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.

Monetary Policy

I Created ‘The Bernank’ on YouTube. And I Was Mostly Wrong. by Omid Malekan (NYT)

One of the most unintentionally hilarious videos about monetary policy ever made was intended as a satire of actual policies, fueling popular misconception along the way. The creator is now mostly recanting. [Link; soft paywall]

The Fed’s No Longer Guided by Concept of Neutral Rates by Tim Duy (Bloomberg)

Over the past week two major proponents of the neutral rate framework for thinking about the path of Fed policy have either recanted or walked back significantly. [Link; soft paywall]

Tax Policy

Issue #2: New York City Taxes More Valuable Property at Lower Rates than Less Valuable Properties (Tax Equity Now)

Some staggering charts communicating the remarkably regressive nature of New York City property tax rates; for a place with a progressive reputation, New York applies much higher tax rates to lower-value properties. [Link]

I.R.S. Tax Fraud Cases Plummet After Budget Cuts by Jesse Eisinger and Paul Kiel (NYT)

Forget political debates over what the correct level of taxation is: what happens when the law can’t be enforced and the dollars Congress has decided to levy in tax aren’t being collected? [Link; soft paywall]

Auction Antics

Banksy auction prank leaves art world in shreds by Chris Johnston (The Guardian)

After a painting by street artist Banksy was sold for just over 1mm GBP, it started to feed into a shredder installed at the bottom of the frame. [Link]

Rare bottle of Scotch whisky fetches record price (Yahoo!/AFP)

A 60 year old bottle of scotch (Macallan) has fetched a staggering $1.1mm price at auction, coming in slightly above a bottle from the same cask sold back in May. [Link]


How I ended up as a modern-day slave in the middle of NYC by Gabreille Fonrouge (NYP)

The story of a young girl who was brought to the US to serve as indentured, un-payed labor in New York households; her experience as a slave is as gut-wrenching as her effort to move forward with her life after has been. [Link]

Suicides Get Taxi Drivers Talking: ‘I’m Going to Be One of Them’ by Emma G. Fitzsimmons (NYT)

With the rise of ride-sharing apps, taxi drivers who financed access to the New York City market with debt to purchase medallions are struggling to stave off depression and suicide. [Link; soft paywall]

New Research

The Long and Short of It: Do Public and Private Firms Invest Differently? by Naomi Feldman, Laura Kawano, Elena Patel, Nirupama Rao, Michael Stevens, and Jesse Edgerton (Fed Working Papers)

Using a like-for-like comparison of public and private firms sourced from US tax returns, Fed and private sector economists find that contrary to the popular perception of “short-termism” among public companies, they actually invest more (especially in R&D) than privately held companies. [Link; 50 page PDF]

The Liking Gap in Conversations: Do People Like Us More Than We Think? by Erica J. Boothby, Gus Cooney, Gillian M. Sandstrom, Margaret S. Clark (Psychological Science)

A new paper argues that people under-estimate how much the people they meet and talk with like them, creating a gap between perception and reality. [Link]


Human History: Brought to You by Wine, Cheese and Bread by Faye Flam (Bloomberg)

The use of basic food processing technology (making bread, wine, and cheese) are among the oldest human achievements. [Link; soft paywall]


Yale Invests in Crypto Fund That Raised $400 Million by Alastair Marsh and Lily Katz (Bloomberg)

Yale’s huge endowment is dipping its toes into crypto, with $400mm dedicated to a new fund. While that seems like a huge number, it’s a drop in the bucket for the $30bn fund. [Link, soft paywall, auto-playing video]


The Big Hack: How China Used a Tiny Chip to Infiltrate U.S. Companies by Jordan Roberson and Michael Riley (Bloomberg)

The astounding story of a chip placed on circuit board exports from China which may have allowed cover access to vast swathes of the US technology infrastructure. [Link; soft paywall]

Teller Tales

The $500 Million Central Bank Heist—and How It Was Foiled by Margot Patrick, Gabriele Steinhauser and Patricia Kowsmann (WSJ)

An alert teller at an HSBC branch in London found a request to transfer $2mm of a $500mm balance account to an account in Japan odd; the result was the uncovering of a massive fraud. [Link; paywall]


FDA Barges In on Vape Maker Juul, Seizes ‘Thousands’ of Documents by Andrew Couts (Gizmodo)

In an effort to uncover potentially illegal marketing towards teenagers, vape company Juul was raided by the FDA this week. [Link]

Athletic Bargaining Power

Earl Thomas and Le’Veon Bell are leading the way in how NFL players fight for their salaries by Natalie Weiner (SB Nation)

The anti-trust immune NFL has massive leverage over its employees (athletes) and those employees are starting to take a more aggressive approach in protecting their livelihoods. [Link]

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Have a great Sunday!

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