Audit Notes: Bloomberg Day

It’s all-Bloomberg, all-day here on Audit Notes™

—Nobody can manipulate the data ocean in a Bloomberg machine like Bloomberg News, and on that score, I like this piece, which adds up all the cash on corporate balance sheets and finds:

A majority of companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index increased cash to a combined $1.19 trillion while simultaneously reducing spending, keeping a jobs recovery on hold.

I also enjoy the headline, which tries to squeeze drama out of a basically dry story:

Jobless Suffer With Corporate Cash Climbing to $1.19 Trillion

”Jobless suffer.” “Corporate cash.” Charles Dickens must be on the desk over there.

—Bloomberg’s Jon Weil wonders what in the name of Dick Fuld you have to do to get into legal jeopardy on Wall Street:

It is so widely accepted that Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.’s balance sheet was bogus that even former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson can say it in his new memoir. And still, the government hasn’t found anyone who did anything wrong at the failed investment bank.

Good point. And here’s another:

There’s been much talk the past two years about moral hazard, which is the risk that companies and their investors will behave more recklessly when they believe the government will bail them out. Less has been made of a similar hazard: The danger that powerful companies won’t follow the law when their executives believe the government won’t hold them to it.

The latter risk threatens not only our economy, but our democracy. There’s every reason to believe both kinds are growing.

—You say, “Bloomberg!” I say “Bonds!” The wire does the best job by far of tracking the bond markets, which, as we argue, are overly opaque and undercovered.

This one uses bonds to track investor concern over Greek’s debt problems.

And, oh yeah, we got the video.

—Finally, Gawker digs up this memo, then mocks it, but actually this Bloomberg development is all positive. The memo quotes Projects & Investigations editor Amanda Bennett announcing new incentives for the staff to do “high-impact, exclusive longer-term efforts.”

Bloomberg employs more than 2,000 journalists. This cannot be bad. (h/t Chris Roush)

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Dean Starkman Dean Starkman runs The Audit, CJR's business section, and is the author of The Watchdog That Didn't Bark: The Financial Crisis and the Disappearance of Investigative Journalism (Columbia University Press, January 2014). Follow Dean on Twitter: @deanstarkman.