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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    Ramona's picture

    What's in a Name? Depends on Who's Calling It.

     

    Over this past week I packed and cleaned and wore myself out getting ready for a long trip toward the places where I'm hoping merry holiday spirits abide. It would be a cruel trick if they didn't.

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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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    Ramona's picture

    The Terrible Horrible No Good War on Happy Holidays


    I’ve been sending out Christmas cards since I was around 16 years old, when my mom told me I was old enough to start sending out my own cards.  The cards I chose over the course of many,many, many years depended on a lot of things, but it never occurred to me—ever–to wonder if my choice of card would offend anyone.
     

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    Ramona's picture

    Why Martin Bashir's Apology Should Have Been Enough

    Until Martin Bashir either resigned or was let go by MSNBC this week, I was a loyal fan.  One of the reasons I watched Bashir is because the things that engaged him usually did the same for me.  At my house, in the Eastern Time Zone, he was on at 4 PM, which meant whatever had happened that day had largely been dissected to death by the daytime pundits.  But he had the ability to find something fresh and insightful and, yes, funny, about what was going on out there.  Maybe it's his accent, his enunciation, his eyebrows--I don't know.

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    Ramona's picture

    The Politics of Cruelty

    I'm coming off of my Thanksgiving week high, settling down, and what's the first thing I think of when I get back to my desk to do some writing?  Cruelty. Institutional cruelty, at that.  Political cruelty.  The kind of cruelty that knows no bounds and fears no punishment.  A new kind of cruelty, right out in the open and expecting rewards.  The New America, courtesy of the Tea Party, the Koch Brothers, Leviticus and Deuteronomy.

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    The Long, Cold Christmas

    My morning commute these days takes me through a shopping center; the train lets me off underneath it. It's been Christmas in the mall since the first day of November. That's no surprise. Christmas has become the crutch our retail economy leans on. Many stores run in the red for eleven months and see Christmas put them in the black for the year. A bad year calls for a big Christmas, and a string of bad years calls for bigger and bigger Christmases. If shoppers don't keep finding more and more money for Christmas presents, the whole economy shrinks.

    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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    Ramona's picture

    On That Day We Lost JFK

    On that day I was up in my sewing room, away from the TV.  My four-year-old son was napping, and my 7-year-old daughter was in school. My husband was at work.   It was early afternoon.

    I heard the back door open and before I could start to the stairs, I could hear my neighbor, Gwen, shouting something, sobbing. I thought something must have happened to her mother, who had been ailing.  By the time I got to her she could barely speak.  "They shot the president!  They shot Kennedy!"

    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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    Ramona's picture

    Protecting Wolves by Throwing Them to the Wolves?

    Yesterday I wrote about Opening Day for Michigan’s deer hunting season.  But yesterday was also opening day for a hunting season not seen in Michigan for almost 50 years.  Despite pushback from many different organizations, and petitions set up on a whole lot of petition sites, our grand Poobahs in Pure Michigan caved once again to special interests and instituted a hunting season for wo

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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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    Ramona's picture

    Feeling Good in Detroit

    They’ve elected a new mayor in Detroit, which, in other circumstances, might be a big deal, but since Detroit is under the thumb of a state-appointed emergency manager (who promptly–and probably unconstitutionally–took away all authority from every elected city official), the new mayor, Mike Duggan, will likely be mayor in name only.  He’ll be invite

    Ramona's picture

    Why Do we Plebians keep blaming the Super-rich? Because, Dammit, They're to Blame

    We're an odd bunch, we Americans.  We've had a hate-hate relationship with the very rich for as long as we've existed as a country, but, damn their black hides, we can't stop taking care of them.

    After all these years we've become used to sparring with the super-rich over how much they get to keep and how much they should share.  They want to keep it all, and we know that.  We want them to behave like responsible citizens, and they don't think they should have to.

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    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Dear angry American who has to pay more for better health insurance,

    Bummer. I know the premiums are steep. I've been there. I remember when I moved from Philadelphia to New York City, and my rate jumped from $200 to $800--without even changing my plan. I received a letter saying that my premium might rise. The next thing I knew, boom, $800 charged to my credit card.

    At least you get better coverage out of the deal. I still had to pay for my ER visit because it fell under my $3000 deductible. But what could I do? This America. Private companies are supposed to wring people out like dirty washcloths. It's called a free market.

    But this is different, isn't it? It's not the free market that's squeezing you dry. It's the government. Government isn't supposed to squeeze people. It's supposed to get out of the way and let the free market squeeze people.

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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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    Ramona's picture

    How to Stop Ted Cruz? Stop the Presses!

     

    Ted Cruz, that notorious commie-hunting senator from Texas channeling a certain notorious mid-20th century commie-hunting senator from Wisconsin, is just one in a long line of rock star politicians who think they've latched onto the best way to get their cockamamie ideas across:  Get out there and make shocking accusations

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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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