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Roundup: SEC Goes After Little Guys

Posted By Jim On 06/08/2012 @ 12:08 pm In Personal Finance | 15 Comments

Matt Taibbi from the Rolling Stone looked at why the SEC seems to love crushing little guys but let’s huge megabanks do whatever they want [3].

It’s half sad and half pathetic. My belief, whether accurate or not, is that government agencies are filled with three types of people – those who can’t get a job in private industry, those who don’t want to get a job in private industry, and those who are simply waiting until they can get a job in private industry. So for the SEC, an example private industry job would be on Wall Street. The ones at a regulatory agency who can’t get a job or don’t want to get a job, either can’t or don’t have the motivation to battle the people who they are supposed to regulate. The ones who are waiting until they can get a job don’t have an incentive to fight with their future employers!

They all work towards their incentives though and, as Taibbi has shown, the incentives are all jacked up.

  • I liked JC Penney’s new straight forward pricing but it’s not as profitable as obfuscation, shrouding, and information supression. Red Tape Chronicles looks at why JC Penney’s [4] revenue dropped 20% in the first quarter and customer traffic fell 10%. It’s kind of sad because this is better for us, except we don’t reward it with our wallets. (the scientific paper [5] he cites is worth looking at too, even if you just skim the abstract and introduction)
  • Knicks were fun to watch this year, especially with Linsanity, but the Spurs are playing [6] some frighteningly legit basketball. It’s like they’re the old guys in the rec league who do everything right in playing 110% team basketball.
  • Interesting op-ed piece on why the Chinese flock to American universities [7] – hits the nail on the head with all three points. High standards and high expectations are certainly the norm, parents will often sacrifice everything for their children, and America is still the best place to be.
  • Mikey Rox shares 10 things to look for a thrift store [8], I’d add baby and children’s clothes to the list. The smaller stuff costs the same as adult clothes and lasts about two months (because the kid gets too big), so why pay the premium? Also, babies make a mess and stain stuff all the time. Staining a $10 shirt sucks, staining a 50 cent shirt is awesome.

Have a great weekend!

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[3] SEC seems to love crushing little guys but let’s huge megabanks do whatever they want: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/sec-taking-on-big-firms-is-tempting-but-we-prefer-whaling-on-little-guys-20120530

[4] looks at why JC Penney’s: http://redtape.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/05/25/11864178-fair-and-square-pricing-thatll-never-work-jc-penney-we-like-being-shafted

[5] scientific paper: http://aida.wss.yale.edu/~shiller/behmacro/2003-11/gabaix-laibson.pdf

[6] Spurs are playing: http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/7988382/the-spurs-zombies-retro-diary

[7] why the Chinese flock to American universities: http://www.cnn.com/2012/05/31/opinion/bennett-china-us-schools/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

[8] 10 things to look for a thrift store: http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-to-look-for-every-time-you-visit-a-thrift-store

Thank you for reading!