As a junior investment banker (above analyst, below VP) and long-time reader of Roose, he is definitely not a Wall St. apologist. I think this book is well done and apropos (would encourage you to check out his buzzfeed on life of a junior investment banker - spot on). Hopefully it will also clue both the media and public in on what investment bankers actually do - and why real investment bankers had little to nothing to do with the crisis. People who work at an investment bank and investment bankers are not the same thing. As a frequent Billfold reader, I would be happy to participate in one of those interview columns if that would be of any interest to the readership.
I actually think Elie Mystal at the widely-read legal blog Above the Law is on to something in this case. You can read his piece at the link below but essentially he argues that he doesn't disagree with the verdict - he disagrees with the narrow application. He thinks the justification made by the judge should be more broadly applied to juveniles. I.E. Affluenza is not the cause, but rather it is terrible parenting that afflicts persons of all classes and creeds. Interesting and valid perspective, I think. http://abovethelaw.com/2013/12/in-defense-of-the-rich-white-boy-who-killed-four-people-and-got-away-with-it/
We needed insurance that covers collision and damage to the major parts (and does something to the rising prices of all components). But we demanded a warranty that covered all the above + oil changes, windshield wipers, brakes, and tires (and does nothing to bend the cost curve downward). But hey, "free" stuff! Yay.
I am a Dave fan though I do wish he would stay apolitical. I wish that of everyone in the media, actually. Regardless, his plan works, but it's not really "his plan". He has just popularized a very safe version of common sense. My parents raised me to believe in the "dave ramsey plan" long before there was a Dave Ramsey. Monthly budget, envelope system, don't spend more than you make, going out to eat was a rare treat, not a nightly occurrence...and on it goes. They lived that way when they were broke and when they were comfortable and ended up with far more money saved than their income bracket peers (I would guess). You can fire back at him in plenty of ways - I pay my credit card off every month, I have student loans bc going to x school got me where I want to be, etc - his plan is about eliminating risk - not maximizing returns. He likes the "giving a drunk a drink" analogy and I think it is apt for most americans. It is extremely conservative - singles and doubles, no home runs. But you won't strike out either. It is a sacrifice but I think his catchphrase, "live like no one else, so later you can live like no one else" sums it up pretty nicely. In our society it is just very difficult to live like no one else, now. Look no further than yesterday's post on the study re: getting 50k when everyone else has 25, versus 100k when everyone else has 200k.
They seem to switch from net worth to "201x Earnings" to suit their point. For example, 50 Cent made ~$100mm on his vitamin water investment and thus is getting short changed by going with earnings. And the "baby money" line may be infantile but is obviously a dig at Birdman (aka Baby) the co-founder of Cash Money records (Forbes net worth: 100mm in 2011). But as Kip Dynamite famously said, "Like anyone can even know that."
If they had included athlete "charities", whomever originally occupied spots 1-50 would now occupy 51-100, at a minimum.
Wal-Mart isn't really a good comp, though. Consumers pay to patronize Costco (to the tune of over $2 billion in revenue - strictly from membership fees, in 2012). Hours are also fairly limited - 8:30pm on weekdays, 6:00pm on weekends. That is a significant source of revenue in the former case and a significant operating cost savings in the latter, relative to WMT - free and open 24 hours. Those advantages to Costco are multiplied in the grocery business, which has razor thin margins (though interestingly - while both have extremely low margins, COST's are lower - there are your wages). Be interested to know if Sam's Club gets the same as WMT?
@stuffisthings This September 30, 1999 article from the NYT pretty much sums it up. Clinton, Fannie, and the banks... Published: September 30, 1999 In a move that could help increase home ownership rates among minorities and low-income consumers, the Fannie Mae Corporation is easing the credit requirements on loans that it will purchase from banks and other lenders. The action, which will begin as a pilot program involving 24 banks in 15 markets -- including the New York metropolitan region -- will encourage those banks to extend home mortgages to individuals whose credit is generally not good enough to qualify for conventional loans. Fannie Mae officials say they hope to make it a nationwide program by next spring. Fannie Mae, the nation's biggest underwriter of home mortgages, has been under increasing pressure from the Clinton Administration to expand mortgage loans among low and moderate income people and felt pressure from stock holders to maintain its phenomenal growth in profits. In addition, banks, thrift institutions and mortgage companies have been pressing Fannie Mae to help them make more loans to so-called subprime borrowers. These borrowers whose incomes, credit ratings and savings are not good enough to qualify for conventional loans, can only get loans from finance companies that charge much higher interest rates -- anywhere from three to four percentage points higher than conventional loans
Reminds me of why my father always audibly laughed at the, "born free" saying. Quips aside, this and the premie issue raised earlier always bring me back to the what we expect of health insurance (be it govt provided, subsidized, privatized, whatever). Shouldn’t it be more like car insurance – covering big ticket expenses/catastrophes? But we tend to view it as some sort of amazing warranty that should cover gas, tires, brakes, and wiper blades (along with the engine and transmission) for the life of the vehicle…which in this case lasts around 80 years. That type of deal would be extremely costly in the case of a vehicle and even more so for a human being. This is by no means my own idea, but doesn’t get a lot of ink. The expectations question also applies to the cost side: $300 bucks a pop seems high for an office visit, but a friend who is a (quite liberal) surgical resident once posed the interesting question of, “what is a fair price to open up the body and move and repair the spine? Seems it should be more costly than a well-equipped mini-van.” I tend to agree. Obviously easier to ask questions than pose answers though.