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Cops and Stocks

This Vice News story covering some of the latest critiques of Thomas Pikkety’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century (e.g., most of the recent rise in wealth inequality is due to rising home prices) and asking whether we should raise taxes on the rich is interesting, but not quite as interesting as the accompanying photo, part of which is shown below.

All the recent police shootings combined with the American obesity epidemic and the ongoing bull market in just about every asset class all kind of come together in this photo in a way that doesn’t make you feel particularly good about living in the U.S. in 2015.

Turns out, the last week was a pretty good stretch to have a nasty cold and not feel like doing much other than watching TV – from a riveting Final Four college hoops to Masters week that culminated in 21-year old Jordan Spieth donning the green jacket.

In addition to breaking or tying all sorts of records, what was most fun about watching this play out in recent days was that Spieth is a throwback to an earlier, simpler time when cultural norms, particularly in sports, were very different (think, the return of “humble”).

One of the best examples of how Spieth is so different than the man whose records he broke occurred over the weekend. I had to back up a few times to confirm that I actually heard what I thought I heard, but CBS confirmed it a few minutes later when they apologized for a Tiger Woods expletive (i.e., Oh my f#@king God) after hitting a poor tee shot.

Of course, who knows how Spieth will change over time – Tiger Woods approaching age 40 seems much, much different than the 21-year old version in 1997.

Like a Ball and Chain

Someday, these post-financial crisis years will be looked back upon as being one of the most damaging periods to the American psyche with soaring wealth/income inequality topping the list of ills due, in large part, to monetary/fiscal policies enacted by TPTB.

Not far down said list is the burgeoning student loan problem that is transforming an entire generation and this CNN/Money story provides a view of things from recent graduates.

Interestingly, I have some first hand experience with this issue recently where a surprising number of ski instructors I’ve worked with over the winter are 20-something recent graduates who, you’d think, should be doing something different at this time.

A common refrain is that the four-year degree is the new high-school diploma and they all dread the student loan bills coming due.

Here’s the chart from about half-way through a highly entertaining Ted talk (due in part to a Tennessee twang) given by hedge fund billionaire Paul Tudor Jones depicting where the U.S. stands on a measure of inequality via-a-vis social ills (go here for the entire clip).

It’s not clear how that left scale is calculated, by my guess is that the American obesity epidemic is what puts this nation off the chart.

Of course, the headlines that were generated from this talk had to do with how situations like those depicted in the chart are resolved and I’ve obliged in the title above.

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