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  • New credit card legislation takes effect on Monday, with restrictions that are expected to cost the industry at least $12B a year in lost revenue. To compensate, many card issuers are hiking fees elsewhere and preparing to raise rates.   [View news story]
    The next thing congress should do is require the 'contract' to be written in 10pt. Times New Roman and fit on one 8 1/2 x 11 page in high school level language. Granted I'm getting old, but the last time I looked I could barely see the fine print much less read or understand it. I'm thinking of going back to law school so I can understand more of the simple things in life.

    Wishful thinking is requiring a contract that both parties have to sign; also contract changes that both parties have to sign.

    Also, to Northern Dancer - Some restaurants in New York, and perhaps elsewhere, will not accept cash to reduce the risk of robbery and improve operating efficiencies on the floor and in the back room. No doubt this also be part of IMF conspiracy. The New World Order is closer than you think!
    Feb 21, 2010. 08:52 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Oil Price vs. Non-OPEC Supply  [View article]
    People who forecast the price of oil have about as good a record of success as I at guessing the next card to be turned over (1 in 52 assuming an honest deck). Oh wait the oil deck isn't honest. A year and a half ago as oil was nearing $150/bl a Goldman analyst confidently predicted $250 oil in 2009. More suddenly than it rose, it dropped to around $30/bl and some were predicting it would bottom at $20. Every decade I can remember we were either near or at peak oil. And yet we continue to find more, waste less, and more imortantly, discover alternative energy sources, all which will tend to mute the price of oil close to its economic value.
    Feb 19, 2010. 01:31 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Long U.S. Dollar Trade Appears to Be Overdone  [View article]
    " No positions in any currencies. Long gold and silver via GLD and SLV" - So this is all speculative or specious bs, not something to risk your own GLD or SLV on.
    Feb 18, 2010. 08:39 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Ebullient Markets, Housing Starts and Anticipating Friday's CPI Announcement  [View article]
    This is the first of your articles I thought was actually good and useful.

    Much of the CPI is subjective. And where there is judgment, there is disagreement. Your computer is more powerful than 10 years ago, but you need the power to keep up with the software requirements for processor speed, cache memory, video processing, and core, whether you play games or use Excel. So what's the net power gain? Judgement. How about automobiles? Is there any denying that they are vastly superior than 10 years ago in terms of features, safety, and reliability? How much so is judgment. If conspiracy folks want to go back to 1980, there was no internet, PC's were just coming to the market, and cell phones were still Dick Tracy science fiction. Inflation for these is incalculable. Movie tickets cost a couple of bucks then but now I can download those same wonderful movies for free. Hmmm . . . So CPI is quite judgmental but much of it also is not. Corn flakes, apples, fertilizer, gasoline, sofas, matresses, many things are essentially unchanged except for price. For all its flaws, CPI is the best measure of the cost of consumption. Take a poll of university and private economists and I'll bet many have some disagreements about some aspects of the methodology, but would virtually universally agree that there is nothing better.
    Feb 17, 2010. 09:38 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Wall Street Breakfast: Must-Know News  [View article]
    how to count banks' losses - what's wrong with this? It's similar to p&c insurance companies who must record the liability for reported losses separately from IBNR - those which are incurred (although as yet unknown to the company) but not reported.
    Feb 16, 2010. 08:26 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • What Exactly Is the Real Level of Government Debt in Europe?  [View article]
    The only time in my life I can remember when we began, just a little, to control the national debt was during the Clinton administration. The Roosevelt years gave us a lot of depression and war debt, Truman gave us the Marshall Plan and Korean War, Eisenhower launched the Interstate Highway system (one of the most costly public works projects in history), Kennedy-Johnson, medicare and another war (which amazingly Johnson tried to pay for with a tax surcharge and got run out of office), Nixon continued the war and took us within a whisper to communism with his wage-price freeze administered by his Office of Emergency Preparedness and also gave us outrageous inflation that undermined the next (Carter) administration, Reagan jacked up military spending AND cut taxes creating the biggest deficits since WWII, Bush I another war (this one was pretty cheap), Clinton raised taxes and luckily had a booming economy so that by the end of his term he had budget surpluses. But then GW took over ramping up military, homeland security, and medicare expenses, launching 2 wars AND cutting taxes!!! Republican socialists like to cut taxes which is their way of not paying expenses (it's also a way to benefit the wealthy and those who believe they will become wealthy so they can get re-elected). Democratic socialists like to increase spending and raise taxes, but never enough to pay for it (it's their way of proving to the masses that they are working for the social good so they can get re-eleced). Too many people blame Democrats for spending, ignoring the spending records of Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan, Bush and Bush. Neither Republicans nor Democrats are shy about running up deficits to 'pay' for their pet programs. It's only the program that's different.
    Feb 15, 2010. 12:24 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • What Exactly Is the Real Level of Government Debt in Europe?  [View article]
    OMG! Is there another planet I can move to? Is there a solution? I'm affraid politicians' and the public's focus on the short run - fix this problem now, we'll fix future problems then - precludes finding workable methods to balance spending and revenues.
    Feb 15, 2010. 09:53 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Wall Street's biggest headache among regulators: CFTC chief Gary Gensler, who pushes for strong derivatives legislation. After 18 years at Goldman (GS), he knows all the tricks and fights with lobbyists over even minor language changes that might provide loopholes for the financial industry. With friends like that...   [View news story]
    Go Gary. (I hope he is on our side!)
    Feb 12, 2010. 02:18 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Misguided Economists Say Unemployment Rate Has Peaked  [View article]
    People who are hiring - I hope this is not in anticipation. If it is based on actual demand, congratulations. Some businesses and industries must continue even in a recession. The idea of surge in hiring or the beginning of one seems premature. The international economy is not healthy and the next credit crisis triggered by US mortgage defaults is months away . . . unless someone has a magic wand. Jobs are the key to everything - from solving mortgage defaults to consumer spending. Until politicians and businesses figure out how to create jobs, the recession will grind on.
    Feb 12, 2010. 08:48 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Germany Won't Bail Out Greece  [View article]
    Goldman can lend them someone else's money in such a way that no one will even see it.
    Feb 10, 2010. 01:59 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Another Equity Stampede, Value Notwithstanding  [View article]
    "if the government is dictating what wages are to be paid for what work on Wall Street, it is stealing the biggest asset most of the young workaholics there have – the present value of their future labor."

    This would be a good thing! It might be a disincentive for the best and brightest to go into the financial engineering businss aimed at stealing other peoples' money and incentivize them to go into engineering, or teaching, or manufacturing, or inventing, or anything else that has a positive value to the nation and society. Very little that happens on Wall Street these days is beneficial to the economy either in the short or long run.
    Feb 10, 2010. 10:28 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • A Greek bailout is, or isn't, imminent, depending on which sources are talking. But if there is a bailout, options are narrowing for how it will be executed: The European Investment Bank says it can't get involved, direct EU aid has been ruled out and the EC has vetoed suggestions of IMF involvement.   [View news story]
    have no fear, goldman is here! as a charitable contribution, they will cede the unpaid portion of their bonus pool to save greece. or was that just a rumor?
    Feb 10, 2010. 09:13 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Devaluing Currency Is a Fool's Game  [View article]
    Devaluing one's currency is thus a fool's game, since it benefits one segment of society (exporters) but harms everyone else (consumers, who have to pay more for the imported goods they purchase).

    So NOT devaluing one's currency is also a fool's game since it benefits one segment of society (import buyers) but harms everyone else (exporters and those who work and manufacture for them). Maybe currency itself is the fool's game that can never be 'won'. Like a fair tax, what is a fair exchange rate? It seems the world market should decide that, however plagued it is by international politicians' manipulations (such as Chavez'). What does seem foolish is opposing periodic revaluation as economic realities do change from time to time (such as the rise of China). Personally, if given a choice between favoring the export side vs. the import side, I would favor the export side for two reasons - jobs, and I'm really tired of Chinese junk from Home Depot nails that bend and screws that strip, to melamine baby formula, to lead painted toys, to food products that are health hazards. We have better controls in America and I would rather buy into that.
    Feb 4, 2010. 09:25 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Wall Street Breakfast: Must-Know News  [View article]
    Switzerland is a criminal conspiracy. The nation and its banks should be prosecuted in US and international courts as a felons. They facilitate not only tax dodgers, but provide a financial haven for drug money, arms merchants, dictators who rape their countrys' treasuries, and every other kind of miscreant known to Earth whom they are proud to call their customers. If you profit from the underworld you are part of the underworld.
    Feb 1, 2010. 08:26 AM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Priced against an ounce of gold, U.S. stocks remain firmly settled in a 10-year bear channel.   [View news story]
    IT IS A LOGARITHMIC SCALE!!! On an arithmetic scale, these lines are not straight but radically curved and the so called channels are not readily discernible.

    I am constantly amazed that so many people believe that gold has the only 'tangible' value and everything else is intangible. Gold is nothing more than another commodity and its value is relative to all other commodities it trades against. At times such as recently, demand outstrips supply especially when compared to other commodities and so people are willing to pay more for it (in terms of dollars, corn, stocks, or whatever). At other times, people would rather have food, oil or yen. If you're on the right side of the trend you feel your commodity rules, just like if you were lucky enough to buy Google at 85 and rode it to 740. If you were smart or lucky enough to get out at 740 and back in at 250, you've done very well for yourself. For gold and the Dow, just like Google, the best off are those who know when to get out and when to get back in again.

    Incidentally, when the ratio is 1, Dow= 2.7 x gold. At today's prices (10,200 Dow, 1100 gold), that's either a Dow of 2970 or gold at $3775. If you believe either will happen any time soon (believe enough to stake your financial security on it), then good luck to you. Those guys on Wall Street need your money to pay bigger bonuses.
    Jan 29, 2010. 03:38 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment