Seeking Alpha

kmi

kmi
Send Message
View as an RSS Feed
View kmi's Comments BY TICKER:
Latest comments  |  Highest rated
  • Greece might be finally turning things around, says Morgan Stanley analyst Daniele Antonucci. While the country isn't actually recovering, the huge uncertainty that was caused by fears of a Grexit and other factors, and which was destroying economic activity, has been removed. The recession is alleviating, Greece is becoming more competitive and it's almost achieved a primary surplus. [View news story]
    Wow. Well, as someone with exposure to Greece I can say that yes, Grexit is gone, but that doesn't mean Greece is 'fixed' by any measure. The regulatory environment has not changed, public sector reform has only been performed in the most perfunctory window-dressing manner, and the institutions and central government are still controlled by the same people who screwed up the country in the first place....

    What's changed is money in/money out, i.e. yes the primary surplus is almost a reality but its being funded not by economic activity but by savings, which are being depleted. What this means to me is the bottom isn't in yet....

    The dozen 'temporary' taxes instituted to siphon money from the people to pay off the government's public sector originating debt don't reflect an improving economic environment that will increase revenues and balance the country's budget. Economic activity is depressed and people have run for the hills (moved to their farms to live off the land while taking advantage of tax incentives promoting agriculture activity).

    The main reason the government is not pushing public sector reform is because of how large a part of the domestic economic activity it makes up. There's nothing to fill that vacuum if the government squashes it. Most Greek investment activity is now occurring outside the country in places like Bulgaria, because the Greeks themselves cant handle the regulatory and tax burdens of operating commerce in the country. And that hasn't changed either.

    Observers watching the numbers will miss a large part of the reality. (GREK) has had a nice run over the last 6 months or so, but I'm not buying. That run was based on the Grexit coming off the table. In my opinion the real bull run hasn't started yet. I could be wrong of course, watching things from a small business perspective, and the GREK reflects much larger entities, who have direct lines to the government and political leadership, so do your own homework.
    Jan 21 09:14 AM | 12 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • After three "jobless recoveries" in the last twenty years, NYT's Hedrick Smith suggests it's time to take a lesson from Henry Ford. History has proven Ford's virtuous circle to be effective, and if business managers "give the middle class a better share of the nation’s economic gains... the economy will grow faster." [View news story]
    So long as we permit more and more of the wealth of the nation to trickle into fewer hands, the pool of the non-productive poor at the bottom will grow.

    The result of the current concentration of wealth at the top is a pool of 47m living on food stamps.

    The trick is to 'thicken the middle', support the middle class, grow it, so more of the bottom produces, earns, and consumes.

    Otherwise, the large pool at the bottom will find their own way to get back their piece of the pie, by voting it to themselves or otherwise.

    A strong middle class is the hallmark of a healthy capitalist republic, and anyone who thinks otherwise is confused.

    Frankly, I can't support any notion of trickle down, tax breaks for the wealthy propaganda, especially the drivel coming out of the current Republican candidate. It's such a shame that the best candidates often get defeated in the primary, and lately, the Republicans field an ever more obnoxious agenda in order to appeal to the extremist elements of the party as if they somehow believe independents will find that appealing.

    Hey, Romney, listen up, while you cater to the fascists and oligarchs, those of us who may have considered you, stop doing so.

    And your choice for VP sucks.
    Sep 3 02:39 PM | 12 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • It hardly matters what Geithner says when seven out of every 10 voters say they oppose raising the debt ceiling, Stan Collender writes. "This almost certainly means that most representatives and senators will need to vote against a debt ceiling bill at least once so that they have something on the record showing their constituents that they were with them."  [View news story]
    This almost certainly means that that at least 7 out of 10 voters in the US are misinformed or uneducated about what a debt ceiling is and how the economy works.
    Apr 20 07:06 PM | 12 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • September Nonfarm Payrolls: +114K vs. consensus +115K, +142K previous (revised from 96K). Unemployment rate 7.8% vs. consensus 8.2%, 8.1% previous. [View news story]
    2muchdebt:

    Please name 5 ways the US has become socialist since Obama's presidency.

    I'm really curious.
    Oct 5 11:06 AM | 11 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • As crude oil takes out $100 to notch new lows at $99.70, all 20 Dow Jones Transport stocks move higher. Among the leaders, UAL +5.6%, DAL +5.3%, FDX +3%, JBHT +2.2%, CSX +1.8%. The big debate for oil - and thus the transports - is whether the retreat in oil prices is driven by global growth fears or is a recalibration after the runup from MENA crises.  [View news story]
    I find this humourous after all the thumbs down I get whenever I say there is too much spec money in oil....
    May 5 02:33 PM | 11 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]
    The comments here Freeform have nothing to do with the reality of the impact of rail to the domestic economy, its a bunch of folks spouting their politics.

    I'd suggest if you honestly want to consider what the impact of a good rail system really is on a country, to take a look at the Boston-DC and NYC-DC lines and to spend some time actually using the phenomenal rail systems in countries we consider to be inferior. Hah.

    American bigotry made US tech fall behind before and look at it rearing its head here now. It's cool to drive a german car and use european appliances but try and replicate euro efficiency here and it becomes "leftist" this and "socialist" that. Hah.
    Feb 8 08:39 PM | 11 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]
    Yeah Tony, dumb down the conversation so you can understand it, make it about "left" and "right", bite size pieces of of pre-chewed info you can digest. Go for some ad hominem attacks too while you're at it, the issue at hand is never as meaningful as whether you have stamped it as a "left" one or a "right" one.
    Feb 8 08:34 PM | 11 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • A JPMorgan (JPM) customer explains why he uses payday loans, at 287% interest, over applying for a credit card: "Here, I feel respected. At J.P. Morgan, when I walk in, I feel very small, and not particularly important."  [View news story]
    Interesting how the focus is on the comment made by the lendee and there is no reference in the comments about the 287% interest rates charged by payday lenders.

    Besides the fact that those rates immediately bring to mind the alternative economy and "break your legs" folks - just because you have an office a suit and an LLC doesn't make it right - no one in the comments is concerned about just the fact that these payday guys are becoming more and more prevalent in the economy helping to reinforce the permanent underclass status of some of our fellow Americans.

    This isn't business this is predatory exploitation of the less informed.
    Dec 26 06:18 PM | 11 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • After a bruising week, Pres. Obama will hold a one-day summit on Wednesday for corporate CEOs, hoping to persuade some of the companies to start using their collective $1.9T of cash for expansion and new hires. Invitees include GOOG, CSCO, IBM, AXP, PEP and more.  [View news story]
    When the Chinese Premier was newly elected he came to the US and toured corporate America BEFORE meeting the President. I am too lazy to dig up the relevant dates and meetings, but I do remember something about a party at Gates' estate.

    I thought that was meaningful, and widely ignored.

    You cannot run an economy without talking to the heads of business. Any comment here considering this action by Obama as erroneous or problematic is partisan politics and doesn't intend for the well-being of the nation.
    Dec 11 08:26 PM | 11 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Reports: Apple facing EU tax probe, building huge ad team [View news story]
    Crazy.

    The EU originally looked at Ireland's corporate tax rate while preparing, planning and executing the Irish bailout. And backed away.

    Makes me wonder what's changed and I think I know: they didn't want to go after corporate entities set up in Ireland across the board, they wanted to pick and choose their sacrificial cows.

    I'm not a fan of tax rate mitigation strategies that utilize off-shoring on principle, but I understand them. And if the US doesn't fix it's increasingly regulation-heavy, convoluted and overwhelming tax and legal codes it is destined to fall into non-competitiveness in the international arena, and those companies set up as multinational entities with offshore headquarters will simply.... move. And it'll be trivial to do so. And the money will most certainly stay 'offshore'.
    Jun 10 08:10 PM | 10 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Jim Grant rips the Fed, warns of 10% inflation and waxes nostalgic for a time when Washington let prices fall in crises rather than goose them up. Stocks, bonds, gold... almost everything is overpriced: The Fed "has unilaterally taken it upon itself to levitate asset prices... So the things that we take as prices freely determined are in fact manipulated."  [View news story]
    I'd like to suggest an alternative scenario:

    Commodity gains are overdone and unsustainable since the vast majority of people not just in the US but in the emerging world can't bear the burden, they are destined to bounce backas the global economy is being punished by them.

    Everything IS overpriced already but it won't result in inflation it will result in contraction and deflation. People are cutting spending as wages have been unable to track price inflation. I'm no economist, or some guy who's opinion merits a market current but wI'll side with the fed on this, I suspect they will be proved right.

    I'm getting further and further from believing the hyperinflation hypothesis.the more I talk to the middle class of America.
    May 20 06:30 PM | 10 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Pres. Obama's budget underestimates federal deficits by $2.3T over the coming decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office. His budgets would produce deficits totaling $9.5T over 10 years rather than his expected $7.2T. Chief reason for the discrepancy: Obama uses rosier economic assumptions.  [View news story]
    It's ok, as former RNC chairman Michael Steele explained to us, the CBO lies and is a tool of the government which controls what it can say. So no point caring about what the CBO says since they are liars.
    Mar 18 06:26 PM | 10 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]
    Wow everyone playing politics on this post, hilarious.

    Go ahead and hate on O, but the fact remains this is an INFRASTRUCTURE initiative which translates to AMERICAN jobs.

    Everyone talks about how China mostly sidestepped the global recession while forgetting it did it by investing in domestic infrastructure projects to keep the engines running.

    Not to mention the fact transportation of goods by rail is cheaper by orders of magnitude than truck, and far more efficient.

    Or wait, let private initiatives do it so we have a fragmented half-assed, hodge podge mishmash of incompatible and partially built out networks, there's a grand idea for a national; plan.

    China embarrasses us by building out the highest speed rail system in the world, the biggest and tallest bridges and SA commenters whine about losing their tax dollars. Woe to us, once upon a time we didn't want to lose the space race now we are desperate to hang onto to entitlements, nickels and dimes, and the crumbs that fall off the oligarchs tables.

    Fall America, fall, here let me give you a push in the right direction, kick out the dude in the big white house...

    Yeah go ahead and thumb me down if it makes you feel better, but you hate America if you do.
    Feb 8 08:17 PM | 10 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Greece Matters ... To Everyone [View article]
    That's an image problem brought on by lack of clarity in the reporting of how Greece got where it is.

    It's not Greeks who created the problem, but a systemic corruption of the upper echelon of politico-elites who abused the currency and created an overextended bureaucracy with way too many public employees who were handsomely rewarded for voting and maintaining the status quo...

    A cycle which should have ended under the Euro but was maintained for a further decade via obfuscation and creative accounting.

    Greece actually has a highly educated, highly skilled, competent workforce but the size of the public service sector and the compensation for what little work was asked of them + guaranteed employment made entrepreneurialism and business investment seem a waste of time.

    Interestingly, dismantling this wasteful beast that led Greece to this eventuality is GREAT for the country, and IMF involvement is too (if it manages to annihilate the amazing excess and waste in the public sector).
    May 4 10:36 PM | 10 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • How PHEVs and EVs Will Sabotage America's Drive for Energy Independence [View article]
    Considering my wife drives less than 10 miles to work, my wife would never need to use gas if we had a Volt. How does the Prius compare favorably in that regard as per oil/fuel consumption? I don't understand the logic.

    Additionally, your whole premise is that we seem to be 'wasting' resources on developing PHEVs when we could be investing in HEVs? Since the batteries going into non-Priuses could be going into Priuses?

    Why not let the market determine this?

    Also your comment that the industry 'could' switch to entirely HEV in a decade... i believe Mercedes expects to be fully hybridized by 2015, and new CAFE standards will make a lot of companies follow suit.

    Also... batteries are not finite... almost every auto manufacturer has a battery production facility in the works... and lithium is far more ubiquitous than a lot of other commodities...

    One final point... most Americans didn't know what a Prius was before $4/gallon gas, and $4/gal gas has permanently changed American perceptions of what constitutes a viable commuter car. Regardless of Prius' 10 yr track record, it's maybe in the last 2 it ever interested anyone but the fringe. I also submit that Nissan has built pure EVs as long as 30 years ago, but the tech to do so and appeal to the mainstream didn't exist until recently.

    EVs are hardly a new phenomenon, but much like YouTube would not have succeeded in the mid 90s when most folks were on dialup, EVs didn't have much raison d'etre before pretty recently.

    I don't know seems like a lot of hyperbole and bluster in the post.
    Aug 26 12:16 PM | 10 Likes Like |Link to Comment
COMMENTS STATS
3,992 Comments
3,765 Likes