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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Trade Wars

Trump’s Tariffs Could Nullify Tax Cut, Clouding Economic Picture by Jim Tankersley (NYT)

While tax cuts passed at the end of 2017 had a positive effect on household incomes, new tariffs rolled out over the last two years are raising costs and clawing back all the benefits of the tax cut for some households. In other words, this is the substitution of one kind of tax for another. [Link; soft paywall]

Chinese goods navigate alternate trade routes to US shores by Kyo Kitazume, Tomoya Onishi, and Yusho Cho (Nikkei Asian Review)

Companies are relocating production from China to other economies not impacted by tariffs, but trade flows are also being routed from producers in China through third-party economies that aren’t facing the same tariffs. [Link]


The Couple Who Feds Say Scammed Berkshire Hathaway for Millions by Brian Eckhouse, Katherine Chiglinsky, and Mark Chediak (Bloomberg)

Solar financing company that got investment from Berkshire among many others was a Ponzi scheme, using a tax credit system to lure investors into plunking hundreds of millions into funds tied to the fraud. [Link; soft paywall]


Who is Florida Man? by Bob Norman (Columbia Journalism Review)

How wildly viral headlines tied to the odd crimes of Floridians cast light on the darker corners of the media landscape and the grim monetization of human pain. [Link]

Florida County School Board Approves Medical Marijuana Access in Public Schools by A. J. Herrington (High Times)

Students who have prescribed cannabis medications administered by a student’s parent or caregiver (and excluding smoking or inhalation-based treatments) will be permitted to use the treatments in Palm Beach County schools. [Link]


14 Millennials Got Honest About How They Afforded Homeownership by Anne Helen Petersen (Buzzfeed News)

Anecdotes from a range of 20 or 30-somethings that have bought homes. Notably, only one of the fourteen with a down payment over $10k was able to buy a home without parental contribution to down payments. [Link]

HOAs Are Popular Where Prejudice Is Strong and Government Is Weak by David Montgomery (City Lab)

More than half of single family homes are part of an HOA, but that number is greater than 80% when it comes to new homes. HOA homes tend to command higher price premiums in the South and West and tend to command higher price premiums in areas with less local land use regulation. [Link]


Microsoft, Nasdaq, and Refinitiv empower everyday investors with real-time data and insights in Excel by Rob Howard (Microsoft)

In a new feature for Microsoft Excel, users will be able to stream real-time stock prices for free in updated versions of the ubiquitous spreadsheet software. [Link]


Boeing Built Deadly Assumptions Into 737 Max, Blind to a Late Design Change by Jack Nicas, Natalie Kitroeff, David Gelles, and James Glanz (NYT)

More details on how the 737-MAX ended up with a huge design flaw that resulted in multiple fatal crashes. [Link; soft paywall]


Laser flight path caught on camera for the first time by Jacob Aron (New Scientist)

This isn’t new news, but it’s still pretty cool: extremely high framerates allowed scientists to capture the path of laser beams through the air. [Link]

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Have a great weekend!

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