bill behind us if only for Ezra’s mental health.
– Yglesias and Krugman (and to a an extent, Kevin Drum) have said that financial reform should be the issue that the left doesn’t compromise on: “So there’s a strong case for coming out swinging against denouncing a too-weak [financial] bill as a sham and drawing some bright lines.” Nice. I’ll do my best in 2010 to help pick the spots where we dig the trenches.
– Noam Scheiber on how top MBAs moving from business to finance both as an educational curriculum and a matter of job desirability has left us with an interesting question: could anyone manage a rise in manufacturing anymore? I’m reading this fascinating ethnography of Wall Street analysts (more on which later), so I’m very interested in the fashioning of our current business elite these days, and I think this change is important across the board. As a practical matter, the rise of “management consulting”, the other big boom market for elite MBAs next to investment banking, could be able to address Noam’s worries about manufacturing – but does it? (Paging James…)
– Visiting home for the holidays, it’s amazing to me how certain groups of friends, who I mostly considered in the generic Republicans/conservatives camp, have been wading deeper into the Ron Paul territory. “Abolish the Fed” is one thing, but what surprised me the most was when I was at a Christmas party several people mentioned, fairly out of nowhere, how bad FDIC is for the economy. I think they thought that regular depositors could have done a better job vetting financial institutions than major sophisticated shareholders. When I tried to point out how if there wasn’t FDIC and millions of savings accounts were getting wiped out in ordinary bank runs we’d almost certainly have a wave of turn-of-the-last-century style violence that is hard for us to even imagine now – think bomb throwing anarchist violence – they seemed to be ok with that.
What have you been reading?