Friday, November 22, 2013

Bailout: An Inside Account Of How Washington Abandoned Main Street While Rescuing Wall Street

This is a chilling tale of how our system favors powerful interests.

Bailout: An Inside Account Of How Washington Abandoned Main Street While Rescuing Wall Street

Here's a good review from the Economist:


"Mr Barofsky was asked to serve as the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) by the outgoing Bush administration. He was an inspired choice, a tough New York prosecutor who had led fraud cases against futures brokers that hid losses and predatory mortgage lenders. Earlier in his career, Mr Barofsky charged dozens of Colombian Marxist guerrillas, narrowly avoiding assassination in Bogota. But he was not interested in leaving a job he loved to fight turf-obsessed bureaucrats. Mr Barofsky accepted the assignment only after his boss made an earthy appeal to his sense of patriotism: "Who else is going to protect the public from what could be a $700 billion clusterfuck of fraud?"

Indeed, Mr Barofsky reports that no one in the Treasury Department and almost nobody at the Federal Reserve seemed concerned that some might try to exploit the government's largesse. Whenever Mr Barofsky tried to ensure that banks were using TARP funds to make loans--the stated purpose of the programme--he was told that it would be impossible because "all money is green". Yet the bankers themselves had no problem telling journalists how they planned to use the cheap capital to buy competitors or hoard cash for a rainy day. Mr Barofsky's team was able to add safeguards to some of the Treasury's worst ideas only thanks to pressure from Congress and the media."

Friday, November 8, 2013

New Database: Import Genius Tracks Shipments

Import Genius

International trade database providing detailed information on ocean freight shipments entering the United States with names of American importers for almost any product, descriptions of what they're buying and the contact information for their suppliers overseas. Also includes shipping in and out of several Latin American countries and imports into India.

Search by product, country of origin, port, bill of lading and more.


Monday, November 4, 2013

Apartment Rents in San Marcos (or elsewhere)

The US Census Factfinder can break down the distribution of monthly apartment rents for you as well by city or zip code. For example, find the distribution of rents in San Marcos here.

You have to scroll down a fair amount of text and then you'll see it.