We have not been very active lately, but that doesn't mean that the world around us has stopped producing newsworthy stories. Therefore, it is probably time to play catch up with the latest version of Snippets. For new readers, Snippets is our semi-regular attempt at covering a lot of topics from the worlds of law, economics and politics in a little time. Some would call this lazy; economists prefer the term 'efficient.'
- Let's kick off this edition with a credit rating warning so we can dispense with the bad news and shift to some slightly less foreboding fare. S&P today followed up on Moody's announcement yesterday that it would be very likely to cut the credit rating of the US if lawmakers don't reach a deal on the debt ceiling soon. The problems that this could cause have been discussed ad nauseum in the financial press. Let's hope the elected representatives of the nation have been listening.
- In slightly better news (unless you subscribe the theory that everyone has merely given up...) unemployment claims have declined to the lowest level since April. While still above 400,000, the claims level is inching closer to a point where it could signal a coming decline in the unemployment rate. However, if this is all too technical Dear Reader, remember that you can also just Google it.
- Do you make over $250,000 a year? Apparently President Obama thinks that, in addition to a nice home with an attached two car garage, you also have a hangar out back. Well, at least according to The Wall St. Journal he does...
- Is the WASP an endangered species? Blawgconomics favorite Gregg Easterbrook thinks that it just may be. On the other hand, and happily for J. Crew's new private equity owners, WASP style remains firmly entrenched.
- Lest anyone has recently been kept up nights pondering why a municipality would want to increase the number of prisoners listed on its rolls, thinking about the latest census and its impact on legislative seat allocation might help grease the creative wheels a bit.
- To the extent that anyone felt bad that Christian Lopez, the Yankee fan who caught and returned Derek Jeter's historic 3,000th hit ball, would have to pay taxes on the gear and seats he received in return for his gesture, their concerns can be put to rest. Miller Light, striving to be the 'Official Beer of Fans', has offered to foot Lopez' taxes on the items. Helpful considering that many are estimating that the future tax bill from the IRS could run as high as $10,000.
- One of the casualties of the financial crisis has been the collective reputation of the nation's banks and corporations. Though banks and corporations undoubtedly dislike this, it has been oft-proven that American adults have decidedly short-term memories when it comes to things like corporate misbehavior, presumably leaving them safe to misbehave again sometime very soon.
On the other hand, fat cats may have some problems on their hands with today's youth a few years down the road as consumers who came of age during the crisis are apparently harboring some fairly strong negative emotions toward corporate America. Some of the most revealing results from a recent University of Arizona survey of high school students include the following:
- Over 70% of students believe that businesses often try to “trick young people” into spending more than they should.
- Only 25% of students disagreed with the following statement: “The stock market is rigged mostly to benefit greedy Wall Street bankers.”
- Fewer than 1 in 5 students who responded to the survey (17%) disagreed with the statement that “Banks are mostly interested in getting my money through hidden fees.”
- According to at least one commentator, another casualty of the financial crisis might be large-scale illegal immigration from south of the border, if only for the time being. Whether this is good or bad is something that educated and thoughtful people can and do disagree on, but here is some food for thought from the same site.
- For anyone with an interest in market history, CNBC has posted a slideshow with what it claims are the best trades in history.
- In a move that we are guessing is not too popular with its grads still looking for employment, Thomas. M. Cooley Law School is suing New York-based attorneys at Kurzon Strauss for defamation.
- Let's wrap up this edition with a prediction: the latest and final Harry Potter film will have the highest box office take in history. It has to beat over three quarters of a billion dollars at the box office according to IMDB. We will go out on a limb to say that it will probably go on to have the highest overall box office and DVD sales of all time as well.