Media Worth Consuming – February 2023
Top 5 Articles
Inflation is now mostly used to describe consumer prices, but its former definition was based on monetary debasement which can create confusion.
A cashless society gives enormous power to governments to shut out political opponents, confiscate wealth and impose negative interest rates.
Australia has the second highest tax rate in the OECD on bank savings.
The true story behind “Cocaine Bear” is more interesting than the recent horror movie it inspired.
How the Savannah Bananas became the baseball equivalent of the Harlem Globetrotters.
American consumer spending continues to grow at a robust pace. There’s early signs of an increase in bankruptcies of large American companies following interest rate hikes and the withdrawal of QE. Yields curves point to investors being adamant that interest rates must go back to very low levels, but historical evidence doesn’t support the need for lower interest rates in developed economies.
A profile of private equity firm Ariel Investments, whose strategies include acquiring existing businesses and replacing their management teams with Black and Latino executives. An interview with Jim Chanos on where he sees the best shorting opportunities. Multimanager hedge funds have much higher fees, but have delivered higher returns than the industry average. The forecaster’s hall of fame has no inductees.
The Mormon Church and its investment advisor have agreed to pay $5 million in fines for underreporting its assets, with debate ongoing about whether SEC requirements to publicly disclose investments are too strict or too lenient. Despite repeated court losses, Fortescue Metals refuses to pay native title royalties. Lebanon’s economic meltdown continues with the currency plummeting and people conducting armed holdups of banks to withdraw their deposits. The arguments against central bank digital currencies.
Politics & culture
There’s a long list of reasons that Calvin Coolidge was one of America’s best Presidents, including his consistent rejection of racism. Republican proposals to kill income tax and switch to a national sales tax should be supported by Democrats as it would give them more money to spend without killing economic growth. However, Republicans need to ensure that income tax is killed off completely otherwise future government would merely reinstate income tax to raise even more revenue. A Pulitzer prize winning journalist has reported that the US Navy blew up the Nordstream gas pipeline but the US government has flatly denied the accusation.
Despite enormous government funding, dozens of public schools in Illinois do not have a single student who can read or do maths at their grade level. Teachers unions are behind a push in Democrat run states to form a tax cartel, but if they get their way low tax states will be the biggest beneficiaries. Hawaii has proposed that companies headquartered in the state must have a minimum number of male and female directors. A New Hampshire bakery has been ordered to remove a painting of baked goods from its building to comply with council zoning requirements.
Freedom of speech is functionally extinct in Britain. A couple has been handed ten year jail sentences for dancing in front of Iran’s “Freedom Tower”. Mainstream media outlets and journalists are now openly abandoning objectivity for blatant bias.
Economics & work
Japan’s CPI hit 4.2% but the Bank of Japan thinks it will fall back on its own and they plan to continue with stimulatory monetary policy. Monetary policy is far from hawkish with overnight rates still well below CPI. The percentage drop in real disposable income for Americans is at a level last seen in the Great Depression. Compared to 100 years ago, wealth inequality has dramatically fallen. Not satisfied with its already high taxes and lavish welfare system, the European Commission recommends even higher taxes and more welfare.
Two German climate activists ignored a summons to appear in court instead choosing to fly to Bali for a holiday. A large meta study found that “wearing masks in the community probably makes little or no difference to the outcome of influenza or COVID‐19 compared to not wearing masks.” Veterinary drug Xylazine is being mixed in with Fentanyl, causing overdoses and rotting skin. A Yale professor suggested older Japanese citizens should commit suicide to avoid burdening the nation. The argument that ChatGPT is a like a confidence game, giving people what they want to hear.
The director of a German ballet company responded to a journalist’s negative review by smearing the journalist’s face with dog poo. A woman in Chicago has been charged with stealing $1.5 million of chicken wings from a school. The Pentagon is refusing to answer questions about whether it shot down a $12 balloon owned by a local hobby club with a $400,000 missile. In 1973, a crowd gathered to watch the “Great Pizza Funeral” when 30,000 pizzas were buried after the FDA botched its testing and ordered the pizzas destroyed.
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