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Leftfield

Leftfield
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  • Paulson and Goldman Sachs, The Plot Thickens [View article]
    Big government has created inordinate booby traps, taxes, regulations and procedures for the little people. The big fish hire others to run interference for them in all such matters large and small. Nice work if you can get it.
    It may have slipped Paulson's mind that he had about $300million/GS stock (Bindlepete) with all the important matters he was attending to.
    Aug 13, 2009. 09:27 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • America's Doomed Small Newspapers [View article]
    One of the smaller set has been considered for a bailout in CT, the New Britain Herald. Must involve a combination of their support of incumbents and as a possible warmup to saving the big-government-loyal, PC Hartford Courant.
    I'm guessing the exploding budget deficits gave the idea a merciful death. Even the ever-wasteful political class here has it's limits.
    Aug 13, 2009. 02:53 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Economic Collapse Is Accelerating [View article]
    To have the consumer economy and real estate bubbles implode with Wall St. leverage on top of the unprecedented indebtedness we acquired during, um, prosperity, without depression-level contraction is an interesting MSM concept. Add coming CRE, alt-A, municipal/state bankruptcies galore with ongoing job losses and I don't think it's only pessimists that might question a turnaround here.
    Aug 13, 2009. 01:45 PM | 15 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Delta: Use the Northwest Brand or Lose It [View article]
    Typical bean counters as MBanalyst mentions. Business by standard MBA formula. Homogenize, don't allow for uniqueness because that requires thought and individual chance-taking. CYA, cut corners, you will get a bonus for the short-term pop.
    We pay people top dollar, multiples of anywhere else in the world, to do this.
    Aug 13, 2009. 11:39 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Outcomes vs. Principles: Why Disclosure Doesn't Work [View article]
    Great point: You need both good information and rational decision-making.
    FYI: My father, before he died, had successfully juggled $70k credit card balance for many years with the free balance transfers. I don't think he ever slipped or I would have heard about it.
    Aug 13, 2009. 08:02 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Did Lehman Save America from a Dollar Collapse? [View article]
    So, "the pressure on fincancial institutions was only going to increase" absent a Lehman-type trigger. That "the political system was unlikely to provide the necessary resources and action without a major scare."
    I don't see how the necessary resources can be provided. Continued mega-failures seem imminent. Putting them all on the failing US balance sheet is a moon shot that is being attempted without change or reform of the worst of them.
    Looks to me like Lehman came years/decades too late and that sanity has yet to appear in public policy.
    Aug 13, 2009. 07:11 AM | 10 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Wednesday's FOMC Roller Coaster [View article]
    The government seems to be betting on a quick recovery to bubbles-as-usual but I don't see how they can hide all the problems Roger Knights has conveniently listed. They have indeed decided that this is a "silly market" for their underwater TBTF friends. They are all carrying on, business as usual, until something breaks that the tattered remains of the US balance sheet can't paper over. Hopefully after the next election.
    Aug 13, 2009. 06:50 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Dollar Up Or Dollar Down ? [View instapost]
    Just a thought: The dollar could be the crisis next time, or US bonds. Different result. GS will be positioned correctly, though.
    Aug 13, 2009. 06:34 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Fed Manipulates Stock Prices [View article]
    That's the difference between promises made to ordinary voters and promises made to someone who counts. If bondholders were supposed to subsidize debt-to-equity in the TBTF's to relieve taxpayer TARP funding, it is a conflict that can only be resolved one way.
    Bernanke got BAC's stock price up as per promise. But taxpayers have been shown to lack memory or even consciousness, which facilitates the bald-faced lying that doesn't even have to extend to the next election anymore. TARP, a crown jewel of a swindle in the US ponzi system preceded '08 elections by weeks.
    Aug 13, 2009. 06:30 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Education Pyramid [View instapost]
    I think the best part of this is where you say there are no ending grades. I believe that subjects are best taught to students until they are competently mastered. Not in a specified timeframe, but until the student achieves say, a B level of understanding. However long it takes. Quicker studies take more subjects, slower students have to work longer until they get it. What good is it to pass on a D student?
    One of my daughters is grading Boston math mastery tests this summer. Apparently 30%+ make random squiggles on the tests with no understanding whatsoever. And get passed on.
    Aug 12, 2009. 11:16 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Mixed Productivity Report: Output Surges, But Work Hours Fall [View article]
    Since the 80's, increasing productivity was supposed to be due to greater efficiency and supposedly more market-oriented government policies. Prosperity was ours!
    Productivity was on the increase for decades now (Greenspan's much-cited productivity miracle) yet Americans now must have two earners per household to raise a family.
    The money went to debt, taxes and, particularly, the upper income group. These managers put every bit of money that comes out of downsizing the labor force and cutting corners in their businesses into their pockets, and then some. They aren't taking a pay cut even when their companies go under like a small business owner would. The sacrifices Americans have made competing against third-world wages in a lawyer- and government-ridden rule-bound economy have been to enrich the proponents of "free markets" who were the first to get multi-$triillion bailouts like TARP.
    It's time for some real change
    Aug 12, 2009. 10:56 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Elizabeth Warren: Pointing Out Problems, Offering No Solutions [View article]
    This article says that banks holding loans based on "historical cost" are reluctant to mark them to current value. A good strike against "mark to magic" accounting.
    Furthermore, while I don't care for the heavy hand of government, cramdown judgements for home loans as allowed in almost all other types of loans including vacation home loans (!) should be allowed as a remedy.
    If these problems describe small bank reluctance to lend, what's the excuse for TARP behemoths?
    Aug 12, 2009. 06:31 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • No Future for Vonage [View article]
    My experience with Vonage: I called the 800 number to get hooked up as I was in a hurry for various reasons. They charged $50 for a modem that was supposed to be free, $29.99/mo instead of $24.99 and finally, after 1-1/2 years when I terminated, I paid an extra month fee because I terminated in less than 2 years. (I had been told the penalty period was one year). I paid to get rid of them. But they're still chasing me for another month's fees.
    Aug 11, 2009. 10:24 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • On Gold, Silver and Krugman's Misinformed Self-Congratulations [View article]
    The most depressing future possibility you list, to me, is guarantee of state and municipal bonds. As taxes have skyrocketed, so has indebtedness in most government entities. There is simply no validity for the size of these wasteful bloodsuckers and their extravagant promises. Like, 20-and-out public "service" with gold-plated medical benefits and high pensions.
    Coupling state/municipal bailouts with social security and medicare cutbacks ought to trigger some signs of life in the public?
    Aug 11, 2009. 05:39 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Today's Stock Markets Are All About Confidence and Gullibility [View article]
    Don't forget the possibility that some crisis strengthens the dollar and treasuries again, for awhile. Of course, no one in Washington through Goldman Sachs would cause one on purpose. Although we know GS would somehow be properly positioned.
    Aug 11, 2009. 05:01 AM | 12 Likes Like |Link to Comment
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