Michael Hassett

Michael Hassett

Posts by This Writer

9 years 3 months ago

“Mark this down as a good day”, said President Obama on hearing the Wall Street reform bill had passed the Senate and the BP cap was looking good so far.  Who else had a good day, and who did not.

First, this column had a pretty good day – here was our call on SEC v Goldman when it began:

“The fact that Goldman is stuck defending some unpleasant positions does not mean that it will, or should, lose the case.  Normally  a tenable, but ugly, defense, suggests settlement.  Here, Goldman will not accept a...


9 years 3 months ago

“Superstar buddies work together to change the face of the game”.  That was the headline last week as LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined Dwyane Wade in Miami to make the Heat an instant favorite to reach the NBA Finals.  So far it's good for the Heat, and probably the NBA.  Fans are looking forward to next season, excited about a possible Heat-Lakers final.  But last week wasn't the first time that headline has appeared. What was new this time was the motivation – the stars are looking to win a championship, not win an economic war with the owners.  What happened to some of the past all-star...


9 years 3 months ago

The Appleseed Fund, a mutual fund that seeks to  invest in sustainable, undervalued equities, has decided that too big to fail banks are not sustainable, and will be excluded from the fund's portfolio.

Adam Strauss, one of the Fund's co-portfolio managers, explained the change in a populist statement that seems to jumble several related causes and effects.  The relevant paragraphs from the release appear in full below, but let's do some unjumbling and take a look at those reasons one at a time.

Why does Appleseed believe all of the too big banks not sustainable?   Because the financial system...


9 years 4 months ago

The Dark Side of Outside Directors: Do They Quit When They Are Most Needed? a working paper by Rüdiger Fahlenbrach, Swiss Finance Institute, Ecole Polytechnique Fédéralede Lausanne, Angie Low, Nanyang Business School, Nanyang Technological University,René M. Stulz, Department of Finance, The Ohio State University (link below) suggests that outside directors are actually rats, ready to leave a sinking ship when bad news is on the way instead of  a good earning's performance.  Reaching...


9 years 4 months ago

Our panel of Homer Simpson, Gordon Gekko (famed for his line “Greed is good.” in the movie Wall Street) and Henry David Thoreau completes its look at the tax code's performance from a green perspective, completing the discussion that began with Part 1 and Part 2.

Henry:  How does the tax code effect energy production?

Gordon:  Personally, I'm into coal for...


9 years 4 months ago

Our panel of Homer Simpson, Gordon Gekko (“Greed is good” from the movie Wall Street) and Henry David Thoreau perseveres in its look at the tax code's performance from a green perspective, continuing yesterday's discussion.

Henry:  Let's start today off with transportation.  We just mentioned that the tax code encourages low density housing, which makes it more difficult to use energy efficient public transportation.  Congress lets employers pay a tax free parking allowance and a public transit...


9 years 4 months ago

Our trusty panel of Homer Simpson, Gordon Gekko (Best known for his line in the movie Wall Street - "Greed is good.") and Henry David Thoreau reconvenes for a look at the performance of the  U.S. Tax Code from a green perspective, inspired by Professor Roberta F. Mann's article Back to the Future:  Recommendations and Predictions for Greener Tax Policy from The Oregon Law Review, Vol. 88, p. 355 (2009).

Homer:  What's this green perspective stuff all about,...


9 years 4 months ago

Yesterday's column included a rousing defense of the FTC staff's performance against the slings and arrows of outraged bloggers and a summary of the “Change In Law” portion of possible policies suggested by the discussion draft on reinventing journalism.

Today we start with governmental support for journalism, which isn't all that new – consider the subsidies built into  postal rates, the guaranteed business from legal notice publication requirements, the tax break from...


9 years 4 months ago

The Federal Trade Commission Staff recently released a discussion draft titled “Potential Policy recommendations to Support the Reinvention of Journalism”; a draft that was pilloried in blogs far and wide in a disappointing performance that seemed to completely overlook words like “discussion draft” and “possible” and jump directly to fear and loathing of even discussing policies that could benefit traditional investigative jounalism at the expense of aggregators and rebroadcaster's like, errr, most of the blogs that were whining.  In addition to earning penalty points for narrow minded...


9 years 4 months ago

How did it come to this?  Regular readers know I'm not a big fan of gambling.  The state becomes dependent on gambling as a revenue source, and a source of patronage and perks.  The result is regulation that ignores the needs of the citizenry (think about what the constant barrage of lottery ads does for the compulsive gamblers among us), and gambling operations that aren't very well run.

The New York Racing Association (NYRA) is a case in point.  A non-governmental, not-for-profit, NYRA runs Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga race tracks and maintains a cozy relationship with the state's...


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