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  • Sorry Arnold, TARP Can't Be Used to Bail Out the Golden State [View article]
    The fact about municipal/state bailouts is that we would be indebting ourselves further to preserve massive overhead and waste. Actually that's the fact about all of these bailouts. That's the plan, folks.
    May 27 11:23 AM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Joel Kotkin: How California Can Prosper Again [View article]
    As the last sentence implies, California can be a bellweather in this crisis. The previous paragraph troubles me; about putting forth a "realistic economic development plan."
    Where we are is a direct result of being "realistic." By compromising principles about economics, morality and constitutional law seemingly forever. The interests that have thus built up are unrealistic and think it would be unique for California and the US to come out of it with the enhanced freedom from the shackles of the system that would allow the broad-based innovative, energetic achievement that built this country. Which is now focused on surviving and sometimes prospering in this increasingly malodorous "system."
    Maybe we end up like Detroit. Maybe we hand all power over to a charismatic leader. With a "plan" for all of us. Or maybe we get real , which at present is called "unrealistic."
    May 27 10:59 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Google: Where Failure Is Instructive [View article]
    This article has convinced me that Google has lost it. All this stuff about their talent and it's applicability anywhere reminds me that Thomas Edison lost his fortune from patents in the steel business. He wanted to go into a business that still had major cachet having been huge for generations. But it's peak had been reached and he didn't have the expertise in it. Like Google and TV today, I guess.
    May 27 10:44 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Preparing for Financial Innovation's Downside [View article]
    A derivatives insurance tax will go where all dedicated taxes and programs of it's ilk go: To the general public trough. Maybe sooner, as they are all always captured by the special interests they are dedicated to, or later, when the whole thing breaks down.
    Wall St. is the spectacular example of all time. That's where the money is, yet, run into problems, we pay. Phew!!!! They can't even have a self-funding FDIC when we need it. But we, who won't have Medicare soon, are paying for bank deposit insurance now.
    CT. gas tax long ago went into the general fund. Then roads fell apart, new taxes instituted, same story with politicians and special interests every time. I won't bore you with any more of the countless examples.
    Wall St. makes products that, unlike innovation elsewhere, always costs more. Like the government. They go hand in hand, like the legal business. They all depend on "innovative" rules to make themselves indispensable. Nice work if you can get it.
    We've spent much of our history allowing this buildup of waste. I was listening to an account of the sheer idiocy and waste of time most of the schedule of our legislators consists of. They fiddle when they're not making incredibly stupid decisions. Here we are.
    May 27 10:32 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Financial Sector: What Good Is It Anyway? [View article]
    Very revealing points. Wall St. has developed a means of perpetuating mega-riches through "innovations" that are only opaque means of taking on more risk. By spreading the largess to Washington. By making the breakdown of their system threatening to the host (us). Next came the offer our paid-off leaders couldn't refuse, with our money.
    May 26 02:37 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • China Is Now in Firm Control of U.S. Debt Markets [View article]
    DC and Wall St. aren't masters of the universe. The debacle last fall was telegraphed for over a year and still it happened. The sheer self-serving corruption of those people as they rape our country is serving to bring us down. Like Detroit, who were once leaders of the industrialized world and never reversed their decline.
    China is really playing a smart game with commodity purchases paid with Treasuries while only purchasing short-term Treasuries. Let Washington keep up it's insane policies and blather. China knows those fools can't keep this game up indefinitely and they don't suffer citizenship under them.
    Detroit had decades of growing assistance from Washington as they stayed the course in decline. We have reserve currency status and lots of overseas creditors. With the awful policies growing worse by our leaders, the question about our decline is only, how fast?
    May 26 10:28 AM | 18 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Debit Cards, State-Provided Charge Cards: More Speculation [View article]
    I commented after your previous article that the proposal was better than the present system where card issuers are rushing to become banks to stick it to the taxpayer after lending at 30% to every wino and junkie they could find.
    But, mostly you speak here of rich man's problems; how various strategies save .1% when juggling your various funds. A government account would immediately finance drug purchases or whatever for millions who are uncreditworthy and won't care for the foreseeable future. It would institute yet another layer of deadening bureaucracy with all its ugly implications.
    Are these choices all we're capable of in America now?
    May 26 07:01 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Credit Card Legislation: An Exchange [View article]
    As a witness to the decline of the formerly middle class these last few decades, I believe that we have a society where the top income tier are mostly wanton exploiters who milk every dime for short-term gain for themselves. Example: Executive compensation reform of the 80's that was touted as performance-based, was gamed egregiously for their short-term benefit and gave us the Wall St. implosion.
    Businesses, bureaucracies and institutions are run by MBA types who care nothing about a specific product or industry they manage and run it into the ground laughing their way to the bank personally.
    The country was built by imaginative, energetic, enthusiastic innovators of their business. It is being dismantled by the exploitive empty suits running just about everything now.
    May 26 06:44 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Auctions: Forcing Politicians to Play by the Rules [View article]
    This article shows two sides of the coin: The benefits of the use of auctions in reducing political discretion, supposedly, but the increased mischief enabled by them. By that, I mean, "carbon" caps. Is this not a euphemism for carbon dioxide, the stuff we exhale?
    I grew up near the Connecticut River when it was a cesspool. The low-hanging fruit was great; being able to swim in said river and the lessening of haze in the valley. But, although 95% of the benefits come with something like 20% of the cost, politicians will always seek to expand their domains regardless that a few tenths of a percent of benefit cost us way too much now. Now they want to tax the air.
    Our national travails are all related to the insane lack of rational cost/benefit feedback mechanisms in the economy. The Fed enabled the expansion of WWI into the fullfledged conflagration it became which led to WWII. And the entire growth of bureaucracy in the 20th century. Due to bad feedback mechanisms produced by funny money.
    So, auctions despite their benefits, like most advancements, will be used to feed the maw of the dysfunctional system we have built to swallow them and march us to serfdom.
    May 25 10:00 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Housing's Big Picture Isn't Pretty [View article]
    Home prices will be held down by rising interest rates and skyrocketing property taxes and municipal utilities. Add the trillions for bank bailouts, the insane bailouts to come and how can anyone conclude we are doing anything other than reducing our futures to ash? Heaping untold levels of stupid spending on debt upon previous unheard of levels of same cannot be the solution.
    The worst offenders get the first, best bailouts. Banks. Throw in some Detroit, next municipal and state governments, on and on. This is not a cure, it's a feeding frenzy by connected interests to get theirs before it all collapses.
    We're supposed to feel lucky the obvious wasted money to Detroit may top at $100 billion. If government wasn't drunk on it's power to waste, bankruptcy would have been quickly chosen.
    With the plunge protection team trying to paint the stalks green so banks can recapitalize, many think it's time to catch falling knives. A cursory look at baby boomers needs to soon sell, rising interest rates and imminent property tax increases on steroids, I'm not a believer in the investment in the USA that real estate represents.
    May 24 08:24 PM | 8 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • New Jersey's Pension Crisis: A Canary in the Coal Mine? [View article]
    Government workers, including legislators especially, should have and should always be paid straight salary with no benefits. That way it's all upfront. The actuarial value of government pay is so outrageous that this waste would have been stopped long before it got this advanced. This is what happens when you trust politicians.
    Like children, these unionized workers expect the long-suffering taxpayer to make up the shortfall in these outrageous promises to make the nightmare go away. Obama and DC seem set to try. Once they bailed the banks, how can they refuse this constituency?
    So many constituencies expect to be made whole with no regard to anyone else as they try to cash in before it all breaks down. What disgusting leadership and mindset we have.
    May 22 06:14 PM | 15 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why the U.S. Dollar Chart Tells a Drastically Different Story than Financial Pundits [View article]
    To add to fireball's observation, the fact that Wall St. and DC have put $trillions on to our debt and scarcely any of it to help the strapped ordinary citizen is ominous also. How this leads to prosperity or any improvement in our quality of life escapes me. I see this rally as a further shakedown of the gullible with our trillions. Obviously a recapitalization of the banks has been facilitated. Selling out to the types of people who peddle paper assets and government promises is empowering our slavemasters who seem to get away with absolutely all they can. It's the Stockholm Syndrome and we've trusted the fancy promises of suits and titles way too long with our money, votes and kid's futures.
    May 22 09:14 AM | 9 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Now Is the Time to Consider Investing in Multi-Family Housing [View article]
    I was unfortunate enough to buy a low-end 2-family a month before investment real estate lost its tax exemption on mortgage interest, '86. So much for appreciation on such property for a long time.
    A distressed property will also likely have nonpaying and worse, tenants, like mine did. Have fun with the eviction process. The damage foreclosed real estate is having is largely because the "owners" were previously lifelong tenants and are used to leaving huge problems for others to clean up.
    Most importantly, my water/sewer and tax bills quadrupled and tripled in 18 years, respectively. This is a huge consideration especially now that local/state governments will be grabbing at anything possible to fund their bloated budgets.
    May 22 08:46 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Credit Distinctions: Revolving and Transactional [View article]
    While I'm a believer that we are granted unalienable rights by God and shouldn't look to the state nearly as much, I see practical application in these ideas. The average credit card balance of a graduating college student with credit is now $4100.
    Clearly these ideas are far better than the present where every credit company that can is becoming a bank to get bailouts when they've lent out to every wino and junkie they could find, jacked the interest to 30+% and are now everybody is stuck.
    May 22 08:00 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Uncle Sam's 'F' Rated Bonds [View article]
    "You can go a long way with a smile. You can go a lot further with a smile and a gun." Al Capone. We have a gun to the world's head with all the symbiotic relationships that now make up the corrupt world economy. For now, there is a market in treasuries despite our obvious Zimbabwe-style finances.
    Our domestic situation concerns me greatly as bailing out failures has already cost us $trillions but the failures to come are everywhere. Real production has long been clobbered by the easy but corrupt routes we've taken that have grown, for example, bloated government, an insane legal system and stupid trade that has exacerbated everything. Political clout (that gun) is ruling our responses to this crisis and we may become total serfs if we can't get a grip and get back to sustainable, Constitutional reality.
    May 21 12:08 PM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment