Seeking Alpha

lobachevsky

lobachevsky
Send Message
View as an RSS Feed
View lobachevsky's Comments BY TICKER:
Latest comments  |  Highest rated
  • Dividend Investors Should Get Ready To Load Up [View article]
    To Mr. WmHilger1:

    Your profile says you are 82 years young. You could send to your favorite charities (tax deductible) or to Grover Norquist (not tax deductible) every dollar you have received from social security over your roughly 13-17 years of eligibility, along with all the health care money Medicare has saved you from spending over your past 17 years of Medicare eligibility (Figuring this out will, by the way, make federal income tax calculations look like a piece of cake.) Are you doing anything to curtail the Socialistic programs in your own local community, such as fire department, police department, public works, public schools?
    Dec 31, 2012. 04:50 PM | 19 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Retirement's 4% Rule: Why Mr. & Mrs. Income Don't Need It (Part 1) [View article]
    To AgAuMoney, who is "opposed to the whole idea of the social security ponzi scheme..." :

    Calling Social Security a massive Ponzi scheme does not stand up to thoughtful analysis, even though the Wall Street Journal likes to make the same claim. Here are some reasons:
    1) We have always known that the money we have been involuntarily paying into the system since our twenties would not be available to us as a matter of right until our sixties. Many of us will get more dollars out of the system during our retirements than we put in. However these dollars are worth less than the dollars we put in (because of inflation); the same is true of dollars that we have been voluntarily putting into our retirement plans (You don't call these Ponzi schemes, do you? Or do you?).
    2) We have not been promised unbelievable gains on our money taken into Social Security (Didn't Ponzi offer, and for a while deliver, 50% returns on his scheme? Madoff got away with his for so long by promising, and delivering, a10-12% return that looked good but reasonable -- only unbelievable when looked at carefully enough to see that genuine returns could not be so reliably smooth, and nobody at the SEC was good enough or enforcement-minded enough to expose the fraud.)

    People like my mother and my aunt and uncle probably got more $ back from Social Security than they paid in. Nobody likes paying taxes, but I am delighted to know that $ taken into Social Security from my earnings went to them and others like them.

    Yes I know that keeping Social Security financially viable is becoming problematic as fewer workers pay in and more retirees live longer. There are some remedies: Raise the eligibility age for collecting Social Security by a year or two (not fair for those who do work that most 67 year olds no longer have the strength for); most obvious -- Assess Social Security tax on ALL earned income, instead of just the first $106,000 (approximately). This will bring more solvency into the system and allow the % rate to be lowered; for most workers it will lower the burden of supporting our retirees (Remember they are all somebody's elders.). Yes I know that this will make multi-millionaire athletes and corporate honchos pay in far more than they can expect to get out as retirees, but they can afford it; such a redistribution of income should also enable more people to buy tickets to the athletes' games or buy the products that the corporate honchos' profits and earnings depend on."
    Aug 29, 2011. 02:41 PM | 10 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Gold: A Bad Investment and Getting Worse Part I [View article]
    After gold's last big runup into the $800s it crashed into the $300s or $200s and stayed low for many, many years. Anyone who buys gold at its present lofty price, as if it were "real money" or "savings" representing a safe cash position, risks a similar massive loss at some unpredictable time.
    Jan 18, 2011. 02:31 PM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Real Secret Of Warren Buffett's Performance [View article]
    I disagree with two of your "facts" :

    1) "... Buffett has an army of people working for him to select investments." His "army" of smart people consists of himself and Charlie Munger, along with an Omaha office staff of about 15 last time I heard the number. Add to this Todd Combs and Ted Weschler, now running some of the investment portfolio and preparing to run it all when Buffett and Munger need to be succeeded. If you include the smart people who run Berkshire's fully or partly owned businesses, that is indeed more like an army; but Buffett and Munger are smart enough to buy into businesses whose managers are outstanding and then to stay out of their way.
    I fully agree with you that "the odds of an individual investor successfully replicating even Buffett's return is slim to none," EXCEPT for individual investors invested in Berkshire.

    2) "Buffett is a money manager and earns his living through fees on money managed by him." Buffett's only fee is his $100,000 annual salary. BRK shareholders share his skills for pennies per year -- a far cry from the cost of hedge fund management or even low cost mutual fund management. He can sell shares just like any other shareholder when he wants cash; however he doesn't need to do this, since he has his own personal investments (outside of BRK) to draw upon.

    Aside from this, thank you for a very informative article, particularly for alerting me to the excellent returns of MDY.
    Jan 15, 2013. 02:59 PM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Taking A Longer Look At Apple's Secret Hedge Fund [View article]
    @Drew9944

    Why do you find it useful or necessary to tell us the color of your friend who limits her work hours in order to maximize her and her child's government assistance? Would she remain your friend if she knew you assumed that this makes her a lazy worker and if she knew that you considered her race relevant to your illustration? 
    Jan 7, 2013. 07:33 PM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Bonds Are Not Safer Than Blue-Chip Stocks [View article]
    Mr. McAleenan,

    With genuine respect, I would like to see you stop referring to Social Security as an "entitlement." I've been paying into it since age 16. A year ago I finally started getting payments back (while continuing to pay in since I am not a retiree). The richest of our fellow taxpayers have been taxed for too many years at rates by far the lowest of my lifetime -- far more deserving of being called an entitlement.

    If people as reasonable and perceptive as you can be persuaded to use concepts like "entitlement" more aptly, we will have a better chance of moving towards fairer taxation and a fairer and less angry society. (I'm not advocating top rates anything like the 80-90% of the early 1950s, though I've never heard of their having caused us a multimillionaire drain.)

    Thanks for yet another excellent article.
    Jul 23, 2012. 08:40 AM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • U.S. Bancorp - Great Bank, Trading At A Great Premium To Tangible Book Value [View article]
    Mr. bobmarks:

    What is this phantom Obama fiasco you refer to? USB closed at $15.34 on President Obama's inauguration day. It closed yesterday at $39.66, so its market price has more than doubled since the merciful end of the Cheney-Bush administration.
    Dec 7, 2013. 06:35 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • What David Sokol's Departure Means for Berkshire Hathaway [View article]
    Sokol's departure under the cloud of 3 million dollars' worth of unethical gain should turn out in the long run to be a blessing to Berkshire Hathaway and its shareholders. What good fortune to have him out of the running to succeed Warren Buffett and out of the company altogether.
    Apr 1, 2011. 04:12 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Gold: A Bad Investment and Getting Worse Part I [View article]
    I just followed Gold2's urging us to READ our constitution. It does not say what he tells us.
    Article I, Section 8 [5] states "The Congress shall have Power...To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof..."
    Article I, Section 10 [1] states "No State shall...coin Money; ...make anything but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts;"

    As one can see, reference to "gold and silver coin" is only made in reference to powers denied to individual states. The Power of The Congress to coin money does not say of what it is to be coined. And no practical reading of this provision can limit money only to that which is an actual coin.
    Jan 18, 2011. 06:31 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Don't Buy The U.S. Growth Story: Fear It, Short It, And Profit [View article]
    To Williams Equity Analysis:

    "Stocknerd, do you honestly believe social security is going to be around in 20, 30 years?"

    In answer to your question, we will have descended into a far sorrier society if social security is not around in 20, 30 years. I know that keeping Social Security financially viable is becoming problematic as fewer workers pay in and more retirees live longer. There are some remedies: Raise the eligibility age for collecting Social Security by a year or two (not fair for those who do work that most 67 year olds no longer have the strength for); most obvious -- Assess Social Security tax on ALL earned income, instead of just the first $110,100 (for 2012). This should guarantee solvency for the system and allow the % rate to be lowered; for most workers it will lower the burden of supporting our retirees (Remember they are all somebody's elders.). Yes I know that this will make the likes of multi-millionaire athletes and corporate honchos pay in far more than they can expect to get out as retirees, but they can afford it; such a redistribution of income should also enable more people to buy tickets to the athletes' games or buy the products that the corporate honchos' profits and earnings depend on.

    Thanks for your extensive and interestingly provocative article. While I find a good bit to disagree with, I share your pessimism about the market and your worries about a long continuation or worsening of global economic misery.
    Jan 3, 2012. 08:13 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Retirement's 4% Rule: Why Mr. & Mrs. Income Don't Need It (Part 1) [View article]
    Replying to AgAuMoney:

    If Social Security is a Ponzi scheme, I am proud to have paid into it for 50 years to the benefit of my grandmother, my mother, my aunt, my uncle, and people like them and everyone else's forbears, who did a lot more for posterity than my generation and those coming after me can validly claim. I am happy to have just collected my own first Social Security check. Being still employed at work I care about, I continue contributing (involuntarily but not angrily) to the best anti-poverty program we have. Surely you don't think that any but a small minority of workers have the capacity or the intelligence or the temperament or the time to ensure a dignified retirement like the hypothetical couple of this article. By the way I respect most of what you have had to say in your several posts on this fine article, and I will keep an eye out for your ideas in the future.

    Replying to Robert Allan Schwartz:

    Comparing Ponzi or Madoff to Social Security is a bit like comparing a rotten cabbage and a rotten grapefruit to a moderately fresh blueberry.

    Ponzi's and Madoff's schemes promised and, for a while, delivered outlandish (Ponzi) or too-smoothly-high-to -be-true (Madoff) returns, while secretly keeping most of the money for themselves. (How much of the real money that Madoff conned out of his investors was left to be clawed back for them? I'm not talking about the fraudulent paper gains whose fictional accumulation kept them happy.)

    Lots of the money paid into Social Security over people's 40-50 years of employment has NOT been paid out to earlier retirees. That is why various projections say it will be a few decades before the system starts paying out more than it is taking in. Taxing ALL earned income, not just the first $106,000, would both keep Social Security from running out of money and allow a lower rate of payroll tax, as I argued in my earlier post.
    Aug 30, 2011. 07:35 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Gold: A Bad Investment and Getting Worse Part I [View article]
    Yes it did. Check the 36 year gold price history chart at goldprice.org. The graph shows that the over $800 peak in 1980 was not regained until 2008. After going down near $300 in 1982 there were recovery peaks to near $500 in 1983 and 1988, then languishing in the $300s until it began a rather steady rise in 2005.

    Very few people are clever enough or lucky enough to get out near the top or buy at the bottom in any investment or speculation. If you bought during the roughly 20 years of low gold prices, you would have had a longer wait for your investment or speculation to turn positive than most people can handle.

    20% interest rates of 1980 were aimed at breaking 13% inflation. Today the prime is at 3.25% and deflation is a real if uncertain danger.

    If I had been lucky or clever enough to buy gold at $400, I would be taking some profits now while the taking is good. The higher it goes the farther it has to fall (just like stocks). I think that a lot of the passion of gold bugs comes either from those who want people like me to buy it (or their goldmine or their ETF) from them or from people probably like Screwloose who want to persuade more people to come to the demand side and bid the price higher.
    Jan 18, 2011. 09:54 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Foreign Investing Is Not Mandatory [View article]
    Mr. McAleenan,

    The only problem I have with virtually all your articles is worrying that I may be falling into "confirmation bias," because it is so rare for me not to agree with you, and it is so common for me to add to my useful learning from you.

    That said, I offer the old verse that immortalized that old Cubs double play team, partly for its own sake and partly to correct the spelling of the shortstop's name -- Joe Tinker (not "Tinkers").

    Baseball’s Sad Lexicon
    These are the saddest of possible words: Tinker to Evers to Chance.
    Trio of Bear-cubs, fleeter than birds, Tinker to Evers to Chance.
    Ruthlessly pricking our gonfalon bubble, Making a Giant hit into a double—
    Words that are weighty with nothing but trouble: Tinker to Evers to Chance.
    Franklin P. Adams, July 10, 1908
    Jul 28, 2012. 02:18 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Bonds Are Not Safer Than Blue-Chip Stocks [View article]
    To "Young and Dumb"

    Inflation as measured by the CPI (imperfect measurement I know) has been more than seven-fold since I started paying into the Social Security System. I will have to be quite lucky in my health to get back more in "constant dollars" than I paid in over the past 53 years.

    Sensible reforms to the system can improve your chances to get out of it what you will have put in. I offer two:
    1) to provoke anger from those approaching retirement age: Raise the age of eligibility for beginning to collect Social Security benefits -- but not by more than a year or two (as has already been happening), because unfair to those whose bodies get worn down from hard physical work or ill health;
    2) to provoke anger from the greedily entitled among high earners: Assess Social Security taxation on ALL earned income, not just the first $100,000+. This would boost the long-term viability of the system while making it possible to lower the rate of this particular taxation. Very high earners would obviously put more into the system than they would get back in future benefits, but they would benefit like the rest of us from living in a more egalitarian, more tranquil, less dangerous society than that towards which our false conservative Banana Republican Party has been misleading us for at least thirty years.
    Jul 23, 2012. 03:22 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Don't Buy The U.S. Growth Story: Fear It, Short It, And Profit [View article]
    To "Freedoms Truth":

    I hope your devotion to freedom is not as careless and uninformed as your devotion to truth, since accuracy is a part of truth. I hope that your inaccuracy is unaware rather than deliberate when you state that "Obama ... has the worst jobs record in a generation."

    A quick lookup shows U.S. unemployment at 7.8% for January, 2009, when the Bush-Cheney administration ended, up from 4.2% when that administration began in January, 2001, and up from 5.0% for January, 2008, beginning the last year of that arguably worst presidency in U.S. history. Our most recent unemployment rate of 8.6% shows unemployment increasing 0.8% during Obama's almost three years in office compared to 2.8% during just the one final year of Bush-Cheney. (I do agree with much expert opinion that these numbers significantly understate true unemployment.) I'll at least give President Bush and Treasury Secretary Paulson credit for bailing out the too-big-to-fail banks-- their unjust enrichment being a far lesser evil than the rerun of the 1930s that was (and maybe still is) threatening the global economy.

    Your opinion that an up market "is forecasting Romney or some other GOPer kicking Obama out of the White House and putting in place more pro-growth and market-friendly policies" is contradicted by many historical market analyses showing the market on average performing better during Democratic administrations.

    President Obama "inherited" in 2009 from the Cheney-Bush administration the financial crisis plus two ongoing wars, one of which (Iraq) could not have done more to undermine U.S. interests in the Middle East if undermining had been the actual intent. The Cheney-Bush administration "inherited" in 2001 a U.S. budget in surplus and flushed it away along with a lot more of our advantages in the global economy. Obama may not win a second term, especially with the Republicans determined to keep fouling up economic recovery as the best way to win back more political power, but he entered the Presidency with the worst mess to deal with since FDR's inauguration in March, 1933. The FDR administration was much more fortunate in the timing of its accession to power, with the Great Depression three years old and so wretched that it would have been hard to make it worse. The bulk of the damage from the Bush-Cheney recession (Let us hope it doesn't spread into the Great Recession.) was left for our present hard pressed president, whose hands are tied by the knee-jerk filibusterers of the Senate's Republican minority and the knee-jerk opposition to all Democratic policy by the House's Republican majority.
    Jan 3, 2012. 07:40 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
COMMENTS STATS
68 Comments
136 Likes