Friday, April 09, 2010

Quotes of the day

... the highly indebted government doesn’t pay a penalty for its profligacy, as long as growth keeps up and interest rates stay low, Breakingviews says. Greece, led by George Papandreou, and other heavily indebted countries benefited from such a happy environment for years. But the equilibrium is fragile. It can be disturbed in three ways, Breakingviews says: nominal G.D.P. growth can decline, interest rates can go up, or the country can start running a primary deficit. The pain is much worse for highly indebted countries like Greece, which has managed all three at once, the publication notes.--Hugo Dixon

Major banks have masked their risk levels in the past five quarters by temporarily lowering their debt just before reporting it to the public, according to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. A group of 18 banks—which includes Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc.—understated the debt levels used to fund securities trades by lowering them an average of 42% at the end of each of the past five quarterly periods, the data show. The banks, which publicly release debt data each quarter, then boosted the debt levels in the middle of successive quarters.--Kate Kelly, Tom McGinty and Dan Fitzpatrick

Gayborhoods were born in the second-half of the 20th century in relatively run-down, forsaken parts of cities, away from the establishment that could give a damn about man-on-man P.D.A., and side-by-side with others who found themselves similarly sidelined: the poor, drug addicts, ethnic minorities. Sometimes referred to with the euphemism “artists,” gays became the Marines of gentrification, storming and conquering destitute places. Then, unencumbered with the financial burden of Huggie’s, ballet classes and lunch boxes, they dropped cash. Disposable incomes turned vacant factories into lofts and abandoned lots into community gardens. They brought a live-and-let-live attitude, a sense of style, and several places to eat sushi.--Matt Katz

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