Welcome to Bespoke Brunch Reads — a linkfest of the favorite things we read over the past week. The links are mostly market related, but there are some other interesting subjects covered as well. We hope you enjoy the food for thought as a supplement to the research we provide you during the week.

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Trump’s Tax Bill Has Cost Homeowners a Trillion Dollars by Allan Sloan (Fortune)

One consequence of the 2017 TCJA is to remove subsidies for homeowners, which reduced state and local real estate tax deductions and some mortgage rate deductions. [Link]

The Rich Really Do Pay Lower Taxes Than You by David Leonhardt (NYT)

A times analysis of 2018 income tax filing data suggests that the 400 households with the most wealth paid the lowest tax rate of any bracket across federal, state, and local taxes. [Link; soft paywall]


California’s power outage means problems for electric cars. Tesla says charge up, quick. by Faiz Siddiqui (WaPo)

With rolling blackouts in California designed to prevent fires sparked under PG&E infrastructure, the automaker warned customers of the need to charge up before blackouts. There’s always an angle for Tesla bears! [Link; soft paywall]

Chemistry Nobel Hails Work on Batteries That Changed Society by Elisabeth Behrmann and Veronic Elk (Bloomberg)

The latest Nobel prize has gone to the three scientists who were key to the development of the modern lithium-ion battery technology, which fuels everything from cell phones to cars. [Link; soft paywall]

Grifter Nation

All the “wellness” products Americans love to buy are sold on both Infowars and Goop by Nikhil Sonnad (QZ)

It’s hard to imagine two brands with a more different message than Gwyneth Paltrow’s West Coast wellness shop “Goop” and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ Infowars, but many of the products they hawk are the same snake oil in a different package. [Link]

The Cheating Scandal Rocking the Poker World by David Hill (The Ringer)

While nothing has been proven – yet – evidence and speculation has swirled that a popular, exciting player has been winning a bit too much in tight spots. [Link]

WeWork chases new financing as cash crunch looms by James Fontanella-Khan and Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson (FT)

While the company looked to have enough cash on hand to make it well in to next year, new reports suggest that it’s burning cash faster than anticipated and may run out before December. [Link; paywall]

We pit the Uber Copter vs. public transit in a race to JFK — here’s who won by Elizabeth Rosner, Olivia Bensimon and David Meyer (NY Post)

While taking a helicopter to JFK sounds pretty amazing, if you’re leaving from Midtown you’re probably better off underground than up in the air. [Link; auto-playing video]

Tech Travails

Is Amazon Unstoppable? by Charles Duhigg (The New Yorker)

The country’s second-largest employer and seller of one-third of all goods bought or sold online is facing regulatory scrutiny and public outrage. Can Bezos carry the firm on ego alone? [Link; soft paywall]

Facebook Can Be Forced to Delete Content Worldwide, E.U.’s Top Court Rules by Adam Satariano (NYT)

In a state of affairs that is foreign to Americans but plenty familiar elsewhere, a foreign court has ruled that countries have extra-territorial powers that will open companies up to consequences if they are not respected. [Link; soft paywall]

OECD takes aim at tech giants with plan to shake up global tax by Chris Giles (FT)

The OECD has developed a new proposal designed to push back against tech firms’ tax dodging as a result of profit shifting to low tax jurisdictions. [Link; paywall]


Why Oct. 9 is a day that lives in infamy among stock investors by Mark Hulbert (MarketWatch)

In both 2002 and 2007, there were two different big shifts in equity markets, both falling on the exact same calendar day: October 9th. [Link]

Home Work

How remote work is quietly remaking our lives by Rani Molla (Recode)

Jobs in high cost cities are increasingly being done by remote workers who are able to buy higher standards of living in rural areas or simply other regions of the country. [Link]

Keeping the Heirloom House by Amy Gamerman (WSJ)

As homes get passed down across multiple generations, shares of time – and decisions related to the house – can get very complicated. [Link; paywall]


Order Disapproving a Proposed Rule Change,as Modified by Amendment No. 1, Relating to the Listing and Trading of Shares of the Bitwise Bitcoin ETF Trust Under NYSE Arca Rule 8.201-E (SEC)

The SEC has disallowed the last remaining application for a bitcoin ETF, based primarily on the fact that they find the entire market to be ripe for manipulation and fraud. [Link; 112 page PDF]

Crop Report

Despite Extreme Weather, 2019 Is a “Perfect Storm” Vintage for Wine by Elin McCoy (Bloomberg)

Vinophiles take note: harvests were “near perfect” in California, while French grape growing areas have gotten a weather combination that has hurt yields but concentrated flavors, making 2019 a year of bottles to look forward to. [Link; soft paywall]

Credit Markets

SG pull-back poses questions for CDS market by Christopher Whittall (IFR)

With Societe Generale pulling back from its role in the CDS market, a key regulatory body composed of end investors and dealers is without the minimum number of participants. [Link]

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Have a great weekend!

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