The Stingy News Weekly (04/18/2010)
"For starters, when investors are looking for "simple and transparent," ETFs are no longer the default. There still are many clean, easy-to-understand ETFs to be had, but they're harder to find among the proliferation of new products. Indeed, ETFs no longer take a back seat to closed-end funds or mutual funds when it comes to complexity, opaqueness and fine print."
The new paternalism
"Real people are susceptible to cognitive biases that can lead to poor decisions. It's only natural to want to help them make better choices. But no one is immune to bias. Not social scientists, and certainly not policymakers. In translating behavioral science into policy, we may be led astray by the very same cognitive defects we wish to correct. New paternalist policies, and indeed the intellectual framework of new paternalism itself, create a serious risk of slippery slopes toward ever more intrusive paternalism."
James Chanos interview
"James Chanos, President, Kynikos Associates. He is the man who predicted the Enron downfall and now predicting a housing bubble in China,"
Shocked sleuths discover shorts
"It's important to remember that with so many people in the world, just calling a historical event is not sufficient because there are always people predicting massive failure or success to any policy. The key is whether they right for the right reasons, as in Schiff's case, or right for the wrong reasons, as in Roubini or Taleb's cases."
They're clipping your dividends
"Come next January the favorable 15% rate on dividends will expire, making them subject to taxation as "ordinary income." At the same time the maximum rate is kicking up from 35% to 39.6%. The third thing that will happen in 2011 is the resurrection of a rule that ostensibly limits deductions but for the majority of taxpayers is nothing but a boost in their tax bracket. This rule adds 1.2 percentage points to your rate. In 2013 comes a fourth tax increase: a 3.8% surtax on investment income. Add it up. Dividends that used to be taxed at 15% are set to be taxed at 44.6%."
Fun tax facts
"Centuries ago, when the Papal State dominated Tuscany, these rulers imposed an extremely high tax on salt. As a form of protest, Tuscan bakers began to make their bread without salt. Gradually, the taste for bread made entirely without salt became widespread, and to this day, Tuscan bread is salt less"
"In the Weekly Standard, Andrew Ferguson notes the paradox of behavioral economics, that proving people are often irrational then begs the question as to why we think some subset of intellectuals or regulators are more rational"
The story BCG offered me $16,000 not to tell
"I got the feeling that our clients were simply trying to mimic successful businesses, and that as consultants, our earnings came from having the luck of being included in an elaborate cargo-cult ritual."
Mohnish Pabrai interview
"'All man's miseries stem from his inability to sit in a room alone and do nothing.' And all I'd like to do to adapt Pascal is, 'All investment managers' miseries stem from the inability to sit alone in a room and do nothing.'"
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