"Economists are pessimists: they've predicted 8 of the last 3 depressions."
--Barry Asmus

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Apps, Bills, Bonds, And Justice

Two important bills passed the Senate today. The first, known as the James Zadroga 9/11 health bill, provides 5 years of medical treatment (at a cost of $4.3 billion) for emergency responders with respiratory illnesses caused by inhaled dust from the World Trade Center. The up side is, of course, the simple fact that it's the right thing to do. The down side is that it adds another $860 million or so to the operating costs of the United States each year for the next 5 years, which will only compound everyone's concerns about the US budget deficit (particularly internationally, given the increasing concerns about sovereign debt). The other bill was the ratification of the nuclear arms control treaty with Russia[1], which requires both signatories to reduce their deployed long-range strategic nuclear missiles to no more than 1550, with no more than 700 deployed missile launchers. Peace in our time![2]
New York is in the news. Specifically, behold the new face of fear for Wall Street:
This is Eric Schneiderman, the New York Attorney General-elect. He has just named his deputies - I mean, his legal staff - and is getting ready to take over the civil fraud lawsuit against Ernst & Young.
Apple has dropped the WikiLeaks App[3], on the grounds that it violated Apple's developer guidelines. Apple does not appear particularly concerned about retaliation from Anonymous.
Oh, and last week saw the largest aggregate withdrawals from bond funds in more than two years ($8.62 billion, up from $1.66 billion for the week ending 12/8). Some analysts speculate that most of withdrawals were by instructional investors looking for better yields by directly buying bonds, although concern about interest rates drove some of it.
[1] Just check me on something. This is 2010, right?
[2] Pay no attention to the billions of dollars that will be spent to modernize the nukes that remain.
[3] Protecting banks that make money through the art of wrongful foreclosure? Yeah, there's an app for that.

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