Greetings, View fans. Time for more fun with annotated afternoon links. Here’s some of what I’ve been reading today.
John Taylor on the language of monetary policy
The Stanford economics professor has a blog post about the tendency of pundits to classify monetary-policy makers into doves and hawks. He says “this terminology is very misleading and usually gets the relationship between policy and outcome backwards.” Instead of doves vs. hawks, he prefers classifying policy makers in terms of “rules vs. discretion,” which I won’t venture to explain here. (You can read it yourself, I’m just the links man.) It’s interesting stuff, as Taylor’s stuff usually is. But I don’t foresee doves or hawks disappearing from the national conversation anytime soon, certainly not while the Federal Reserve remains stuck in QE-ternity.
Why can’t prosecutors win convictions and jail time for any senior Wall Street executives?
The New York Times got together a good roundup of opinions in a “Room for Debate” feature, with contributions from William Black, Elizabeth Warren and Charles Ferguson (who says throw the book at them) to Aitan Goelman, Ellen Podgor and Lawrence Friedman (who offer explanations for why the lack of prosecutions makes sense to them).
A new baby boom?
August was a record month for births in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. And that could be an early signal of things to come for the country, writes Kasia Klimasinska of Bloomberg News: “Rising fertility rates in states such as South Dakota, where unemployment is 3.8 percent, are prompting some demographers and economists to predict a reversal of the nationwide decline in fertility that coincided with the recession and its aftermath.”
Herb Greenberg rants on Boulder Brands
Greenberg’s column for TheStreet is one of the places investors can go to read about risk factors for stocks that the companies tend to downplay or not even mention. Today he writes about Boulder Brands, and says “red flags continue to fly over [the] gluten-free pure-play,” including “receivables and inventory rising much faster than sales.”
What’s an active user worth?
It depends. Are we talking Apple? Twitter? PayPal? Here’s a new blog for me called Asymco, where the writer, Horace Dediu, tries to make sense out of the available data.
(Jonathan Weil is a Bloomberg View columnist. Follow him on Twitter.)