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  • Late Payments on Credit Cards Reach Record Levels [View article]
    I want to chip in my two cents here. I believe the banks offering credit cards are creating some of the default rate themselves. I have stellar credit. Never late and a high FICO score. Recently, Chase took the step to charge me a monthly fee for just having an open account with them. I've never paid such fees. They also tripled my minimum payment. I called them and they whined that they were losing money on my account. I had a 3.99% promotional rate good for as long as the balance was outstanding and I wasn't making additional purchases that they could tag me with a higher rate. They told me they would go back to the old terms if I agreed to double the interest rate I paid. I've had cards for years and never had a company pull this crap on me. Nevertheless, I refused. Clearly, JPM Chase isn't in as great of shape as everyone seems to believe.
    Feb 7 03:34 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Does Obama's Stimulus Plan Pass the 'Prudent Person' Test? [View article]
    When investing in the market we all know buy low, sell high. But of course, all too often due to fear and greed we do the exact opposite siding with our emotion over cold hard analysis. I'm afraid the government is now buying high on margin and after going down this road will find it politically difficult to do anything contrary to buying still more high when we don't get the desired result. This bill will not provide stimulus to the economy. It will bring happiness to a number of unions and politically connected supporters, and then we get the tab.
    Feb 6 11:48 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Stimulus Watch: How the Devil Are They Going to Finance All of It? [View article]
    Let's just fund it with 100 year zero coupon treasuries. For that matter, lets make that 100 trillion worth, send us all one three hundredths of the pie and call it a day. Let our not yet born offspring deal with the fallout of the banana republic we create.
    Seriously though, the idea of bailing ourselves out with more of the same is stupidity at its best and insanity at its worse.....or is that insanity at its best and stupidity at its worse?
    Feb 6 11:31 AM | 12 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Markopolos vs. the SEC [View article]
    My take on his evidence was simply that no one can produce those kinds of gains over all periods. I agree that is true, but that isn't what an attorney would call evidence. Since the SEC is full of attorneys, nothing gets done. Of course, the problem is a lack of investigators who understand the industry. When we look at the criminal justice system we have the police who investigate and the district attorney who builds the case based on the investigation. Here we have no one with the experience to investigate. Clearly, we need to build a new branch industry seasoned investigators.
    Feb 5 08:50 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Bill Mandating 25% of U.S. Energy from Renewables by 2025 Introduced in House [View article]
    So, what the Union of Concerned Scientists is really saying is that these bills will fail to deliver. Renewable energy would have to already be over 10% of our current use in order for a 135% increase to equate to 25% of our energy use. I also find the silly and unsupportable numbers $180 billion in savings total crap. The increase cost for utilities that emit carbon will certainly be passed on to the consumer who has no choice but to pay. The 15% cut in conservation even if achievable will only be accomplished through higher costs to the consumer. I certainly don't have a problem in raising the cost of incremental electricity for those that are determined to occupy and live in a 20,000 square foot home, (Do you hear that Hollywood & chief alarmist Al Gore?), but if whatever new carbon tax is applied is offset by low energy users or job producing businesses, I am vehemently opposed.
    Feb 5 06:16 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Real Cost of Economic Stimulus [View article]
    Unfortunately, the "young hispanic immigrants" you speak of aren't crowding our higher education institutions and thus will likely remain worker bees who will find it increasingly difficult to continue working in a country without a new generation of entrepreneurs and innovators whose ideas will create and draw capital and thus support their worker bee employment. Worker bee employees lives off the 'fat of the land'. The 'fat of the land' in America is best summed up as entrepreneurship and innovation. We would be best served as a nation if we opened more wide our doors to those that will contribute rather than milk the system.

    On Feb 04 05:27 PM Tetrapod wrote:

    > I say thank goodness for immigrants. Young hispanic immigrants are
    > going to bail us out during retirement. Japan doesn't have that
    > as their society has never dealt with massive immigration. So when
    > we see immigrants taking over major sections of the country, we should
    > be warmly welcoming our future benefactors.
    Feb 5 01:44 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • End of the Recession in 2009? [View article]
    I'm lovin' all this negativity. Keep it up. I'm looking forward to this bear market ending in a few months.
    Feb 5 01:26 PM | 10 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why a Carbon Tax Would Lower Living Standards [View article]
    If the Earth temperatures were to rise in the next century, it would save more lives than take lives. Why? First, the greenhouse effect that has been adopted as science brings more rainfall onto the Earth. Rainfall is the easiest way to desalinate the world's oceans creating fresh water. For those that fear higher ocean levels wake up! Only Al Gore talks about a 90 meter rise, while scientists that back the global warming theory all roll their eyes. The consensus is anywhere from inches to a couple of feet over a hundred years. This is plenty of time to build levys and dams as is needed. Last of all, worldwide far, far more people die from the cold then from the heat. That's a fact! So, what we have here is climatic change that we should encourage.
    Feb 5 01:09 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Protectionism, Fear and Backwards Logic [View article]
    Don't even begin to believe that the protectionist ideology won't again rear its ugly head. We have a pro-pro-pro labor administration, Senate, and Congress. Labor has sent up more protectionism sentiment than any other corner of the economy bar none. The Congress has already resisted free trade agreements that didn't pass the labor party smell test. Columbia and South Korea free trade agreements were shot down with reasons of not enough labor protection in those two countries. So now we're telling other countries what is a livable wage in their own countries and how they should have our own labor laws enforced in those countries. Congress doesn't care if unemployment is above 15% in Columbia, nor that their government has fought a long war against terrorism and Narcotics trafficking for years. For a Congress that prides themselves on compassion, its clear protectionist ideology trumps all.
    Feb 5 12:53 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • California Delays $4 Billion in Payments: Other States to Follow? [View article]
    I will be looking for the State of Caliornia to pay me fines and interest for their inept handling of state finances. I paid an underpayment penalty for 2007, I expect they will be paying me an underpayment penalty for 2008. Fair's fair.
    Feb 3 11:40 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • How to Fix America's Housing [View article]
    One thing that must be addressed is the vindictive damage done to homes. Most of these delinquent and soon-to-be apartment dwellers are hopeful of becoming homeowners again. We need to engage in a more active enforcement of property damage laws by tieing an unacceptable level of damage to their credit rating along with their foreclosure. We know the foreclosure will be history in 7 or 8 years, but property damage must ride their credit report for as long as it takes to reimburse the forecloser for expenses in repairing the property. It has to be obvious damage and not normal wear and tear or inattention to upkeep. If this type of policy would become law and is made clear to the homeowning public, foreclosurers wouldn't be subject to this type of extortion and/or vindictiveness.
    Feb 3 11:34 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Obama Stimulus Plan: Why I'm Concerned [View article]
    I'm sure the thinking is fast and big will halt the collateral damage to the economy, and that speed will offset the lack of quality in the bill.
    However, I have a different take on things. I look back on comments from Raul Emanuel who looked upon this financial disaster as a opportunity. Not an opportunity to save the economy, but an opportunity to pass all kinds of programs that Democrats feel they've been denied over the years. I also look upon the words of Barack Obama who has continued to speak of a recovery taking years and not months. He wants to prepare us for either what he expects or what he would like to see happen. I believe this is evidence that a paradigm shift in our economic model is being pursued by this administration. Obama knows the American people aren't going to blame him for the depth of this recession. He also knows that their are plenty of programs that can be started that are impossible to reverse later. Witness the hijacking of our previous hybrid capitalist/socialist model to a primary socialist/capitalist model. In time, their will be greater and greater emphasis on purely socialist as we fail to compete in world markets. This is what has happened in most socialist economies in this world. It will lead to a bigger nanny state, declining foreign trade, and a declining standard of living.
    My point is the speed and size don't really make any difference to the economy. They aren't about recovery, but making an appearance of working for recovery under the guise of instituting a broader socialist order.
    Feb 2 09:30 AM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Economic Stimulus Package: Too Much Pork, Too Little Stimulus [View article]
    I find it disappointing that this package is being marketed as stimulus. Most all of the infrastructure will be doled out in later years. This 'shovel ready' term is being used very loosely. It has been estimated that if this could actually create the 4 million new jobs that Obama promises it will, we will be paying $279,000 per job. What's wrong with this picture? This is primarily a democrat grab bag of goodies.
    I now believe they are a lot more clever than I was giving them credit for. The plan isn't to lead to a recovery but to make some type of appearance while paying off those that have brought the democrats to power. If the recovery doesn't happen, blame it on capitalism and the Republicans. That's straight out of the Caesar Nero corruption in government handbook. It is also the wave that led FDR to 4 terms in office, regardless of the double digit unemployment he held onto with his failed policies. If the economy is in ruins, there is a greater tendency for many more people to opt out of capitalism and embrace socialist policies. This is the plan.
    Jan 30 02:04 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Mexican Economy: Does What Happens in Mexico, Stay in Mexico? [View article]
    I fully support what the Mexican President has been doing. The only reason that it is so violent now is due to the ineffective government leadership over the last....well forever. They have only made a token effort in combatting this cancer that has taken a hold of the country. Drug smuggling and all that goes with it has become institutionalized in Mexico. It takes an incredibly courageous leader to take on these murderous thugs head on. He has the support of the people for now, but they too will grow weary. If this fight fails, everyone opposing the building of a border fence will become pariahs in the U.S.
    Jan 28 10:05 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Eight Mistakes That Caused the Financial Crisis [View article]
    I used to think Alan Blinder was a smart guy, now I wonder if his middle name might be 'is'. How could he ignore the moral hazard we built into our mortgage system? You can't liberalize GSE rules for holding sub-prime crap, then block oversight through a totally corrupt congressional banking committee and expect everything will be fine. As for Barney Frank---he's one of the instigators of this whole failed infrastructure. He sure didn't sound any alarms back in 2004 when he blocked any attempt at oversight of the GSEs. Add to that the SEC allowing banks to leverage up like they were European banks, ridiculously low interest rates, an unquenchable European demand for American financial derivatives, a legislative and Executive branch that were gungho on the ever increasing percent of families owning homes, the invention of the credit default swap which was initially meant as insurance against a risk portfolio, loan originators that attempted to capitalize on the moral hazard embedded in the loan securitization market, credit agencies that admittedly would insure a securitized cow with a AAA rating and a hot real estate market and you pretty much deserve what that might bring you.
    Jan 28 05:51 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment