Thursday Links: Dow 7,714, Student Loan Bailout, Lobbyists

David Weidner has a good take on Dow 10,000 (Part XXVI), emphasizing it represents a “lost decade of stock investing.” He points out that, counting inflation, you’d need a 72 percent jump in the broader S&P 500 index to get to even with the end of 1999 (that doesn’t include dividends, though, which if you’d reinvested would bring you much closer to getting your money back, if still in the hole). By my calculation, Dow 10,000 itself is really Dow 7,714—in real dollars.

The L.A. Times’s David Lazarus asks a good question: If we’re going to bail out banks for their stupidity, why not bail out student debtors for doing what we’ve told them they need to do to get ahead? Specifically, why is someone paying 8.5 percent a year on a student loan, which is essentially secured by your life (you can’t get out of those things, even with bankruptcy), when you can get a home loan secured by a possibly-depreciating asset for less than 5 percent a year?

The New York Times’s Stephen Labaton looks at the lobbyist crush in Washington to fight business reforms, noting the irony in Obama’s anti-lobbyist stance and the flurry of lobbying his policies have caused “as the White House has awakened the alphabet soup of federal agencies from their deregulatory slumber of the previous eight years.” The Times reports that the financial industry has spent $220 million on lobbying this year and contributed $77 million to members of the House Financial Services Committee this decade.

The Financial Times’s John Gapper has an interesting take on Goldman Sachs (one of the Audit’s funders). “Not only is it reasonable to suspect that Goldman, which has entwined itself with governments around the world by sending partners out into “public service” when they leave, would not be allowed to fail by its alumnae network, but the bail-out was prima facie evidence.

Thus, at the heart of the financial system, now sits a professionals-only, high-risk Wall Street firm with its own private equity and hedge funds arrayed on top of a nonpareil corporate and government client list, which taxpayers reasonably assume is gambling with their money.”

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Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum.