Hot Links: Gold, TARP and Pink Slip Parties

hot-linksHot Links for Weekend Reading

This past Sunday, the most memorable commercial on the Super Bowl was Cash4Gold‘s spot featuring MC Hammer and Ed McMahon.  What made the commercial memorable was not the humor (down-on-their-luck celebs melting their gold for money).  No, the memorable aspect was the very existence of a cash for gold company commercial on the Super Bowl at all.  It seems that buying and melting companies, that guy who stands in the vault with fake security guards with the gold coins and other companies of their ilk have finally come into the mainstream of the American consumers’ consciousness.  This is thanks to the dual tidal waves of the need for a way to monetize jewelry to pay the bills for many of our neighbors and the desire to exploit the bull market in gold by some of our other neighbors.  For Cindy Perman‘s take on the Cash4Gold spot visit her brand new “Pony Blog” on CNBC.

The thoughtful and prolific Barry Ritholtz broke out an interesting proposal for how to spend the remaining TARP money this week, and although he downplays the “brilliance” of the idea itself, there might be something to it.  Basically, he proposes that the Feds send a check for $2000 each to the bottom 80% of taxpaying households (all 175 million of them) with the caveat that the entire $2000 must be spent on debt reduction (student loans, credit cards, mortgages etc.).  Barry admits that it may be hard to track, but the average household in the US is carrying $8000 or so in debt and the money would find it’s way back to the banks in a more productive way that also helps our taxpaying citizens.  Hopefully the officials are looking at creative ideas like this rather than just filling up buckets of cash and dropping them off on Vikram Pandit‘s doorstep.

Lastly, there was another Pink Slip Party in my neck of the woods at the Public House in the East 40’s and over 400 out-of-work Wall Streeters showed up.  Dealbreaker, of course, has the most interesting coverage of the event.  What’s more depressing, being out of work or being at Public House?  Up in the air.