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.


GOP Eyes Lightning Strike on Obamacare to Kick Off Trump Era by Steven T. Dennis and Billy House (Bloomberg)

A look at the likely repeal of the Affordable Care Act, with appropriate focus on the political risks of the policy vacuum that would follow. [Link; auto-playing video]

Donald Trump, the First President of Our Post-Literate Age by Joe Weisenthal (Bloomberg)

In a world where mass communication is no longer linked to prose, how do we think about the approach that Trump took to being elected? [Link]

How a $60 Billion Fund With Four-Decade Alpha Prepares for Trump by Adam Haigh and Tom Redmond (Bloomberg)

Capital Group runs its mountain of capital very quietly and very effectively, and some of their thinking about the Trump Presidency struck us as both very conventional while remaining contrary in important ways. [Link]

An interview with the editor of Snopes: ‘Technology changes, but human nature doesn’t’ by Glenn Kessler and Michelle Ye Hee Lee (WaPo)

With the fake news narrative taking on new heights (and new share/like counts) daily, this conversation with the dean of debunking is informative. [Link; soft paywall]

Economic Arcana

The paradox of Cuban GDP (Nintil)

An excellent investigation of conflicting economic data related to the size of Cuba’s economy. Widely-cited statistics that show it as one of the better performers in Latin America are likely wrong as this post convincingly demonstrates. [Link]

Some thoughts on reforming the American Transfer Union by Raja Korman (tumblr)

A meandering look at what’s wrong with the structure of our federal transfer system, and some interesting (if wildly implausible) ideas about how to fix it. [Link]

Sharing Economy

Customers in the digital economy have the whip hand by Sarah O’Connor (FT)

Perhaps the biggest impact of the digital revolution is its tendency to take the “customer first” mentality of many businesses and turbo-charge it to the point of absurdity. [Link; paywall]

The taxi unicorn’s new clothes by Izabella Kaminska (FT Alphaville)

A rundown on the complete lack of demonstrated profitability shown by Uber, and the small likelihood that it will be able to do so in the long haul. [Link; registration required]


Citi Said to Weigh Derivative Desk Move to Frankfurt on Brexit by Gavin Finch and Nicholas Comfort (Bloomberg)

With the “Brexit means Brexit” rhetoric of the ruling Conservatives in the UK, the financial industry is starting to look at ways to mitigate London’s probable lack of access to sections of the European financial markets via the “passporting” feature of its current regulatory regime. [Link]

Get Thee to a Brokerage! Low Rates Turn Nuns Into Traders by Georgi Kantchev (WSJ)

“I started by googling what a swap is,” has to be our favorite nun-related line ever. A fascinating look at the behavior of nontraditional investors in a low rate environment. [Link; paywall]


Here’s What Happens After Guy Fieri Visits A Restaurant by Wil Fulton (Thrillist)

The frosted tips, doughy physique, and array of garish shirts are a harbinger of massive increases in foot traffic for small purveyors of chow across the country. [Link]

Municipal Finance

Dallas Stares Down a Texas-Size Threat of Bankruptcy by Mary Williams Walsh (NYT)

While the economy in Dallas is humming, past promises to retirees are creating huge problems despite ample revenue fundamentals. [Link; soft paywall]

Words Fail Us

Highland Capital seeks to unmask author of ‘defamatory’ post on Dealbreaker by Jonathan Stempel (Yahoo Finance/Reuters)

A fund with over $15 billion in AUM has decided to sue Dealbreaker in order to unmask a pseudonymous commenter who once said a mean thing in the comments section. [Link]

The Cloud

Amazon Broadens Cloud Services as Big Companies Sign On by Jay Greene (WSJ)

AWS started as a bare-bones commodity product: raw processing power and data storage, accessed remotely, and very cheap. In a bid to increase market share and total revenues, the service is now adding more complexity and usability via services layered on top of that core offering. [Link; paywall]

Video Games

“Gosh, It’s Beautiful.” By Justin Heckert (ESPN)

The incredible and strange story behind the world’s most valuable video game. [Link]

Some Good News

Ten Good Pieces of Economic Data From All Around the World by Sid Verma (Bloomberg)

China PPI, ISM Manufacturing, Bloomberg Consumer Comfort, Eurozone Unemployment, Eurozone PPI, Canadian GDP, South Korean exports, Japanese profits,  [Link; auto-playing video]

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