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  • The EU blinks first. Olli Rehn, the man in charge of administering Ireland's bailout, says there is "room for maneuver" in the €85B rescue package. At a minimum, it appears Ireland will request a reduction in the interest rate from its current level of 5.8%.  [View news story]
    Alrighty then. When the Greeks ask for "room to maneuver" it will probably be something like "we were thinking you'd just forget about the whole thing".
    Feb 14, 2011. 04:00 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Carl Weinberg postulates Chinese hoarding of grain far beyond its needs is a major factor driving higher food prices. Weinberg believes China is concerned about the possibility of famine or social unrest, or perhaps they figure nearly $1T in Treasuries is enough.  [View news story]
    The Chinese also control the Illuminati
    Feb 14, 2011. 02:45 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • President Obama speaking on events in Egypt. "There are very few moments when we get to witness history. This is one of them." EGPT +4.7%.  [View news story]
    I want to be optimistic but "Won't Get Fooled Again" keeps playing in my head
    Feb 11, 2011. 05:58 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • When Recovery Is Just a Word [View article]
    You are both making some valid points.

    Philly's observation on the blip was the first thing that jumped out at me -- "were the employment levels of (say) 04-08 an unsustainable bubble rather than a 'real' reference point".

    Papa's observation that "recovery in earnings doesn't do much for workers (or at least, hasn't so far)". And keep in mind that the author's main points focused on effect on the workers and government debt, which although helped a bit by higher corporate earnings to tax, is being overwhelmed by transfer payments.
    Feb 11, 2011. 10:26 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • BP Prudhoe Bay Royalty Trust: Most Overvalued or Most Misunderstood? (Part II) [View article]
    Another grateful reader.

    Like Charlie, I cashed out after reading this. BPT was good to me, so no complaints. But it's time to find some other energy-related investments without the question marks.

    Interesting to see how the "magic of compounding", normally the investors' friend, works against us on those cost hits.
    Feb 10, 2011. 12:42 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Oil Will Drop [View article]
    I am several oil investments, as long term investments, for several reasons: 1) I think the inexorable trend is my friend, 2) as a hedge against household energy expenses, and 3) it just takes one geopolitical event (if the right kind, of course) to make the value of these investments skyrocket.

    I have not come across anything yet to make me change my mind.
    Feb 9, 2011. 02:55 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Obama will ask Congress next week to approve a six-year, $53B program for construction of a national high-speed and intercity rail network. GE Transportation President Lorenzo Simonelli, whose company is the leading manufacturer of diesel electric locomotives, welcomes the plan.  [View news story]
    This is a good example of why I am usually glad to have a split government. This will get killed in the House.
    Feb 8, 2011. 06:11 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Consumers increased revolving credit lines (mainly credit-card debt) by $2.3B in December (3.5% annualized) - the first monthly rise since August 2008. A trend reversal could indicate an increase in consumer confidence - and would be welcomed by banks who have watched lucrative revolving debt shrink by almost $160B.  [View news story]
    So much for the necessary de-leveraging.
    Feb 7, 2011. 05:28 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Case Against the Mortgage Interest Deduction [View article]
    This topic is a favorite pet peeve of The Economist. If you have a premium membership for their website (I don't), perhaps it is possible to track down some archived articles and see what their sources were over the years?
    Feb 7, 2011. 12:50 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Case Against the Mortgage Interest Deduction [View article]
    Well, that's one of the author's points -- low income families get little to zero benefit from mortgage interest deductibility, whereas high income families get a huge deduction, and with a higher tax bracket, a huge tax benefit.

    That said, I thought there was a cap on mortgate interest deductibility? (too lazy to look it up)
    Feb 7, 2011. 11:54 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The Case Against the Mortgage Interest Deduction [View article]
    Regarding the argument in favor of the deduction related to "home ownership would be lower without it"...

    The author brings up some good points. As more direct proof that the claim is not valid, I have seen several studies over the years showing that (equalizing for other factors) countries with no mortgage interest deductibility have a fairly equal rate of home ownership as the US.
    Feb 7, 2011. 11:52 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Standard & Poor's says it has no plans to downgrade the U.S. credit rating, but it believes credit risk may increase in the long term. "It looks like there will be a slow but continual build of credit risk from what we view as excellent credit risk... but in our view it is not a fast moving issue." Moody's warned last week of a potential U.S. downgrade.
     [View news story]
    The rating agencies also know the gov't will retaliate with threats of a criminal investigation. There won't be any formal downgrade until it is long obvious.
    Feb 3, 2011. 10:52 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • "These are contracts that [we] worked for..." Public workers are beginning to sue their states, which want to cut pension costs by increasing employee contributions, raising the retirement age or curbing cost-of-living increases. States, counties and cities face an estimated $3.6T gap between their pension assets and what they've promised.  [View news story]
    Of course, public sector workers have a very different standard of "work"
    Feb 2, 2011. 10:25 AM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Dominance of Exxon Mobil [View article]
    No doubt AAPL has done a great job building things we want to have.

    But it's often hard to beat things we need to have.
    Feb 2, 2011. 09:03 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Chart of the day: America’s poorest citizens are about as rich as India’s richest, and the typical person in the bottom 5% of U.S. income distribution is still richer than 68% of the world’s inhabitants.  [View news story]
    This is supposedly adjusting for cost of living in each country.

    That said, I have a hard time believing that the poorest 20% of Americans enjoy a life that the top 20% of Indians do. Something seems fundamentally incorrect with that.
    Jan 31, 2011. 05:08 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment