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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Great Recession Roundup — January 14, 2009

Items of Interest:

Brian Faler / Bloomberg:
Democrats May Reduce Tax Cuts in Obama's Stimulus, Rangel Says -- Democrats in Congress may cut the share of the economic stimulus package dedicated to tax cuts below the $300 billion or more that President-elect Barack Obama is asking for, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel said.

“The tax cuts will go in with 300 or less,” Rangel, a New York Democrat whose committee writes tax laws, said after a closed-door party meeting. He didn’t give details...

Say goodbye to the big Citi -- Without a clear direction for the financial services giant, its rivals may one day own pieces of the empire that once was Citigroup.

Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit is finally dismantling the house that Sandy Weill built, but will the businesses that remain form a durable, well-integrated player? Or will the remaining parts be so mismatched that Citi will need to liquidate? The sooner Citi's destiny becomes clear, the sooner banking will recover.

"Citi's future is casting a pall over the industry," says Nancy Bush, an independent banking analyst. "The world is asking, 'What will be left of their operating model?'" ...
Diana Washington Valdez / El Paso Times:
U.S. military report warns ‘sudden collapse’ of Mexico is possible — President-elect Barack Obama listens as Mexico's President Felipe Calderon makes a statement to reporters in Washington, Monday, Jan. 12, 2009. Mexico is one of two countries that “bear consideration for
a rapid and sudden collapse …
Ed Morrissey / Hot Air: Is Mexico near collapse?
Next Bubble to Burst: Higher Education?

John Robb / Global Guerrillas:
Industrial Education -- [The] costs for collegiate education have increased 4.39 times faster than inflation over the past three decades and has now eclipsed affordability for most households (median incomes have stagnated during this same period) with no appreciable improvement in the quality of graduates. Worse, there is reason to believe that costs of higher education (direct costs and lost income) are now nearly equal (in net present value) to the additional lifetime income derived from having a degree. Since nearly all of the value of an education has been extracted by the producer, to the detriment of the customer, this situation has all the earmarks of a bubble. A bubble that will soon burst as median incomes are adjusted downwards to global norms over the next decade.* ...
KC Johnson / Minding the Campus:
Was Nan Keohane Worse Than Brodhead?
Patrick McGoohanWired.com:
R.I.P. Patrick McGoohan, The Prisoner's TV Visionary --
"I am not a number, I am a free man!"
Patrick McGoohan's character Number Six shouted at the panoptic eye in the sky at the beginning of every episode of the revolutionary '60s sci-fi TV series The Prisoner. And although the character would come to dominate McGoohan's life and even chase him out of London following the series' controversial 1968 finale, "Fall Out," McGoohan is a prisoner no longer.

The actor died Tuesday in Los Angeles at the age of 80, a still-underrated legend whose influence will no doubt grow larger as this still-new millennium unfurls...
BBC: Prisoner star McGoohan dies at 80
Iain Murray / OpenMarket.org: RIP Patrick McGoohan, No. 6
Mark Hemingway / The Corner: “I am not a number. I am a free man.”

Calculated Risk

MishTalk - Mike Shedlock

Paul Krugman - NY Times

The Big Picture - Barry Ritholtz

naked capitalism - Yves Smith

Pragmatic Capitalism

Washington's Blog

Safe Haven

Paper Economy

The Daily Reckoning - Australia