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  • House Republicans say they will bring a "clean" debt ceiling bill to the House floor next week. By getting the chance to vote against it now, apparently it will make it easier for some members to vote for a debt ceiling increase later this summer. “Right now this is all theater,” Geithner says of next week's meaningless vote (also).  [View news story]
    Bad move, Geithner.

    If people keep calling this vote theater, then it won't achieve it's purpose of allowing folks to approve the real bill later.

    We'll have to have another more convincing theater vote before we can have the real one.
    May 25, 2011. 06:01 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • How Far Will Home Prices Fall? [View article]
    Real estate has two values:

    1) as a way to avoid paying rent
    2) as a way to show off wealth

    The price of the low end of the market is determined by the first. The price of the high of the market is determined by the second.

    The low end in many markets probably has bottomed because it is cheaper to buy than to rent. Or it is profitable to buy a place and rent it out. This is most of the non-coastal market. Until rates go up, low end prices are probably pretty stable.

    The high end is much more sensitive to sentiment because expensive houses are currently a less impressive way of showing off wealth. People tend to laugh at large houses instead of envy them. This, plus the disappearance of the step-up buyer, plus the increasing financing hurdles means the high end still has a ways to go. This is most of the coastal city story - and sentiment could drive these prices to significantly overshoot.
    May 19, 2011. 01:03 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Q1's most profitable strategy? Shorting Chinese reverse-merger frauds. In its Q1 report, Kerrisdale Capital, a China fraud hunter, boasted returns of 89.1% - and is up a mind-blowing 406% since its inception in July 2009.  [View news story]
    maybe some markets can police themselves.
    May 17, 2011. 01:41 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Eurogroup head Jean-Claude Juncker "totally denies" any meeting to discuss Greece on Friday evening. The euro hitting new lows at $1.4425. Earlier.  [View news story]
    "legal barriers" is BS. International law is a myth.

    Without the ability to create an army and occupy Greece, the EU is about as powerful as the US under the articles of confederation.

    Greece's least painful option is probably to leave the EU.

    Germany's least painful option is probably to pay Greece to stay.

    But paying them to stay will encourage the other PIGS to act up and will be unpopular at home.

    Where's my popcorn?
    May 6, 2011. 12:43 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Der Spiegel is reporting that Greece is considering withdrawing from the eurozone and reintroducing its own currency. The paper says EU finance ministers are holding an emergency meeting in Luxembourg. Euro off a bit to $1.4476.  [View news story]
    Time to buy dollars.

    Whether it happens or not, the rumor is gonna scare some people.
    May 6, 2011. 12:07 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The Obama administration is considering a plan to tax drivers on the amount of miles they drive. The tax could be enforced by installing equipment in vehicles to track usage, and payments could be made at service stations.  [View news story]
    This is a joke, right?

    Most use-based highway maintenance problems are caused by the freight vehicles - which are mostly only on the road because the rail system is so useless.

    Feel free to track and tax them. They are already tracked, so adding a tax should be pretty straightforward.

    Tracking and taxing Joe public will never happen. It is silly to even talk about it, much less throw away $200M studying it.
    May 5, 2011. 05:46 PM | 10 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Intel's (INTC) commitment to using the 3-D approach in high-volume chip production could help it match performance advantages of rivals that have largely kept Intel's chips out of the smartphone market. But Moore’s Law may work with chips and not with consumers - the presence of revolutionary semiconductors may not matter to users of PCs and smartphones that are already powerful.  [View news story]
    People have been questioning whether there will be demand for higher performance for almost as long as there has been a Moore's law.
    May 5, 2011. 10:18 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • President Obama orders Attorney General Holder to create a team to root out fraud and manipulation in oil markets, with a focus on market traders and speculators. Plus ça change ...  [View news story]
    How far is the Fed Reserve Bank building from the Attorney General's Office?

    They might have to take a cab to catch the responsible party if it is too far to walk.
    Apr 21, 2011. 03:16 PM | 8 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple iBank? Google Bank? Both companies are pouring resources into what they believe could be the next big mobile revolution - NFC devices replacing your credit card. Whoever "nails this technology on the head" could evolve into a major bank, says Adrian Thomas.  [View news story]
    Google will win. They'll transfer payments for free and use the customer information to sell better targeted ads.

    Plus, they're more platform friendly.
    Apr 13, 2011. 04:30 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Robert Fishman says Portugal's need for a bailout is the result of attack by speculators and credit rating agencies who have succeeded in bringing down the existing government and shackling the next one. These market forces are growing so powerful as to threaten the sovereignty of any government, even the U.S.  [View news story]
    If you don't run deficits for decades first, the debt collectors won't break your thumbs to get you to pay up.
    Apr 13, 2011. 04:02 PM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • "You’re a public utility, for crying out loud," says outgoing Kansas City Fed President Hoenig, arguing the large U.S. bank bailouts effectively make them GSEs. Speaking later, Bank of America chief Moynihan dismisses the suggestion, saying customers like having commercial and investment banking under one roof.  [View news story]
    I like managing my 401k through the same bank website I use for my checking account. That doesn't mean I think my bank should be one of the other gamblers at the table.
    Apr 12, 2011. 03:58 PM | 8 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Lame speeches about reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil have become a Presidential tradition going back to Nixon, yet 40 years and one Energy Department later, the country is as reliant as ever on overseas supplies. The only way to really cut imports is a recession, and no President can call for that.  [View news story]
    WindFuels claims they can convert $16/MWh electricity into $80/barrel synthetic oil.

    The existing fleet of US nuclear power plants produces electricity for $20/MWh.
    Apr 6, 2011. 06:00 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • With the BOJ printing, global supply lines compromised, and greater reliance on fossil fuels, the Japanese quake will stoke global inflation pressures, says Andy Xie. Longer term, it could mean the demise of nuclear power as even its supporters question it in light of its dangers.  [View news story]
    A 50 year old nuclear reactor in an unplanned catastrophic failure mode still has a smaller public health impact than a properly functioning modern coal plant.
    Mar 31, 2011. 03:18 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • More people 55 and up are staying in the labor force, and participation rates for older workers are the only ones rising in recent years. But while the CBO provides a laundry list of reasons - improved health, fewer jobs requiring physical strength, etc. - it ignores the most important: They can't afford to retire. For Barry Ritholtz, it's proof of the "tremendous disconnect" between Main Street and D.C.  [View news story]
    Maybe because the analysis is done by government workers who don't have to worry about retirement. Even if their 401k goes to zero, they still have a fully funded retirement.
    Mar 24, 2011. 05:40 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Years of dithering over what to do with spent fuel rods comes back to haunt Japan, but exactly how do you come up with a long term disposal policy when the 1/2 life of these elements runs in the tens of thousands of years?  [View news story]
    Pay China to put them in the desert where they store their rods.

    Or tell the NIMBY folks in our desert to accept that national interests outrank local ones.

    Or get the thorium fleet going. They can use spent rods as fuel.
    Mar 18, 2011. 04:44 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment