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October 13, 2011

DOOM: New car, caviar, four star daydream

DOOOOM

The job market ain't what it used to be. But why does that surprise anyone? Nothing is what it used to be. Pining for former times is a waste of time. I make the most of the life I have in the age I live in.

There’s a metaphor here somewhere...I just know there is...

Darrell Issa to Eric Holder: BAM!

Student-loan debt forgiveness: the second-worst idea EVAR!! (The first-worst idea? Loaning all that money to penniless college students in the first place.)

Default: written in the starlight, and every line on our palms.

I’ve been saying for a long time that the real hurt is going to come when municipalities start going broke, because the cuts in public spending that will be required at that level will really hit us where we live (literally): snow removal, street repairs, sewer and water, and street lights. Meredith Whitney may yet be proven correct.

Los Angeles is a case in point about why rate-of-return estimations are so prone to manipulations. A realistic rate-of-return adjustment could bankrupt a city instantly.

One of the reasons the Eurozone's EFSF won’t work is because many of the guarantors of that fund -- like Italy -- are themselves nearly broke and would not be able to fulfill their pledges.

I plan to supplement my pension and savings by living off the abundant herds of hobos and drifters that will run free in the trainyards and highway underpasses of this great land. I plan to take on apprentices as I age; they can handle the more fleet-of-foot hobos as I will probably lose a step or two in my dotage. (But I will learn to be crafty -- sniping from afar, traps and poisons rather than knifing and bludgeoning.)

Some rare good news in the midst of all this DOOM: the DOW gains back most of the ground it has lost in 2011 so far. Let’s see if equities can end the year on an up note. My retirement funds are begging for mercy, so any good news in this area is more than welcome. (This feels like a sucker's rally to me, though, because nothing on the ground has really improved much.)

Romney on China’s currency manipulation. Since the GOP and Donks both seem to be bound and determined to repeat the mistakes of Smoot-Hawley and start a trade war with China, let me put this out there for future gloating: this is a bad idea and we will bitterly regret going down this road. I’m not defending the Chinese, who are indeed currency manipulators, but it takes two to tango and the US is as much (if not more) at fault for this situation as the Chinese. And I don’t think our politicians have given sufficient thought to the repurcussions of a new “tariffs and trade act” -- but when do politicians ever worry about future repurcussions of the stuff they do?

Most societies can produce colossal retards* for nearly nothing. Our society has to “educate” kids for eighteen years and at a cost of a quarter-million dollars or more to produce the same level of inanity, bullet-headed ignorance, and sublime lack of self-awareness. (*“Retard” should be pronounced re-TARD, in the Continental fashion.)

Entitlement reform and the voting public: it’s all in how you phrase the questions. (I have pointed out ad nauseam that you don't "pay into" entitlement programs like SS as if they are savings plans -- it's a tax, nothing more -- but I'm tired of beating that dead horse.)

Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi: Those protesters aren’t stupid! They’re crazy like a fox! It only looks like aimless stupidity from the outside; these hippies are actually brilliant tacticians! So I guess when that barbarian pooped on the squad car, that was some invidiously subtle point about something or other? Yeah, I dun' theenk so, Lucy.

Forget it, Jake. It’s Chicago.

Signposts on the way to DOOM. When even the Amish start rolling dirty, you’ve got problems.

The Europeans come up with another bunch of hand-waving that won’t really solve any problems but will make everyone feel better for a while.

A house divided against itself cannot stand. Still, I think that this call for “unity” among Europe’s nations obscures the basic point that “Europe” is not a nation -- never has been, probably never will be. Many of the countries in Europe aren’t all that anxious to lose their sovereignty, regardless of the wishes of the bureaucrats in Brussels. Maybe this “house” shouldn’t stand -- the Euro project was a bad idea from the very start.

Speaking of which...Ambrose Evans Pritchard explains just how crazy the “save the Euro” project has become.

I do not dispense financial advice, but I’ll tell you this: I have no intention of holding government debt in my personal portfolio. Not now, and not for a long time to come. Bonds are a crummy investment choice these days; you’re basically paying for the privilege of holding zero-return instruments because they’re “safe”. You might as well bury your money in a coffee can in the back yard. And given how dire the financial situation is in municipalities, states, and the federal government, that “safety” argument rings pretty hollow too.

Kevin Drum lays on the stupid so fast and so thick that he almost causes a space-time rift. I love it when liberals who know almost nothing about economics fire up the chart-fu. “Look! The line is going up, you wingnuts! UP! Up is good!” If you torture numbers enough, you can make them confess to anything, Mr. Drum. One day very soon, your “myths” are going to rise up and bite you right in the ass. But do continue to live in Fantasyland with the rest of your cohort. The look on your stupid sheep’s face when it all falls down will be a slight repayment for decades of grinding austerity and the loss of national prestige that your stupid ideology has caused.

RIM’s days as the darling of the public and financial sectors may be numbered. Blackberry outage puts the hurt on Wall Street and D.C. wonks. iPhone and Android owners point fingers and give a Nelson Muntz-like HA! HA!

Teh Krugman tends to ignore evidence that contradicts his Keynesian worldview.

YARD SALE!

Falling port traffic: a bad omen for the holiday season? (This is strange, because the Baltic Dry Index -- generally a pretty good indicator of how international trade is going -- has been trending up over the past few months.)

California, that bastion of tolerance and open-mindedness, still doing its utmost to retain the best and brightest minds.


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Not many people realize that cats are actually solar-powered.


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posted by Monty at 09:15 AM

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