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May 11, 2011

Just a pinch of DOOM!; too much will spoil the soup.


Slublog sends this story: Annuities come up short. As I told Slu: I think annuities suck even when interest rates are up. They are almost never a good idea.

Andy sends news that the Irish government, desperate for cash, is planning to levy a tax on pensions. I use the word "planning" because I seriously doubt the measure will be implemented -- the good Irish citizenry, used to decades of cradle-to-grave State welfare, will not stand for it. (Particularly when Ireland will not increase their low corporate tax-rate, in order to keep businesses from fleeing the Emerald Isle completely.)

PIMCO's Bill Gross: the world's greatest bond vigilante. When kids have nightmares, they dream of the boogeyman. When Teh Bernank has nightmares, he dreams of Bill Gross.

In case you forgot, that European sovereign debt crisis is still...well, a crisis. However bad our fiscal situation is here (and it's pretty damned bad), it's worse over there.

My theory has long been that QE2 mainly served as a way to export our inflation to China, and it seems to have worked a treat. (This is because the Yuan is pegged to the USD. Apparently the Chinese fear even worse inflation if they let the Yuan float.)

Via Insta--er, Ann Althouse guesting as Instapundit: more often than not, grad school is a lousy investment. If you're in a STEM field with good employment prospects it might make sense, but otherwise...nope.

The UK as an example of how to do "austerity"? I'm not so sure about that. The UK's financial straits are not as dire as those of, say, Spain, but they're far from healthy -- and it's not clear to me how well the Brits are going to manage this austerity program as a political matter. The Brits, like their European bretheren, are going to fight any substantial changes to their enormous welfare-state apparatus.

More on the 21st century version of class warfare: pension tension between the "haves" and the "have-nots". I agree only to the extent that the "have-nots" are pissed because they have to fund the pensions of the "haves" -- I don't think it's a class-warfare issue so much as a basic fairness issue. Uninvolved third parties (i.e., taxpayers) should not be put on the hook for making unsustainable pension promises good. (This goes for both public pensions and for private pensions "guaranteed" by the PBGC.)

Annals of the boned: Vista, CA is cutting back on some luxuries to save money. What luxuries, you ask? Oh, nonessential stuff like streetlights, ambulance service, stuff like that. Nothing major.

[UPDATE 1]: The Greeks protest recent austerity measures in the calm and dignified way they are admired for. (Another link from Kratos in the comments.)

[UPDATE 2]: Via Andy in the sidebar, investor Jim Rogers joins Bill Gross in shorting Uncle Sam. Geithner and Bernanke are not feeling the love here, people!

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posted by Monty at 09:03 AM

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