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  • Though comparisons between the present-day U.S. and 1990s Japan are plentiful, Nomura's Paul Sheard sees some major differences. In particular, the U.S. has been much more aggressive in addressing banking sector woes, and the Fed has been far more proactive in using its balance sheet as a deflation-fighting tool.  [View news story]
    And we're already up to our eyeballs in debt and obligations, whereas it took 20 years of silliness in Japan to get to a nearly similarly dire situation.
    Aug 19, 2011. 05:30 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Paul Krugman is frustrated that policy makers are more worried about reducing the debt than reducing unemployment: "The economy desperately needs a short-run fix. When you’re bleeding profusely from an open wound, you want a doctor who binds that wound up, not a doctor who lectures you on the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle as you get older."  [View news story]
    Hoover thought it was a good idea to cut deficits too...

    His approach was taxing rich people, though.
    Aug 12, 2011. 05:52 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • A new law designed to promote efficiency in 100-watt light bulbs (not replace them) looks likely to confuse consumers. For starters, bulbs will be rated by lumens, not watts. Mix in the myriad of CFL, incandescent and halogen options, and you have a consumer headache brewing. Three companies set to profit from the fiasco:  HD +4.5%, LOW +4.4%, GE +2.9%.  [View news story]

    The bulbs will still have to show their wattage. Lighting fixtures have a wattage rating. If the bulb doesn't indicate it's consumption, it could cause a fire.

    For reference, switching every bulb in your house to CFLs will save almost enough energy to fill your gas tank once a year.
    Aug 11, 2011. 02:15 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Joe Gagnon's "plan of action on jobs" for the Fed would include an additional $2T of asset purchases to push down bond yields, mortgage rates and the dollar, and to boost stock prices. The action would help households "deleverage their balance sheets and encourage consumption, investment, and exports. Businesses would need to hire more workers..." But didn't we just try that?  [View news story]
    Mortgage rates barely matter now.

    Mortgage insurance is .1% of the loan balance per month. On a $200k loan, you're paying $200/mo to ensure the loan against you defaulting.

    Meanwhile, pushing the mortgage rate from 4.25% to 3.25% would only save $110/mo on the same loan.

    If the goal is to reduce borrowing costs, mortgage insurance is the place to start.
    Aug 9, 2011. 01:57 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The real reason stocks are falling, writes Shawn Tully - they are (were) moderately overpriced for a calm, healthy economy, but provide little margin of safety for turbulence and slowing growth. The combination of slightly inflated prices and a scary world is "a bad and perhaps underappreciated combination."  [View news story]

    Watching politicians ineffectually posturing about debt levels and unfunded liabilities is just a real bummer. Depressed people sell stocks.

    QE2 is no longer keeping the pros in the game.

    And we tripped the 200 day moving average, so the hi-freqs dropped out.
    Aug 4, 2011. 03:57 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Borrowing is a good thing, writes Dave Weidner, and the government needs to do more of it. Look what Steve Jobs did with a $150M loan from Microsoft a few years back. A nice thought, but a reminder of those "Trump for President" articles in the mid-80s, shortly before his empire collapsed (not to suggest AAPL is going anywhere).  [View news story]
    all we have to do is rebrand the police as a luxury service and let people sign up for a monthly service. maybe sell a "look the other way" app.

    it is exactly like subdizing expensive electronics through abusive contract terms and app sales policies.
    Aug 2, 2011. 05:03 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • New U.S. fuel standards unveiled today would require automaker fleets to average 54.5 mpg by 2025. Pres. Obama says the new rules would lower U.S. oil use by 2.2M barrels/day over the next 15 years, and cut 6B metric tons of carbon pollution. Current standards require automakers to achieve 35.5 mpg by 2016.  [View news story]
    The rule excludes "work trucks."

    Expect every new car sold in 2025 to be a "work truck", just like the PT Cruiser, Caliber, and HHR are all officially trucks for fleet mpg requirements.
    Jul 29, 2011. 01:16 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The U.S. is "becoming a bit of a laughingstock" overseas because of the debt squabbles, Dow Chemical (DOW) CEO Andrew Liveris says, calling it "a massive distraction we didn’t need." That's not the only area where the U.S. is sliding: "My access to R&D talent in China is extraordinary... [The U.S. is] losing our competitiveness on talent generation and IT generation."  [View news story]
    PhD from learning by rote != talent.
    Jul 27, 2011. 05:42 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Every parent with kids attending or preparing to attend college knows this, but here's the graph to prove it: There's a bubble in U.S. college tuition costs, as the rate of increases over the past 30-plus years far exceeds overall consumer prices and even the rise in house prices.  [View news story]
    Take away the loan subsidies for everyone but the poor and this problem will self-resolve in a few years.
    Jul 25, 2011. 05:50 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • More ammo for those believing Netflix's (NFLX) price hike will backfire: reader polls at Business Insider and Geekwire respectively have 41% and 35% of subscribers planning to cancel. Some of this anger may die down; and with Netflix's shares still up 2.7%, the market isn't bothered. But there is clearly a groundswell of frustration with Netflix's move.  [View news story]
    Say 35% of people do actually cancel.

    This will lower costs by about 35%, while the price increase (from $10 to $15/mo) will make revenue (1-.35)*1.5 = 97.5% of current revenue = Netflix wins.

    More importantly, very few people will cancel over a $5/mo increase.
    Jul 13, 2011. 02:03 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Coinstar (CSTR +3.8%) shares surge, as its Redbox DVD kiosks could be big winners from Netflix's (NFLX +2.8%) controversial plan to separate its DVD and streaming subscription deals. Outraged customers could downgrade to Netflix's $7.99/month streaming-only plan and then rent individual DVDs from Redbox kiosks at $1/night, Merriman writes.  [View news story]
    Yeah, lotsa folks are gonna freak out over an extra $5 per month for a convenient service that they've gotten used to, taken the time to set up, which contains a huge depth of selection that only a handful of brick and mortar stores can match. //sarcasm

    This is the country where people pay $100/mo to use an iphone. Netflix could walk their rates up to at least $30/mo before losing customers.
    Jul 13, 2011. 11:20 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Shares of natural gas firms could soar as natural gas starts to emerge as a power source that can meet growing world demand with cleaner emissions than other fuels, Minyanille says. Three plays in the sector: Fuel Systems Solutions (FSYS), Westport Innovations (WPRT), Clean Energy Fuels (CLNE).  [View news story]
    Natural gas has lost its bloom as far as greens are concerned. GHG emissions from fracked gas are greater than coal because of methane leaked to the atmosphere.

    Plus, various states and countries are banning fracking altogether.

    Gas without fracking is expensive. Gas with fracking is no greener than coal.
    Jul 11, 2011. 05:08 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The concept of a "post-PC world" where people no longer need a home computer is flawed. Smart devices, with weak processing power and ergonomic challenges, are designed for content consumption, while PCs are designed for content creation. It's apples vs. oranges.  [View news story]
    That is a good argument for why WORK computers have a future....
    Jun 8, 2011. 12:32 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • China's well-to-do citizens are moving money and/or themselves out of the country at a startling rate. A new study puts at 60% the number who are either considering or completing the emigration process, mostly in violation of Chinese law. This coincides with Treasury picking up a surge in hidden cash transfers since summer 2010.  [View news story]
    Or people just want to move from Beijing to somewhere with more affordable real estate - like NYC.

    Getting US residency via investment only takes about a $1M business investment. It is an unsurprising trend that requires no explanation.
    Jun 6, 2011. 01:52 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • With 10,000 baby boomers turning 65 every day and 26M Americans afflicted with diabetes, Ford (F) sees medical monitoring as the next key to a burst of car sales. Ford has developed a car seat to check the driver’s blood sugar and heart rate, and new features could track breathing patterns for asthmatics or pollen counts for allergy sufferers.  [View news story]
    Because if there is one thing old people love, it is invasive technology that tells them that they're sick.
    May 26, 2011. 04:58 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment