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November 05, 2010

Financial Briefing: Use Tucks(tm) medicated pads to ease the burn.

Generational warfare is all but a certainty at this point as the lie that is Social Security festers and grows unchecked. All I can say is: reality will assert itself, sooner or later. Don't get caught short -- save enough of your own money to fund your own retirement, because Uncle Sugar is going to screw you just as surely as the sunrise. Pull quote:
There will be pain. The system will gore a lot of oxen. The obvious victims will be the oldsters who have become dependent on Federal handouts. They are a powerful swing vote today, but they are in the minority. When the majority of working citizens finally perceive that it is an inescapable choice between handouts to oldsters vs. their families' solvency, they are going to vote away the oldsters' handouts.
Social Security only survives at the suffrance of the taxpayers who fund it. Pay particular attention to the part where it's explained in terrifyingly clear detail that it doesn't matter how much you paid in: you were paying a tax, not a contribution to a savings account. Uncle Sam can legally stiff you at any time.

Well, whatever else you can say about it...QE2 sure put a charge of rocksalt into the stock market's ass. I'm happy because my 401(k) has more dollars in it; I'm sad because those dollars are worth a lot less than they were earlier in the week. Still, looked it with the long view, this might mean I can afford to eat Fancy Feast rather than Friskies in my geezerhood. That's a good thing. That hard catfood will play hell with my dentures.

No, Milton Friedman would not have approved of QE's 1 or 2. In fact I think he would have shat upon them from a great height. (David Beckworth disagrees, however.) It's too bad Milton isn't here to give his own opinion. We really need someone like him now. He wasn't always right, but he had a very clear head and his heart was always, always in the right place.

Here's the punchline: "Sorry space traveler, nice try. It’s a long story, but your mistake was listening to your common sense." Read this to get the joke. (Except I usually don't feel like crying when I hear a joke.)

President Obama: You know, maybe we should go ahead and extend those Bush tax cuts for everybody. Funny how getting ruinated in an election can open your mind to new possibilities. The opening step in a move to the center or is Obama simply folding a bad hand?

That Irish austerity program just went from "painful" to "Oh my God I think I just barfed up a lung". The problem in Ireland, as in Greece, is that you somehow have to convince your own citizens to accept dire reductions in their own quality-of-life to make sure that (mostly foreign) bondholders don't have to take a haircut. I suspect that this strategy will fail, and end in default. Which, really, is probably the best course of action for the PIIGS -- get off the Euro, go back to the old national currencies, and devalue. Yes, they will be shut out of the credit markets for a while, but not for all that long in relative terms. And the alternative -- extreme civil unrest -- is worse.

Helicopter Ben: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell!

All good things flow into the City. As long as you work for the City, anyway.

The great thing about Tim Geithner is his humility. When he knows he's in over his head, he goes to the experts for advice.

There are large advantages to having the world's de facto reserve currency, and we court disaster if we throw that advantage away.

Who'd buy a bond with a negative yield? People whose risk-aversion is so extreme and yet so ill-focused that they cannot see the myriad of better hedging strategies out there.

The top-secret US plan to turn the Chinese people into addicts! Caffeine addicts. They will buy billions of yuan worth of coffee that tastes like it was filtered through a Yeti's testicle-hair. Why? Because it's trendy, and like any good drug dealer, we offer the first couple of hits cheap. We will then use this river of addict-money to pay off the bonds they've been buying from us all these years. It's...diabolically clever!

While gold is hogging the spotlight, silver has been doing quite nicely of late. I can't afford to buy gold in quantity any more, but silver is still a good alternative. I bought quite a bit of silver at $18 and worried that I was buying at peak; I needn't have worried. As I write this, silver is trading around $25/oz. Booyah! Thanks, Helicopter Ben!

California missed the offramp to "Prosperity" and chose to continue on to "Doom" at full speed.


My favorite bluegrass song of all time sung by my favorite bluegrass singer. I want these words chiseled on my gravestone: I AM A FREEBORN MAN.

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posted by Monty at 07:44 AM

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