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  • Will Apple Ditch Google For Yahoo Search? Never Say Never [View article]
    Right you are, MChen.

    Google's weak spot is clearly the growing dysfunction of their lauded search engine since they are expending more effort monetizing it than they are improving it. Hence, what comes up is so far from rational results when a search is typed in due to paid promotions and advertisements, somebody besides MChen and I has to be noticing that online search has become an ordeal that is worsening.

    GM made crappy cars for decades before the lights went out for them, and the excesses and misdirection on simple search entries will have a similar effect on Google if it keeps worsening except it won't take as long since the online world is much faster. They are handing Yahoo a clear opportunity via this abuse of the preponderance of search they have attained if there is any way to bridge enough of the wide technological lead Google still manages to hold.
    Apr 17 08:18 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is Inflation Next? [View article]
    "This happens at every level, in every business, organization or culture on the planet. It's human nature. It's noise and mostly unpredictable, and hence doesn't need to be part of the analysis."

    Except that only government, or "private" interests with government backing, have the "legitimate" right to take at the point of a gun. Therefore, it would be refreshing for advocates of ever-increasing government involvement to stop excusing equal and lower standards for government work.
    Apr 16 01:53 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Wall Street Breakfast: Must-Know News [View article]
    Facebook's e-money effort should present a significant threat to Paypal. Paypal, like Ebay which overcharges small sellers, is always focused on it's immediate cash cow, which is high fees on it's captive Ebay customers and excessive currency conversion rates for customers outside of the dollar.

    Thus the door has been left open to meet unmet needs throughout the world in e-commerce that Facebook has a chance to fulfill if they can avoid resembling the cable company or the taxman to it's customers. Furthermore, as Robert Wagner has written about repeatedly on SA, there could be an opportunity for a useful e-currency in global e-commerce that would require a company with strong imagination and focus to bring to realization.
    Apr 14 07:30 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is Inflation Next? [View article]
    "Why will the taxpayer rescue me? What if my derivative is profitable?
    Will I still get rescued?"

    No, and especially if you're GS and bet on the right side, you walk away with profits even if the counterparty can't pay. If you're systemically important on Wall Street, take the losing side, cannot pay off and that triggers an avalanche of defaults from whatever house-of-cards leverage has been set up on Wall Street since their last 2008 debacle, a tooth fairy will need to cover the bets and pay off Jim Myrtle and anyone else who can now only profit if the Fed and/or the taxpayer ponies up for the losing TBTF counterparty.

    Their managements will retain their bonuses, of course, even if they have been rating junk as AAA prior to selling it and playing with derivatives based on movements of that paper. The noise of, "no one could have seen this coming" will be deafening by all politically protected parties who are responsible for it. Or, at least, that's how it played out in 2008.
    Apr 13 12:01 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is Inflation Next? [View article]

    Jim Myrtle - "Why would it wreak havoc? The bank on one side of the bet makes money, the one on the other loses money."

    One more time: Counterparty risk. As in: Wall Street, 2008.

    You people are so blithe, so casual about situations that have and will again if permitted, require socializing Wall Street's risk on the backs of the taxpayer.
    Apr 12 09:47 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is Inflation Next? [View article]
    JasonC - In capitalism, outside of TBTF Wall Street if enough of someone's customers or tenants have always been expected to "take the hit when lots of other people stopped paying their debts and defaulted," a business may go bankrupt whether or not they are "deadbeats" or in a "fundamentally sound business in a fundamentally useful and profitable industry." Usually paying the bills and paying the notes is considered the test of whether the business is viable, as bankers apply to everyone else.

    But no, prices have been effectively raised throughout the economy to protect bankers' balance sheets, and hundreds of $billions of their MBS paper has been moved onto the Fed's and the taxpayer's balance sheets, while the privileged especially receive the benefit ZIRP loan rates and lush financial asset price increases to create the highest wealth disparity in US history.

    This is about crony capitalism, not merit.
    Apr 11 02:56 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is Inflation Next? [View article]
    DL and T - I think you two should get a room.
    Apr 11 11:34 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is Inflation Next? [View article]
    "You can have a derivative on a sub-investment grade bond or company, but the derivative itself, essentially a zero sum bet, is not sub-investment grade."

    A distinction without a difference. If derivatives are written on sub-investment grade paper, the movement of the underlying paper wreaks havoc and taxpayers come to the rescue. 2008 and counterparty risk come to mind.
    Apr 11 09:37 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Whole Foods Market Faces A Short-Term Threat [View article]
    Most people, particularly those who lack enough income to live beyond the most basic hand-to-mouth style such as Walmart employees, need good prices on any purchases, period. It's not optional for them, and as more of the former vast American middle class get sucked into the fast-expanding vast American underclass, delivering products and services affordably is only going to increase in importance.

    And of those who can afford just a few discretionary choices, there are plenty who would appreciate higher quality, maybe organic, foods who could not possibly fit WFM purchases in their budgets even if one were within their geographic area.

    And then, of the millions of Americans who are seeing middle class status slipping away via the endless drips and deluges of budget increases, from taxes, insurance, healthcare, college tuitions, fuel, repairs, etc etc etc, even while hearing in the news that there is a "deflation problem" they should be worrying about in the economy besides their incomes, those of them who will pay more, maybe twice as much, for the preferable aesthetic experience of shopping at WFM rather than Walmart has to be sharply diminishing.
    Apr 10 04:49 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Whole Foods Market Faces A Short-Term Threat [View article]
    adowns - Well, actually, my family and I habituate both places.

    A threat to a business, such as this one to WFM can begin on the margins and grow. Perhaps many people driving Toyotas would have never considered one in it's early days.
    Apr 10 09:30 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is Inflation Next? [View article]
    JasonC - There have always been limits to the liberties bankers could take with depositor's money that they exchange IOU's for, that have been eliminated at huge cost to the economy outside of the 1%. If, using the most limited definition, TBTF Wall Street "paid back" their bailouts, they did it at the cost of effectively pointing a gun at the society whose balance sheet was and is being used; that we had to buy up Wall Street's toxic assets at 100% face value or the system would entirely collapse. Not everybody cares to have people do "business" with us that way, effectively forcing us to pay 100% face value on their paper while maintaining the "prevailing" payscales and bonuses on Wall Street and at the top generally. And accepting Orwellian misdirection on the $trillions of money printing that continues, to save their hallowed institutions and lifestyles.

    Which actually buys more influence in Washington, further marginalizing the once vast American middle class which is fast becoming the vast American underclass, which apparently now should learn more gratitude that it gets any compensation at all for it's puny efforts.
    Apr 10 03:07 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Is Inflation Next? [View article]
    JasonC - Conflating interests of incumbent TBTF bankers with the freedom they have post Glass-Steagall to gamble with depositors' money and receive socialized protection of their losses with "freedom of credit" is a stretch.

    Also, the suspension of FASB Rule 167 has allowed these institutions to retain $trillions of underwater assets on their books a la Japan after it's 1990 stock market debacle, and combined with ZIRP and the Federal Reserve adding hundreds of $billions of their impaired financial products onto it's balance sheet, the entire US economy has been turned into something previously unrecognizable to save Wall Street assets.

    Hayek argued in favor of preventing the malinvestment "boom" rather than relying on hopes of an effective and fair cleanup afterwards. He also was deeply acquainted with the similarity of National Socialism in Germany with the supposedly proletarian variety in the USSR; socialism for industrialists (or Wall Street, multinational corporations and the 1%) is from the same statist, central planning racketeers. Twisting words like "freedom" to exclude those who question this system while selectively ignoring the consequences of it's most recent debacle and the failure of any major figure whatsoever to suffer any criminal liability or clawback of their bonuses does not enhance more than a narrow view of the situation.
    Apr 9 01:10 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Wall Street Breakfast: Must-Know News [View article]
    Taking liberty with the forum, it seems worthy to mention that UConn men's basketball just won their 4th NCAA title since 1999. Jim Calhoun won the last three and now his former player and able successor, Kevin Ollie is the youngest coach to win a title, in his second year as head coach. Especially amazing is that last year his team was banned from the NCAA tournament but he was able to retain enough of his key players and field such a team despite the enormous setback.

    Such sustained excellence is a demonstration of the great leadership required to adapt to a wide range of players and styles, and utilize and inspire them to make it to the top for repeatedly for 25 years and counting.
    Apr 8 08:42 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is Inflation Next? [View article]
    Prices were approximately the same in 1911 as they were at the inception of the United States; then the Federal Reserve was spawned. The succeeding skyward price gyrations have largely involved the interaction of the central and TBTF bankers with big government advocates who appreciate financial engineering to further their self-serving activist goals, and exacted an income tax in tandem with the passing of the Federal Reserve Act.

    Spain had massive inflation upon looting the New World; gold can flow in ways that allow inflation in gold-based economies that experience extraordinary gains of it, but 20th century inflation mostly involved the gradual extrication of the US monetary system and government from gold and financial discipline.
    Apr 7 07:06 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is Inflation Next? [View article]
    At some point during "taper," interest rates are likely to rise due to reduced demand for Treasuries once the largest buyer, the Fed, is out of the way. It will be interesting or worse to see the response of governments at that point because they will try to increase deficits to "stimulate" into this reduced demand at the first sign of declining economic signals which may begin a vicious circle of higher interest rates demanded in return as government deficits increase again.

    Terrible government finances will thus be highlighted and dollar and Treasury revulsion may then occur. Safe havens will quite possibly include the assets mentioned in the article.
    Apr 7 06:43 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment