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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Who Deserves Credit For Obama Dropping Social Security Cuts?

    Victory!  Barack Obama will not pursue cutting Social Security benefits by using the Chained CPI measure of inflation to calculate future benefit increases.  Obama had proposed doing this just last year, offering it as a compromise to Republicans.

    Now, who gets credit?

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Oh, Look, Honeywell's CEO Advises the New York Fed Now!

    The New York Federal Reserve Bank believes that David M. Cotes, the gazillionaire Chairman and CEO of Honeywell Inc.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Work Is Not Essential To Dignity

    The notion that work is dignity sure seems convenient for those whose fortunes depend on other people's willing labor.  Or, hey, I don't want to make my own sandwich, so grab yourself some dignity and a block of swiss, my friend.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Woody Allen's Movies, Career and Me

    I'd love it if we could keep discussions of, um, current events to the other thread.  This one is about the movies...

    You can condition your tastes.  I believe that.  But what I love most about art, high and low, is that it gives us an opportunity to be honest about our reactions to things without the stakes getting too high.  What I love most about comedy is that as an audience member, you can't fake it.  Watching comedy is like having sex.  You can try to be polite but if the other person is paying attention they know whether or not they got a laugh.

    Michael Maiello's picture

    Yes, You Can Still Watch Woody Allen Movies and Ignore Nick Kristof

    Nick Kristof is, by his own admission, friends with Mia and Ronan Farrow, two people who have been pursuing their vendetta against Woody Allen for years.  If you follow any of the coverage at all, that much is clear.  Mia and Ronan hate Woody Allen and say so in public, at every opportunity.  For his part, Allen says nothing about them.  Now, Kristof sees fit to publish Dylan Farrow's allegations of childhood sexual abuse by the filmmaker.  Laughably, Kristof covers himself by saying that Allen refused to give him an on the record interview.  He then references Allen's previous denials but

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Rich, Insecure and Victimized

    It would be lovely to never worry about money and to work only for the love of it rather than the need to care for ourselves and others that drives most of us out of our warm houses and apartments on frigid days where, all things being equal, we would just rather not.  I imagine that if more of us had real choices about how to spend our days that it would be tougher to find somebody to pay to make you a sandwich but that we'd all be happier for it.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Marriage Is Not An Anti-Poverty Program

    Over at The New York Times Ross Douthat wants to argue that Republicans can fight poverty by fighting single parenthood, which means promoting marriage on the argument that two parent families are more economically and socially successful.  Matt Yglesias at Slate wants to know how small-government Douthat is going to accomplish using the government, of all things, to get people to marry and stay marry. Douthat's plan involves:

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Writing Prompts For 2014

    When the political news of the day is about whether or not the governor of New Jersey caused a traffic jam to punish a political rival, I can finally tune out and think about the important stuff like art.

    Michael Maiello's picture

    The Times "Pity Party"

    Atrios and friends frequently take The New York Times  to task for its coverage of the economic issues facing its affluent readership.  The problem, an old one, is that the Times reader typically makes a lot of money compared to the average but they do not typically make so much money that they are care free wealthy.  This is because the economy does not actually gr

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    The Homeless Aren't Homeless When They Are Sheltered?

    I think it's impossible to be a parent without having moments where you don't fear your own incompetence.  Some day, you know, you will be exposed as something less than a perfect protector, much less provider.  Your child will want something you cannot provide.  That might not be a tragedy, but it will be a moment.  Worse, your child might need something you cannot provide.  That will hurt.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    The Retirement Crisis 2: Everybody Ought To Be Rich

    Early in my career at Forbes an editor introduced me to the quotation, "Everybody ought to be right," attributed to a 1929 Ladies Home Journal article by John Jakob Raskob, a financier for General Motors and Dupont and a darned good boom times investor.  What Raskob meant was:

    "...a man is rich when he has an income from invested capital which is sufficient to support him and his family in a decent and comfortable manner - to give as much support, let us say, as has ever been given by his earnings."

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Yes, WaPo: There Is A Retirement Crisis

    Back in 2005, when I was still a financial journalist, I attended the Investment Company Institute's annual gathering in Washington, D.C.  The end of retirement was a theme of the event.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Public and Private Equity

    Timothy Geithner is getting what some on Wall Street will jokingly refer to as his first "real job" as a President and Managing Director at private equity house Warburg Pincus.  At Business Insider, Joe Weisenthal's take is that it could have been worse from a conflict of interest standpoint -- at least he's not as a Too Big To Fail bank, lobbying against regulations.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    The Plight Of The Ultra Low Affluent

    In The New York Times today, Lori Gottlieb, a bestselling author, practicisng psychotherapist and contributing editor to The Atlantic Monthly worries, "Has Obamacare made it un-P.C. to be concerned by a serious burden on a middle-class family’s well-being?"

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Insurance Coverage You Can Drive A Truck Through

    Coming back from the gym this morning, I encountered an 18 wheeler with a flatbed trailer, stuck on a narrow West Village street, trying to navigate between the fancy cars parked on both sides.  I asked the driver if eyes outside the truck would help.  He was happy to tell me where to look while he steered the truck back and forth in an effort to straighten out the trailer without smooshing anybody's fine examples of German luxry auto manufacturing. 

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    The World's Shadow Government

    The NSA's answer to charges that it spies on the phone calls of citizens in the European Union is that it isn't spying, it is analyzing information provided to it by the intelligence agencies of allied governments.  See, the NSA doesn't spy on Spanish people's phone calls.  Spain does.  Then they tell the NSA all about it.  Glad we cleared that up.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Obamacare's Website Benghazi'd His Birth Certificate

    This morning I was not feeling 100% and so I skipped the very cool calisthenics class I like to take on Wednesdays for the more tender embrace of the elliptical machine.  Unfortunately, this meant that I did my silly walk while facing CNN with the sound off but closed captioning on.  It is very funny to watch report after report, rendered by CNN's botched, real time closed captioning, about how Kathleen Sebelius should resign her cabinet post because the Obamacare website hasn't worked.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    A New, Democratic Bull Market For Treasuries?

    A big fear among investors and people running actual businesses in the U.S. is that at some point, interest rates must rise from historic lows.  This must happen, in part, because nothing lasts forever.  But behind that truism, there is a lot that could cause rates to rise.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    So, We Default?

    There are two kinds of borrowers who default on their debts.  One type defaults because they cannot pay.  It is typical to say that they have over borrowed but it is easily as likely that some sort of catastrophe has destroyed the borrower's earnings power, perhaps permanently.  Then there are defaults of choice.  A borrower decides not to pay, even if they have the means.  Perhaps they feel that they were swindled by the lender and that the debt is thus invalid.  Or, maybe they just don't want to pay.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Sunrise and Sunset

    When President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, Amy Winehouse was still alive and the launch of Apple's first iPad was a month away.  We are talking ancient history, here.  Yet, as I write this, we are less than 12 hours away from a government shutdown caused by a budget impasse caused by Republican insistence that the law now known as Obamacare be delayed and then defunded.  The Republican struggle to unpass the ACA has not ceased since it became law.  Along the way the name "Obamacare" changed from a term of derision to one that the President now owns.

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