Sarah Kliff: Everybody’s working for the…health care benefits: "Three-quarters of retirees said they worked longer than they would have otherwise to maintain access to their health plan."
Steve M.: No More Mister Nice Blog: WALL STREETERS WERE APPARENTLY UNAWARE UNTIL NOW THAT REPUBLICANS ARE CRAZY HOMOPHOBES WHO HATE THE URBAN NORTHEAST: "[T]his Politico story…. 'Wall Street donors cringed alongside other Republicans as not one, but two GOP Senate candidates made controversial comments about rape…. One fundraiser said multiple companies and executives said not to come up to New York until after Sandy relief was passed…. "There is a vein throughout the Republican Party of people who are very socially liberal. You don't live in New York City, which exalts in its diversity, in all these things that happen here if you have a problem," said one veteran Republican New York fundraiser of the frustration with the party's stance on social issues. "Everybody who lives here -- everyone has lots of gay friends, friends of color, Muslims, that’s the world you live in. It's not exotic. It's part of the fabric of life."' The GOP donor base includes guys like hedge fund manager Paul Singer, who made a seven-figure contribution to a pro-Romney super PAC -- and has made donations in the millions to support marriage equality. (Singer's son is married to a man.) And they somehow never imagined that what they've been doing has been at cross-purposes, until just now. I guess they believed that all the abortion-bashing and gay-bashing and bashing of the values and mores of coastal urban America was just boob-bait for the Bubbas -- the party didn't mean any of that. Well, surprise -- the party did mean all of that. The Bubbas vote in primaries. You can't win a GOP nomination without mollifying the Bubbas. Right-wing media moguls, who may personally share the Wall Streeters' ideas on social issues, keep fanning these flames. And that's turned the GOP into what it is today."
Derek Thompson: Why Amazon Is Special and Apple Is Not—in 1 Paragraph: "Eugene Wei, 'Amazon, Apple, and the beauty of low margins', is the most elegant answer to the question I've read yet. Here is the money paragraph on competitive risk: 'An incumbent with high margins, especially in technology, is like a deer that wears a bullseye on its flank. Assuming a company doesn't have a monopoly, its high margin structure screams for a competitor to come in and compete on price, if nothing else, and it also hints at potential complacency. If the company is public, how willing will they be to lower their own margins and take a beating on their public valuation?' Apple's core business is something that practically everybody wants to do (and can do): making phones and tablets. Amazon's core business is something that practically nobody wants to do (or can do): build a massive online database and offline infrastructure to transport boxes from warehouses to hundreds of millions of doorsteps. Seen in that light, Amazon's low-margin game isn't a weakness. It's arguably a strength…. For a deeper dive into how Bezos has house-broken investors to buy into his long game, read Justin Fox."
Danah Boyd on the suicide of Aaron Swartz
Wonkette addresses Kathryn Lopez: Sexy Mommy Superbowl Halftime Makes National Review Very Uncomfortable: "Did you watch sportsball last night? We did too! Sportsball was probably really amazing. We have no idea, since we were drinking heavily. We paid attention, however, during the sportsball halftime because there were sexxxxxy ladiez on our teevee and we like sexxxxxy ladiez on our teevee a great deal, perhaps even more so when intoxicated. Kathryn Lopez was also watching sportsball, but she was not at all happy…. OK, first, you ARE lingering…. Only you, Kathryn Lopez, are still having a sad…. Also, why is it the fault of Beyonslay that men on the Twitters were crude? Is this that weird Catholic thing where wimmenz have to be super-chaste less they tempt the menfolk? How IS life in 1953, anyway? Finally, why on god’s green earth does it matter if she’s a mother? Can non-mothers gyrate in black teddies? Should mothers only gyrate in white teddies to symbolize purity? Perhaps red teddies to simulate the blood of childbirth? WE ARE SO CONFUSED ABOUT SEXY MOMS NOW."
The Aleph Blog: Wall Street Hates You: "Wall Street tries to sell retail investors the exposures that they don’t want. They offer a higher yield, but take it away and then some if the things that they want to hedge go wrong. They sell you their problems, and if things go well you are unharmed, but woe betide your capital if things go wrong. Trust is not owed to financial advisers or brokers…. Wall Street exists to sell promises…. Wall Street knows more than you. They may make occasional mistakes, some of them big, but compared to retail investors, they know far more. They profit off of retail investors. You are the natural resources that they mine…. Take control of your investing, and if you can’t do it yourself, find a talented person with self control who can."
Mark Thoma: Economist's View: FRBSF Economic Letter: Long-term Unemployment: "The SF Fed's Rob Valletta is optimistic about the long-run prospects for the long-term unemployed…. '[J]ob prospects for the long-term unemployed are not as downbeat as the average duration data suggest…. [T]he characteristics of the long-term unemployed and their recent job-finding rates suggest that a sustained cyclical recovery will largely eliminate long-term joblessness….' But we shouldn't take this as a reason to stand by and do nothing. If we can help the process along, or ensure against the chance that this analysis is wrong -- and we can -- we (meaning fiscal policymakers) should do it. Lack of demand + high unemployment + crumbling infrastructure + interest and other costs abnormally low = obvious solution."
Paul Krugman: Rate Expectations: "I look at the breakeven inflation rate, which is a (rough) measure of bond market inflation expectations, and see a rather dramatic rise in expected inflation — around a percentage point since early last year. True, the rise predated Mr. Abe’s taking office, but it’s not too hard to imagine that markets were anticipating a change in policy…. [L]ong-term JGB rates haven’t risen. Because you wouldn’t expect those rates to rise. Japanese short-term rates are up against the zero lower bound, and this puts a sort of squishy floor under long rates as well… you wouldn’t expect them to rise much as a result of expected inflation…. [T]here’s no puzzle at all here: the perception that the BoJ is going to be an easy-money institution in the future has raised expected inflation, reduced real rates, and depreciated the yen. And it’s all good news for Japan."
On February 4, 2013:
Brad DeLong : Ohio Governor John Kasich: Even Though I Pretended to Be an Innumerate Dork When I Ran the House Budget Committee, Now That I Am a Governor I Can Reveal I Am Actually Not an innumerate Dork