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  • What Happened At Chase's Credit-Card Collections Arm? [View article]
    "It was very traumatic,”

    How sad, just like when the Stasi people lost their jobs.
    Jan 12 11:46 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Bank Charge Of The Day, Mortgage-Payment Edition [View article]
    By the 13th payment we really mean a 13th principal payment, not the full P&I + escrow, a more manageable number. Call it P.

    Determine P (from mortgage schedule/coupon, calc it, call the bank; take the highest or average for the year), divide by 12 and add to each monthly payment as additional principal.

    Alternatively, if that was too hard, use the total payment for P.

    The small mental effort, savings and satisfaction of beating the banksters at something will bring a little monthly joy.
    Jan 6 11:32 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Research In Motion: HTC Is A Sign That The Knife Will Keep On Falling [View article]
    The Playbook on fire sale is not a good sign either.
    Nov 27 04:49 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Friday Follies: Greece Job [View article]
    Huntsman is handicapped by being sane
    Nov 5 03:06 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Obama Administration's Biggest Macroeconomic Mistake [View article]
    "One thing it’s important to remember, here, is that the numbers Ezra’s quoting are quarterly figures which are then annualized by raising them to the fourth power."

    You surely mean multiply by four, if raised to the fourth the numbers would be quite strange, although, come to think of it, that could explain a lot.
    Oct 14 07:08 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Unemployment's Here To Stay [View article]
    You have the crux of the matter.

    The economy can provide goods and services with a lot less (and decreasing) workers, who are just not needed and there are no jobs for them.

    Eventually options like reduced workweeks, required retirement age and lowered standards will come up.
    Oct 8 03:20 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Housing Will Rebound Stronger Than Expected [View article]
    ...the realities of urban population growth...

    An increasing share of new housing will be multifamily, which the listed builders don't do, and as light frame wood builders can only go 4-5 stories; for real buildings in urban settings the players are developers and serious contractors.

    Rarely mentioned items are the poor materials (all code approved) and workmanship (all inspector approved) in the boom built houses, they will deteriorate faster requiring more maintenance and at some point, combined with the 1 hr commute and $5+ gas, become balls and chains for the homeowner. Even more than now.
    Aug 22 10:47 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 8 Companies to Consider That Are Reporting Earnings on Friday, Part II [View article]
    In considering LPX one should know that it's a consumer of lumber (sold its forests long ago) that it processes into commodity wood products. It plows through the construction cycle with nail producers and the rest of the industry, except for luxe offices and named stadium.

    With ballpark numbers, we have a snapshot
    1. $50M paid in price fixing settlement
    2. $120M stuck in auction rate securities
    3. $260M OSB plant (Clarke Co., AL) closed for lack of demand. OSB is a plywood substitute in price, not quality.
    4. $150M strand lumber (Houlton, ME) operating at last official report at 14% of capacity. If the competition dies and we get 3M yearly starts it will be cooking
    5. China card: LP buys raw lumber, processes and ships it as wood products to China, a country known for its lack of manpower, resources and manufacturing capacity, slow learning and love of leaving money on the table
    6. Japan card. Never mind, those grapes were sour anyway
    7. PHM is its largest customer
    8. $10M/yr, football field naming expense

    Hardly Alfred P. Sloan territory, but definitely worth considering if you detect the greatest housing boom in history ahead.

    The quarterly call and its transcript are priceless, must be the analysts' primer to phone massage.
    Jul 28 06:34 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Iceland's Higher Growth and Lower Unemployment: A Model for Greece [View article]
    Argentina also defaulted after much grief and much hoop jumping, they seem to be doing fine.
    Jun 21 12:23 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Remember when the White House promised to roll back regulatory burdens on the private sector? Facts speak louder than words: Since March 2010, federal regulatory agency employment has jumped more than 5%, while private jobs have grown just 1.5%. Maybe all the regulatory hires are for folks to cut red tape?  [View news story]
    This piece compares apples to fossil kumquats, but then check the source.

    Take a similar dumb example, a young man's age increased last year by 5%, his grandpa's only 1.5%; at this rate, what, the kid is going to pass him in X years and we'll be wearing Mao suits? Meaningless.

    A smaller organization can grow easily faster % wise than a larger one. Say Bob's Tires, if Bob hires a helper he'll grow 100%, wow, watch out Buffet.

    Innumeracy and fanaticism, bad mix.
    Jun 10 11:00 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The Implications of a Downgraded U.S. [View article]
    mathematically: [none, very few)

    People are each running an optimization routine to maximize their own well-being, not even their families', and forget the country's. Individualism, hedonism and greed, run amok.
    Apr 19 11:40 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Homeowners in Denial [View article]
    Agree that most underwater people do not walk for any number of reasons or rationalizations.

    On the non-recourse state, people would walk as late as possible (easily saving a year's payments), maybe get a lawyer to play ping-pong w the bank for extra time, then file bk and pay cash for years.

    Of course a terribly traumatic and damaging experience, but after a while they'll sleep fine.
    Apr 13 11:30 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Home Prices: When Will They Recover? [View article]
    At some point, given enough inflation; Surely with Big Macs @ $20, median income @ $200k, but hopefully at some time before then.

    Although the tulips never did come back.
    Jan 27 12:09 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Urgency of Bringing Down Unemployment [View article]
    Even better, cut it down to two weeks and watch unemployment disappear!

    Each unemployed person will go from $250 a week luxury to $251k a year Obama taxed penury with a little effort.
    Dec 4 12:04 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The Real Reason We Don't Have Jobs in the U.S.? China [View article]
    The other side of the coin is that when the $10 (?) shirt is made in the USA it will be a $30 shirt, and the people who are now treading water drown.

    What if we realize that with cheap foreign labor and machinery more than enough goods can be produced, and there are many people/employees that are not "needed," except as a consuming mass (with income TBD)?
    Dec 3 04:12 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment