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  • Silly Rabbit, Dividends Do Matter In Retirement [View article]
    Like Berkshire Hathaway?
    Jul 21 10:59 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Dumb Investment Of The Week: Public Non-Traded REITs [View article]
    Yeah- I got into one of these in 2008- 8% return plus potential capital gains. I read the prospectus and recognized the fees imposed, but with real estate going up 20% per year it seemed like a no-lose proposition. what could go wrong?
    Still waiting to reach a "liquidity event" and find out if I will break even.
    Jan 20 09:35 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Fonzie Or Ponzi? One Theory On The Limits To Government Debt [View article]
    No real need to pay it back- The SS debt can be repaid just like the debt owed to China et. al.- by issuing new debt. While in theory we could sacrifice and repay debt, that hasn't happened to any significant degree since before WWII, and it hasn't resulted in a significant problem.
    Oct 23 08:27 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • A New Approach To Deposit Insurance [View article]
    I'm afraid you've missed the essence of deposit insurance. It was created to alleviate the bank panics which were common prior to 1930. The insurance benefits the banking industry by damping runs on banks, particularly those who are innocent bystanders in a financial crisis, but does not protect banks.
    In the US, the Federal Deposit Insurance corp "bails out" only the depositors. If a bank gets into trouble, the FDIC will close it down and sell or liquidate it. The officers and stockholders are not protected. Thus there is no moral hazard except perhaps the fact that an insured bank has an easier time attracting deposits.
    I also don't see much point to offering an opt-out for depositors. They always have the option of a money market fund if they don't need/want an insured account. Right now, my money market account is paying 0.0% and my insured account is paying slightly more than that, so the incentives are reversed for now.
    Aug 26 05:26 PM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why The Shrinking U.S. Deficit Matters To Your Portfolio More Than You Think [View article]
    Nonsense. Military spending is still at least TWICE what is was in 2000. We used to wind down spending as we would down wars, but not now. And the wars have left a legacy of costs for disabled and retired vets which will last for decades.
    Aug 23 04:03 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Annaly And mREIT Investors: Don't Fight The Fed [View article]
    Because we're exporting 3 mil barrels per day. The difference between oil and gas is that there is no way to export the excess gas, unlike refined oil products.
    Jun 20 10:59 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Will Repatriating The $1.5 Trillion U.S. Corporate Cash Hoard Boost The Dollar And The Economy? [View article]
    I wonder what is the correct tax rate. If we lower the 35% rate across the board, we lose a lot of tax revenue from domestic corporations, with perhaps some marginal pickup from the multinationals. Why should Apple trade in a 2% tax rate for 15-20%? And, of course, a zero-tax repatriation deal will just encourage more avoidance in the future.
    A suggestion I have seen which makes some sense is to abandon the income tax and institute a sales tax on imports of domestic corporations. Probably in violation of trade agreements however.
    Jun 2 09:14 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Retirement In A World Without Social Security [View article]
    One other issue with projecting dividend stocks over 30 years is the need to try and avoid failures of dividend payers. If I looked back to the start of my career I might have invested in blue chip stocks like GM, Pan Am, US Steel, Kodak, Xerox, etc. The hard part is deciding when to bail out.
    One note on SS: One of the significant benefits of the SS arrangement is the survivor bias. It requires much less investment to cover a group if each person does not need to fund a worst-case retirement to age 95, but only to an average lifetime of 78 or so. While Wall Street loves individual retirement accounts because it maximizes investment assets, it puts a strain on the participants who need to allocate much more of their income to savings.
    As noted, the availability of SS in the future will be determined politically, not by the financials.
    Apr 20 08:59 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Has Premier Exhibitions' Titanic Sale Sunk? [View article]
    "A nonbinding letter of intent" just sounds so-- nonbinding. My experience with this sort of thing is that it opens the negotiation and allows due diligence to proceed.
    Apr 5 10:47 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Trends In The Cost Of Energy [View article]
    Interesting article. I think installation costs should be assumed to be nearly constant as the price of PV cells decrease. Except for large industrial installations, local /residential installations will not benefit much from higher volume.
    While many have argued that higher costs for oil and gas will (and have) opened up new sources, it certainly has been at higher and higher prices. This will naturally make other sources like PV more cost effective.
    I wonder if a significant part of the storage problem could be solved by recharging EVs while the sun shines. There would stilll have to be a significant source of base load, either natural gas, coal or nuclear.
    Apr 5 10:20 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Are EV Dreams Going Up In Smoke? [View article]
    Yeah, I remember the furor a few years ago about the laptops catching fire. The world of computers was going to end... Funny, I don't hear about much these days except the millions of Li battery-powered computers being sold every day.
    As an old engineer, I'm well familiar with problems in new technology- when confronted with a design problem, the first thing I always had to do was to stop everyone from running around crying "the sky is falling!". Then, take the time to understand the problem and come up with a solution. It takes some time, but there's usually a fix. I'm astounded at all the fuss over the Boeing batteries- you'd think they were going to fall out of the sky if the battery went dead. With all the new technology in the 787 I'm amazed it's gone as well as it has. And I'm sure that they'll get the problem fixed.
    I haven't looked at the statistics, but I'd bet you're a lot more likely to get killed by a lightning strike than a lithium battery fire.
    Mar 28 10:22 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • It Can Happen Here: The Confiscation Scheme Planned For U.S. And U.K. Depositors [View article]
    CDs are just another form of deposit. They are insured by the FDIC up to the limit, just like any other savings account. And not insured, just like any other account, if over the FDIC limit. We've found that by using several Credit Unions and differing types of bank accounts you can insure a million or so.
    Mar 28 09:28 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • It Can Happen Here: The Confiscation Scheme Planned For U.S. And U.K. Depositors [View article]
    Good point- we keep almost all of our cash spread across several credit unions. Great service, good rates, and NO derivatives.
    Mar 28 09:24 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • It Can Happen Here: The Confiscation Scheme Planned For U.S. And U.K. Depositors [View article]
    Since the Cyprus banks have assets equal to about 8 times the GDP of Cyprus, I don't think it's the small businesses deposits making up most of the taxes. Or, they are some of the most profitable small businesses in the world.
    Mar 28 09:21 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Don't Let One Bad Apple Spoil The Whole Darn Bunch [View article]
    I own some Apple, and went into it with my eyes open (but at the time the endlessly rising real estate values were going to cover all the issues)... now I'm waiting to see if that ever happens.
    The basic Apple concept isn't bad- they use the loads of cash that Lerner raises to buy properties using little or no leverage- so there should be little risk of eventually recovering the value of the real estate.
    But what is buried in the fine print is the sales load of 10% for Lerner, plus another 4-5% for the developer, plus a big cut on the cash out for the developer. And that doesn't include the fees, all raked off by entities related to the developer.
    I think I'll make money eventually... In another year my REIT may go cash flow positive.
    But Lerner's usual customer is a retired grandma who attended the free luncheon and met the nice broker.... obviously all they see is that 7-8% and some papers to sign. I've been astounded at the amount of money Lerner can raise with this customer pool.
    Mar 28 06:58 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment